The Saxons, called the Sea Wolves, are the Germanic invaders of Britain who eventually conquer the Roman Britons and precipitate the Dark Ages in Britain. They are cast as the ongoing external threat throughout Sutcliff's fiction set in later Roman Britain. Various Germanic peoples such as the Jutes and the Angles are often lumped together as Saxons from the Roman British perspective. The Saxons of England are later conquered by their cousins the Normans.
Frontier Scout (280 CE)Edit
The Frontier Scouts of the northern wall intercept a Saxon envoy to the local tribes and foil a Saxon landing in Valentia.
The Silver Branch (290s CE)Edit
Carausius fortifies the Saxon Shore against piracy. The usurper Allectus allies with the Saxons to seize power in Britain and employs a Saxon Guard, who are defeated by Asklepiodotus and burn down Calleva Atrebatum.
The Lantern Bearers (450-70s)Edit
The Lantern Bearers is concerned with three families of Jutes: the line of the adventurer Hengest who lead the Saxon settlement of the southeast and their temporary alliance with the British High King, Vortigern; the household of Bruni of Ullasfjord, in which Aquila is a thrall for three years; and the line of Wiermund of the White Horse, who attacks the Flavius villa on the South Downs and whose son abducts and marries Flavia.
The house of Hengest continues to be major antagonists in Sword at Sunset. Artos defeats Hengest in battle outside Deva. Rowen dies shortly thereafter, just before the capture of Eburacum and her son Cerdic and the death of Octa. Artos allows the teenaged Cerdic to go free, and he rejoins his cousin Oisc in Cantii territory.
Meanwhile, Aelle settles the South Seax, and leads a pan-Saxon army against Artos at Badon Hill, where he is killed, but Cerdic again escapes. The kings of the East Angles, the Northfolk, and the Southfolk are also killed in the course of the fighting season. Along with the South Seax they propose to defend the coasts of their settlements against further incursions in exchange for being left alone, to which Artos agree, noting that they kept their bargain.
Cerdic, however, is exiled, but returns after ten years to occupy a stretch of coast west of the South Seax, and eventually allies with the Scots, Picts, and some Welsh against Artos at Sorviodunum, where they are narrowly defeated and driven back to the coast.
Ceawlin of Wessex defeats the last British resistance at Deorham. Protagonist Owain survives the battle and escapes into the Welsh marches, but is forced to ask for help from a Saxon household in Sussex while attempting to reach the coast. He becomes a thrall of a Saxon steading on the Manhood peninsula.
Ceawlin's nephews Coel and Coelwulf revolt against his rule and join forces with his Angle enemy Aethelbert of Kent, who is also the High King of the South Saxons. Owain joins their army and the battle of Wodensbeorg.
Aethelbert permits the landing of the apostle Augustine of Canterbury at the behest of his Christian wife Bertha and her father Clovis king of he Franks, though the Saxons remain pagan.
The Shining Company (595-600)Edit
The Saxon kingdoms of Bernicia (Northumberland), an offshoot of Deira, expands under King Aethelfrith, who assumes control of Deira after the death of Aelle. The Gododdin attack the Bernicians at the Deiran capital of Catraeth.
The protagonist of the novel offers the following observations of Saxon culture:
- They do not inhabit Roman and British ruins, which they believe to be haunted by trolls
- They do not hunt, and are therefore inferior scouts
- They cut down forest to make unsuitable crop land
- They smell different than the British, possibly because they eat wheat
Blood Feud (980s)Edit
Protagonist Jestyn Englishman's mother is a Saxon married to a Celt. He learns to speak Saxon from her and goes to live among Saxons after her death.
The Shield Ring (1090-1103)Edit
Protagonist Frytha is a Saxon from Lancashire, who takes refuge with the Norse of the Lake Land as a child. Also living among the Norse is the harper Haethcyn, who fought for Harold of England at Hastings and is foster father to protagonist Bjorn.
Knight's Fee (1094-1106)Edit
Protagonist Randal is the bastard son of a Saxon waiting-woman at Arundel Castle. He goes to live in Dean, a manor given to a Norman knight after the battle of Hastings, whose Saxon villeins hold their gentle overlord in affection. Saxon and Norman English unite under Henry I to defeat the Normans of Duke Robert at the Battle of Tenchebrai on the fortieth anniversary of the Conqueror's landing at Hastings.
- Sword at Sunset
- Rowena / Rowen
- Cerdic son of Vortigern, of Wessex
- Octa Hengestson
- Oisc Octason
- Aelle of the South Seax
- Cissa Aelleson of the South Seax
- Ingil of the East Angles
- The Northfolk
- The Southfolk
- Dawn Wind
- Bryni Beornwulfson
- Vadir Cedricson
- Horn Brandson
- Gamal Witterson
- Edmund Whitefang
- Halfdean Haegelson
- The Shield Ring
- Jestyn Englishman (BF)
- The Kingdom of Kent (the former Cantii territory)
- Dubris (Dover)
- Rutupiae & Tanatus Island
- Cantiisburg (Canterbury)
- The South Seax lands
- Cissa's Caster (Regnum, Chichester)
- Seal Island (Selsey, the Manhood Peninsula)
- Vectis Water
- East Anglia
- The Northfolk (former Iceni territory)
- The Southfolk (former Trinovantes territory)