Wulf the Saxon

by G. A. Henty
384 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Good historical read but some violent content.


Wulf is a young Saxon thane, serving Earl Harold as a page when he quarrels with one of the Norman pages. So with his faithful companion, Osgod, Wulf returns to his home, Steyning, to learn the duties of thanehood. Together with his friend Beorn, Wulf rises in favor with Earl (and later King) Harold, and does many noble deeds to aid him, gaining even the favor of Duke William of Normandy.


Good. Courage, self-control, and adherence to duty above everything are highly valued. Harold in particular is adamant about showing respect even to enemies and giving justice to all.

Spiritual Content

Almost all of the characters are Christian and have a high reverence for the Church and church relics. Harold especially is very devout.


Wulf is threatened with having his ears slit. The company is shipwrecked, captured and treated harshly. Wulf and a couple of other main characters are badly wounded in a fight which kills a few score of other people. Many people are killed in battle with the Welsh. A main character and another have a duel in which each slightly wounds the other. A few men try to assassinate King Harold. They are killed for their efforts but wound a main character in the process. At Fulford many, many people are killed in battle or slaughtered afterward. In the following battle at Stanford Bridge against Harold Hardrada many more hundreds of men are killed. A main character loses an arm in that fight as well. At Hastings a main character and hundreds more are killed. None of it is descriptive.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine, ale and other such drinks of the time are drunk by all.

Sexual Content

Harold embraces his first wife, Edith Swan-neck. He marries another woman (as was customary for the time) but completely breaks off his relationship with Edith first and they agree not to see each other again until they can meet as old friends, not lovers. Wulf and his betrothed kiss on the occasion of their engagement.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

The word "ass" is used, in reference to donkeys.


Wulf the Saxon gives a wonderful glimpse into the life of the Saxon monks, thanes, lords and peasants in the early eleventh century, as well as into the homes of Norman lords. The story is interesting and well written, filled with historical characters and events. The only thing that slightly annoyed me is that Henty seemed to go out of his way to give Wulf opportunities to distinguish himself.

I particularly appreciated the pureness of Edith and Harold's relationship, and their honorable behavior when he had to marry Ealdgyth. I also really appreciated the respect Harold shows to all men, and how Duke William is portrayed as being no worse than most rulers of that time (though many of his actions are clearly shown as wrong) and as having a few admirable qualities. I highly recommend Wulf the Saxon to anyone older than thirteen who desires to learn more about the Norman Conquest or King Harold.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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