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KING ALFRED'S VIKING - the creation of Alfred's Fleet

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336 pages4 hours

Summary

The general details and course of events given in this story about King Alfred are, in the main, as written by Asser, the King’s chaplain. One or two further incidents of the Athelney period are from the later chroniclers--notably the sign given by St. Cuthberht--as are also the names of the herdsman and the nobles in hiding in the fen.
But all the characters can be found here – King Alfred, Queen Ealhswith, their daughters, Asser, Odda, Osmund, Cuthbert, Guthrum, Hubba, St. Neot, Athelstan Godred, Ethelred, Thiodolf, Thora and the other significant players of the age.
The story is told by Ranald Vemundsson, son of the late Vemund, king of Southmereland, Norway, slain by Jarl Rognvald on the orders of Harald Fairhair. For his own safety Ranald fled Norway after being given a place on Jarl Einar’s ship - and so he came to England and the Danelaw. Whether Ranald actually was Alfred’s Viking is conjecture.
That Alfred put his first fleet into the charge of "certain Vikings" is well known, though the name of their chief is not given. These Vikings would certainly be Norse, either detached from the following of Rolf Ganger, who wintered in England in 875 A.D. the year before his descent on Normandy; or else independent rovers who, like Rolf, had been driven from Norway by the high-handed methods of Harald Fairhair. Indeed, the time when a Norse contingent was not present with the English forces, from this period till at least that of the battle of Brunanburh in 947 A.D. would probably be an exception.
There are, therefore, good historic grounds for the position given to the hero of the story as leader of the newly-formed fleet. The details of the burning of his supposed father's hall, and of the Orkney period, are taken from the Sagas.
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