Many people know about Wessex, the `Last Kingdom' of the Anglo-Saxons to fall to the Northmen, but another kingdom, Mercia, once enjoyed supremacy over not only Wessex, but all of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. At its zenith Mercia controlled what is now Birmingham and London - and the political, commercial paramountcy of the two today finds echoes in the past.
Those interested in the period will surely have heard of Penda, Offa, and AEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians - but remarkably there is no single book that tells their story in its entirety, the story of the great kingdom of the midlands.
Historically, the records are in two halves, pre- and post-Viking, in the way they have been preserved. Pre-Viking, virtually all the source material was written by the victims, or perceived victims, of Mercian aggression and expansion. Post-Viking, the surviving documents tend to hail from places which were not sacked or burned by the Northmen, particularly from Wessex, the traditional enemy of Mercia. The inclusion of those records here allows for the exploration of Mercia post-924.
Mercia ceased to be a kingdom when Alfred the Great came to power, but its history did not end there. Examining the roles of the great ealdormen in the anti-monastic reaction of the tenth century, through the treachery of Eadric Streona in the eleventh, and the last, brave young earls who made a stand against William the Conqueror, this book shows the important role the Mercians played in the forging of the English nation.
Annie Whitehead studied History at university under the eminent Medievalist and writer, Ann Williams. She is a member of the Royal Historical Society and an editor for EHFA (English Historical Fiction Authors). She is the author of historical novels and short stories on the Anglo-Saxon period: 'To Be A Queen' (the story of AEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians) was Editor's Choice & Long-listed for Historical Novel Society Indie book of the Year 2016. '1066 Turned Upside Down' (in collaboration with Helen Hollick & Joanna Courtney) was long-listed for HNS Indie Book of the Year 2017. She has written for magazines including Cumbria Magazine, This England and the National Trust Magazine.
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