The Viking Harald Hardrada was the greatest warrior of his age. After fighting in Russia and serving in the Varangian Guard in Byzantium, he returned to Norway in 1045 to contest, and win, the crown. He was killed at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.
In this sequence of short poems, Kevin Crossley-Holland assumes the persona of Harald during his formative years in Byzantium and writes about his engagement with warfare, leadership and love. Chris Riddell’s striking illustrations bring out the drama, passion and wit of the poems to the full. This partnership of poet and artist, already celebrated for their Arthur, the Always King (2021), can be seen at its best in Harald in Byzantium.