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Cnut: Emperor of the North by M. J. Trow

Cnut: Emperor of the North (2005)

by M. J. Trow

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I found this disappointing. The structure of the book is slightly confusing and the narrative jumps about a bit. What is far worse, though, are the numerous errors and inconsistencies in the text, evidence of either sloppy writing or poor editing, or both. For example, who is Saum-Aesa? On page 38 she is Swein Forkbeard's mother and a servant girl; on page 40 she is Forkbeard's wife and the sister of the King of Poland. They are clearly meant to refer to the same unusually named individual. There are numerous other places where a wrong name is cited as someone's brother or son or mother. This is frequent enough to colour my perception of the author's research credentials, unfortunately. He frequently approvingly quotes Larson's 1912 biography and frankly that sounds like much the better bet, albeit outdated in some of its assumptions. I should also take a look at Mark Lawson's 1993 book on Canute and the Danes. ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 30, 2011 |
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One, by God's grace, will overcome
all the hardships that bedevilled his young
and achieve happiness in old age:
he will welcome the rising sun, and receive
riches, treasures and the mead-cup from his people
as much as anyone can own in this life.
The Fortunes of Man
First words
The Fury of the Northmen
It was the chronicler and archdeacon Henry of Huntingdon who first put the story on parchment in 1154.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0750933879, Hardcover)

Canute is famous today as the bad king arrogant enough to believe he could stem the tide. This book peals back the layers of legend and mythmaking to reveal the true history of King Canute and the kingdom he ruled. England in Canute's time was made up of seven Saxon kingdoms which had been ravaged by raids for decades. Already king of Denmark by 1014, Canute was one of three claimants for the English throne and on the face of it, the least likely to succeed. The others were the occupant, Ethelred and Edmund - known as Ironside - Ethelred's eldest son. Two years of in-fighting among the three combatants followed, with the timely and suspicious deaths of both his rivals ensuring Canute was the undisputed first Danish king of England. Canute had achieved power but he had yet to win the hearts and minds of Englishmen so he married their queen, Emma, widow of Ethelred and perhaps 20 years older than him. By this, Canute assured an Anglo-Danish succession, burying the hatchet after a century of war and violence. Safe in the knowledge that England was loyal, Canute embarked on an ambitious, bloody and successful foreign policy. When he died he was the most powerful king in Europe except the Holy Roman Emperor and England was a united nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:31 -0400)

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