In the marshes near Athelney, something was stirring.
It was hope.
Alfred, the King of Wessex, had been driven out of his capital on Twelfth Night by Guthrum and his Viking army. He had spent the winter holed up on a tiny island in the Somerset marshes, close to despair: with only a handful of men at his side, how could he possibly carry on?
But with the promise of spring, and the advent of Easter, he had come back to life. He'd sent messages out to the men of the west, and the new forge rang with the sound of weapons being forged. He was determined to stop these ravagers of monasteries, these marauders and murderers; he was determined to bring his people to safety and to a new beginning.
And he did.
Christianity was important to Alfred. Did he see the parallel, between his come-back and that of Christ? Was he a cunning manipulator of his own legend - a very early spin-doctor? Who knows. If the timing was a coincidence, it was a very happy one!
Does anyone know of other books in which Easter is important? If so, do please share in the comments. But in the meantime, I wish you a very happy Easter, with lots of chocolate and merry gambolling!
(And if you'd like to read more about Alfred, it's all in my book, Warrior King, which has recently been republished.)