A brilliant novel that vividly tells the story of Harald Hardrada (hard ruler), the last of the Vikings.
A Times Book of the Year 'A literary, intelligent read from a masterful storyteller'
In 1035, a young fifteen year old Viking is dragged wounded from the battle. Left for dead, for the next twenty years his adventures lead him over mountains, down the length of Russia and ultimately to Constantinople and the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Drawn into political intrigue he will be the lover of Empresses, the murderer of an emperor; he will hold the balance of power in the Byzantine Empire in his hands, and then give it all up for a Russian princess and the chance to return home and lead his own people, where he must fight the demons of his past, his family and his countrymen in a long and bitter war for revenge and power.
Told in his own voice, this is the astonishing true story of the most famous warrior in all Christendom: Harald Hardrada, the last Viking.
Inspired . . . with wonderful, poetic passages, Hill reaches beyond the limits of the genre and ... harks back to the halls of our Saxon forebears in those dark days - Guardian on Shieldwall
Written in supple, intelligent prose . . . SHIELDWALL is a vivid historical novel . . . Entirely convincing - Sunday Times on Shieldwall
Hill's sense of place, landscape and home is really good. His particular discovery is how he makes his characters' internal lives. I shall be waiting for the next novel in the trilogy - Observer on SHIELDWALL
Justin Hill was born in the Bahamas, and grew up in York, attending St Peter's School. He studied Old England and Medieval Literature at Durham University, and spent most of his twenties on postings with Voluntary Service Overseas in rural China and East Africa.
He has written poetry, non-fiction and fiction, which spans eras as distant from one another as Anglo Saxon England, in Shieldwall, to Tang Dynasty, China, in Passing Under Heaven. His work has won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award, as well as being selected as a Sunday Times Book of the Year (Shieldwall) and a Washington Post Books of the Year (The Drink and Dream Teahouse).
In 2014 he was selected to write the sequel to the Oscar winning film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
He lives near York.