writing as Franklin Hamilton
Loud and far resounded the bray of horns, the mighty strokes of maces, the quick clashing of swords. It was 1066 in Hastings, England, and a battle had begun that would drastically alter the course of western civilization.
England had lacked a strong central government for generations. Thus, when Edward the Confessor died, leaving no heir to the throne, it was small wonder that the crown of England seemed a tempting prize.
Seizing the crown the very day Edward was buried, the English Earl Harold knew no peace during his short reign. Two times invaders threatened England in ten months. Then, Duke William of Normandy landed on British shores. The great battle had begun that was to remake England into a power that would dominate Europe for hundreds of years.
Interestingly enough, the final chapter of this book is called
What If—? and offers a bit of alternate-history speculation.
What if William had lost at Hastings? What if there had been no Norman Conquest of England? Silverberg develops a number of possibilities, picturing a world in which England remained isolationist and never went abroad to found colonies. North America would almost certainly have become a French colony, though it may have attained at least some measure of independance. It's an interesting fancy, and worth considering, since there are so many ways in which William's success rested on good luck and timing rather than strength or skill.
(None on file)