An epic adventure: from the Vikings to the Enlightenment, from barbaric outpost to global hub, this book tells the dazzling history of northern Europe's transformation by sea.
'Pye writes like a dream. Magnificent' Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps
This is a story of saints and spies, of anglers and pirates, traders and marauders - and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know.
When the Roman Empire retreated, northern Europe was a barbarian outpost at the very edge of everything. A thousand years later, it was the heart of global empires and the home of science, art, enlightenment and money. We owe this transformation to the tides and storms of the North Sea.
Boats carried food and raw materials, but also new ideas and information. The seafarers raided, ruined and killed, but they also settled and coupled. With them they brought new tastes and technologies - books, science, clothes, paintings and machines. Drawing on an astonishing breadth of learning and packed with human stories and revelations, this is the epic drama of how we came to be who we are.
'A closely-researched and fascinating characterisation of the richness of life and the underestimated interconnections of the peoples all around the medieval and early modern North Sea' Chris Wickham, author of The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000
'Elegant writing and extraordinary scholarship . . . Miraculous' Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of Periodic Tales and Anatomies
'Bristling, wide-ranged and big-themed . . . at its most meaningful, history involves a good deal of art and storytelling. Pye's book is full of both' Russell Shorto, New York Times
'For anyone, like this reviewer, who is tired of medieval history as a chronicle of kings and kingdoms, knights and ladies, monks and heretics, The Edge of the World provides a welcome respite' Prof Patrick J Geary, Wall Street Journal