Novels about King Alfred

Novels about King Alfred continue to be written, as new titles are discovered they will be added to the list. Novels about some of Alfred's children have been written, but I have not included these unless it is felt that Alfred's appearance or mention makes it worthwhile. The golden age of the Alfredian novel was 1899-1901 during the Millenary Celebration, there are  a few that pre-date this time.

The Son of Ethelwolf; an Historical Tale, by Anne Fuller (died 1790), published in two volumes by G.G. & J. Robinson, London, 1789.

The Scouring of the White Horse; or, The Vacation of a London Clerk, by Thomas Hughes; published in 1859 by Macmillan & Co. The preface reads: 'The great success of the festival (or "pastime" as it is called in the neighbourhood), which was held on White Horse Hill on the 17th and 18th of September, 1857, to celebrate the "Scouring of the Horse", according to immemorial custom, led the Committee of Management to think that our fellow country-men at least, if not our country-men generally, would be glad to have some little printed memorial, which should comprise not only an account of the doings on the Hill on the late occasion, but should also endeavour to gather up the scattered legends and traditions of the countryside, and any historical notices relating to the old monument, of which we west-countrymen are all so fond and proud".



The Danes in England: The Tale of the Days of King Alfred, by Alfred H. Engelbach, published in 1878, it contains an account of the Battle of Ashdown.


The Dragon and the Raven; or, The Days of King Alfred, by George Alfred Henty (1832-1902),  published by Blackie & Son in 1886. Henty is known for the beauty of his bindings, and this was the most elaborate in the series.

Two Saxon Maidens: Gytha; A Story of the time of Baeda. Elgiva; A Story of the time of Alfred the Great, written by Eliza Kerr. Published by the Sunday School Union in 1886.


A Thane of Wessex: A Story of the great Viking raids into Somerset, by Charles Watts Whistler (1856-1913), was published by Blackie in 1896. The story is set in the reign of King Ethelwulf, and introduces Prince Alfred. Whistler was an authority on this period, and resided in Somerset, where his stories were frequently set.

A Hero King: A Romance of the days of King Alfred the Great, by Eliza F. Pollard, published by Partridge in 1898. The story is more fact than fiction. The author has managed to bring the character and his times to life.

Twixt Daydawn and Light, by William Gordon Stables (1840-1910), published by John F. Shaw in 1898. Later editions were titled Alfred the Great: or, Twixt Daydawn and Light. Unusual in that the story begins with two Scottish fisherman who meet an Icelandic fisherman, and they start talking about the histories of their countries, eventually the conversation gets around to Alfred the Great.


King Alfred's Viking: The Story of the first English fleet, by Charles Watts Whistler, was published by Thomas Nelson in 1899, and is a sequel to "A Thane of Wessex". Whistler is able to bring the period alive.

A Door of Hope: A Tale of the Danish Invasion in the reign of King Alfred the Great, by Annie L. Gee, published by the Society for the  Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) in 1900.

In the days of Alfred the Great, by Eva March Tappan (1854-1930), an American author; the first English edition was published by Hutchinson in 1900. This is largely a biography set down in the style of a novel.

In AElfred's Days: a story of Saga the Dane, by Paul Creswick, published by Ernest Nister in 1900.  Although the story is mostly set around the town of Wantage (the king's birthplace), the royal palace he describes would have been more suited to the 12th century. This is one for the completist only. The author wrote two more sequels "Under the Black Raven" (1901), and "Hasting the Pirate" (1902).

The King's Sons, by George Manville Fenn (1831-1909),  published by Ernest Nister in 1901. This is a story about the four sons of King Ethelwulf, written for young children.

God save King Alfred, by Edward Gilliat (1841-1915), published by Macmillan in 1901. The book receives its title because the people prayed for the safety of Alfred, as they saw in him the only hope of deliverance from the Danes.

The Lion of Wessex, by Tom Bevan (1868-?), published by Partridge in 1902. An enjoyable novel, but more fiction than fact. There is a campaign against the Welsh, something that appears not to have happened during this reign.

A Maid at King Alfred's Court, by Lucy Foster Madison (1865-1932), published by Penn Publishing Company, U.S.A, in 1902. The maid of the story is Egwina (Ecgwynn), who became the 1st wife of Edward the Elder. There is virtually nothing known about the real Egwina, nevertheless, this is a very readable story, and the author has researched the period very well.

Wulnoth the Wanderer, by H.Escott Inman, published by Ward Lock in 1908. The author states in the preface that although historical events are spoken of, this is only a story, and not historically accurate. There is a good description on the martyrdom of King Edmund, but the rest of the book contains a fair amount about the black arts, and the author makes the bad mistake of having Earl Siward living at this period. Despite these faults this is still an entertaining story.

The Dragon of Wessex, by Percy Dearmer D.D. (1867-1936), published by Mowbrays in 1911.

Our little Saxon Cousin of Long Ago: being the story of Turgar, a boy of Anglo-Saxons, in the time of Alfred the Great, by Julia Darrow Cowles (1862-1919), published by Page & Co, Boston, U.S.A., in 1916.  After many adventures Turgar joins the army of Alfred the Great to fight against the Danish invaders.

