by Andrew Bridgeford
Harper Perennial $144
For more than 900 years the Bayeux Tapestry has preserved the history of the Norman Conquest of England, which culminated in the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Historians have long held that the tapestry trumpets the glory of William the Conqueror and the victorious Normans. Historical detective Andrew Bridgeford reveals a very different story. Reading the tapestry as if it were a written text, he discovers new information subversively and ingeniously encoded in the threads, which undermines the Norman point of view while presenting a secret tale undetected for centuries - an account of the final years of Anglo-Saxon England quite different from the Norman version. An enigmatic French count lies at the centre of this enthralling tale of ambitious warrior bishops, ruthless knights and powerful women.