Thomas Williams
Agent(s): Julian Alexander

Thomas Williams was a curator of the major international British Museum exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend, which was the subject of extensive national and international media coverage in 2014. He has been widely quoted in the press and has appeared on BBC TV, ITV and on BBC radio. He has also appeared in Viking Adventures from the British Museum, and is the author of The Tale of King Harald: The Last Viking Adventure (British Museum Press, 2014), a book for children retelling the saga of King Harald ‘Hard-ruler’. He appeared at the Hay Festival and Bath Children’s Literary Festival in 2014. Thomas undertook doctoral research on early medieval battlefields at UCL and now teaches History and Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. He is the author and editor of a number of papers and collections.

Viking Britain: An Exploration (HarperCollins, 2017) is a new narrative history of the Viking Age, interwoven with exploration of the physical remains and landscapes that the Vikings fashioned and walked: their rune-stones and ship burials, settlements and battlefields, poems and chronicles. Thomas draws upon new academic research and first-hand experience to show how the people we call Vikings came not just to raid and plunder, but to settle, to colonise and to rule. The impact on these islands was profound and enduring, shaping British social, cultural and political development for hundreds of years. Indeed, in language, literature, place-names and folk-lore, the presence of Scandinavian settlers can still be felt, and their memory filtered and refashioned through the writings of people like J.R.R. Tolkien, William Morris and G.K. Chesterton has transformed the western imagination. Viking Britain: An Exploration offers a vital evocation of a forgotten world, its echoes in later history and its implications for the present. It is a stunning exploration of Viking Britain by a writer of immense literary power.

Viking London (William Collins, 2019) is the bestselling history of the interaction between the Vikings and the British to tell the story of the occupation of London. ‘Fresh, vivid and impeccably researched…the most rip-roaring work of nonfiction I read this year’ Tom Holland, Observer, Books of the Year

In his new book, Lost Realms: Histories of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings (HarperCollins, 2022), Tom uncovers the forgotten origins and untimely demise of nine kingdoms that hover in the twilight between history and fable, whose stories hum with saints and gods and miracles, with giants and battles and the ruin of cities. Why did some realms – like Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and Gwynedd – prosper while these nine fell?

Books