In 865, a great Viking army landed in East Anglia, precipitating a series of wars that would last until the middle of the following century. It was in this time of crisis that the modern kingdoms of Britain were born. In their responses to the Viking threat, these kingdoms forged their identities as hybrid cultures: vibrant and entrepreneurial peoples adapting to instability and opportunity. Traditionally, AElfred the Great is cast as the central player in the story of Viking Age Britain. But Max Adams, while stressing the genius of AElfred as war leader, law-giver, and forger of the English nation, has a more nuanced and variegated narrative to relate. The Britain encountered by the Scandinavians of the ninth and tenth centuries was one of regional diversity and self-conscious cultural identities: of Picts, Dal Riatans and Strathclyde Britons; of Bernicians and Deirans, East Anglians, Mercians and West Saxons.