Under the Golden Dragon: A Story of King Alfred's Days, by Escott Lynn (1866-1950), published by W & R Chambers in 1934.

When the Vikings Came: A Tale of Adventure in the days of King Alfred, by Samuel Walkey (1871-1953), published by Burns & Oates in 1935. Walkey was known for his pirate and smuggling stories; this must be the worst story about King Alfred. The author has the Saxons seeking help by praying to King Arthur: obviously the author had no knowledge of the relationship between the Saxons and the Celts. First serialised in the weekly paper "Chums", before being published in book form. One for the completist only; unreadable.

Alfred the Great, by Wallace Bertram Nichols (1888-1967), published by Ward Lock in 1938. Set in Somerset and Cornwall, dealing with Alfred's deliverance of England from the Danes. He is joined in his adventures by the son of the swineherd's wife, whose cakes were burnt.

Alfred, King of the English, by Carola Oman (b.1897), published by Dent in 1939.

The King Liveth: a romance of Alfred the Great, based on the old chronicles, by Jeffery Farnol (1878-1952), published by Sampson Low in 1943.

In the Days of King Alfred, by Beth Coombe Harris, published by Pickering and Inglis in 1948.

Alfred the King, by Patry Williams (pseud), published by Faber in 1951. This novel contains an impressive list of sources used by the author, and at the rear is a fold out pedigree from Alfred to King George 6th.

The Lost Dragon of Wessex, by Gwendolyn Bowers, First published in the U.S.A. in 1957, the 1st English edition was published by Mowbrays in 1960. An unusual story about the fulfilling of a prophesy made by Merlin some three centuries earlier. Only spoilt by the innacuracy of the illustrations.

Mist over Athelney, by Geoffrey Trease (1909-1998), published by Macmillan in 1958. (U.S. title "Escape to King Alfred).

The King of Athelney, by Alfred Duggan (1903-1964), published by Faber in 1961. (U.S, title "The Right Line of Cerdic).

The Price of Blood, by Doris Sutcliffe Adams, published by Robert Hale in 1962.

Young Alfred the Great, By Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999), published by Max Parrish in 1962.

The Namesake: A Story of King Alfred, by Cyril Walter Hodges (b. 1909), published by G. Bell & Son in 1964.

The Marsh King: A Story of King Alfred, by Cyril Walter Hodges, published by G.Bell & Son in 1967.

Alfred the Great, by Victor Hastings (Pseud of Thomas M. Disch), Popular Library, New York, 1969. From the story by James B. Webb. Based on the screenplay by James B. Webb and Ken Taylor. The original souce for the screenplay was 'Alfred the Great and his England', by Eleanor Shipley Duckett, 1956.

Rory the Red, by Eve Begley, published by Van Nostrand, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A, in 1968.  A young Scotsman, tutor to the king's son becomes involved in the bloodshed between the Normans and the Scots as he quests for the Black Rood, a treasured cross rumoured to have been the property of Alfred the Great.

The Flame in the Dark: A Chronicle of Alfred the Great, by Basil Bonallack, published by Chatto & Windus in 1976.

Raven's Wind, by Victor Canning (1911-1986), published by Heineman in 1983.

The Edge of Light, by Joan Wolfe, published by Dutton, August 30th, 1990, reprinted by Grafton in 1991.

Sword across the Thames, by Haley Elizabeth Garwood, published by The Writers Block, in 1999; part of the Warrior Queens Series, it tells the story of  AEthelflaed, after her father King Alfred the Great has given her in marriage to Aethelred, King of Mercia.

The Edge on the Sword, by Rebecca Tingle, published by Putnam, New York, U.S.A., 2001.  The story of 15 year old AEthelflaed, daughter of alfred the Great, after she has been given in marriage to Aethelred, King of Mercia.

The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins in October, 2004.

The Pale Horseman, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins in October, 2005.

Fragile Trust, by Helen Kirkman, published by Harlequin in August, 2005.

Fearless, by Helen Kirkman, published by Harlequin in July, 2006.

Lords of the North, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins in May, 2006.

Sword Song, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins in September, 2007.

The Burning Land, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins, 2009.

Death of Kings, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins, 2011.

Alfred the Great: Viking Invasion, by Bruce Corbett; Create Space Independent Publishing, 24th January, 2013.

Alfred the Great: King's Revenge, by Bruce Corbett; Create Space Independent Publishing, 8th February, 2013.

Alfred the Great: Young Edward, by Bruce Corbett; Create Space Independent Publishing, 21st March, 2013.

Alfred the Great: Edward the King, by Bruce Corbet.28th October,2013.

The Pagan Lord, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins, September, 2013.

Alfred the Great: Edward the King, by Bruce Corbett; Create Space Independent Publishing, 23rd October, 2013.

The Empty Throne, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins, 23rd October, 2014.

Warriors of the Storm, by Bernard Cornwell, published by Harper Collins,  8th October, 2015.

Avelynn, by Marissa Campbell, published by Griffin, 2015.

Shield Maiden, by Stuart Hill, published by Bloomsbury. 2016.