I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales series as well as the TV series The Last Kingdom which are well adapted from the novels, but as you will see, the REAL story of Uhtred is much more cut-throat than any yarn Mr. Cornwell could ever spin!
The treaty with Guthrum gave Alfred the breathing space he needed to fortify and revitalize Wessex. As the last outpost of independent England, it was essential for Wessex to have an efficient military.
Alfred the Great reorganized Wessex’s army, keeping half of the men on duty at any given time. And although Alfred is famous as the father of the English Navy, kings before Alfred had used war ships. Nonetheless, recognizing that swift ships were just one more advantage the Vikings held over the English, Alfred brought over from Frisia (modern-day Holland) skilled shipwrights to build his new navy.
Guthrum gave Alfred seven years to rebuild his kingdom, but then the double-dealing Viking broke the treaty and invaded Wessex in 885 and laid siege to Rochester. But Alfred’s new military defensive measures worked. Mobilizing his standing army, his burh garrisons, and his navy, he broke the Danish siege easily, then…