Tom Holland (the author of this book) is simply a brilliant writer. Want to know something about Europe around the year 1000 without having to feel you're learning history and thinking of dates, etc? Then this is the book for you. It reads like a thriller and Holland makes it sound as if he was there at the time and saw it all right before him. Not only is it a masterly attempt to put us right in the picture, it is also stunningly well written - you might just like to have a dictionary handy when you're reading it. Like all of his books (the ones about The Romans, and another about The Persions, etc.) they are brilliant masterpieces, so that having read any one of them you're shouting for more and feel compelled to read anything written by this expert at making history live, big time.