• It's fascinating to understand [these] historical trends and ideas

    Jeremy Corbyn
  • An utterly beguiling journey into the dark ages of the north sea. A complete revelation . . . Pye writes like a dream. Magnificent

    Jerry Brotton, author of 'A History of the World in Twelve Maps'
  • 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. A real page-turner

    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'
  • Splendid. A heady mix of social, economic, and intellectual history, written in an engaging style. It offers a counterpoint to the many studies of the Mediterranean, arguing for the importance of the North Sea. Exciting, fun, and informative

    Michael Prestwich, Professor of History, Durham University
  • Brilliant. Pye is a wonderful historian . . . bringing history to life like no one else. Who knew that the Irish invented punctuation?

    Terry Jones
  • A masterly storyteller

  • Pye has a great journalist's eye for a story and the telling anecdote as well as a great historian's ability to place it in the bigger picture. Here he fuses those talents in a hugely eclectic study of the very first stirrings of modernity in northern Europe

    Alexander McCall Smith
  • Pye draws on a dizzying array of documentary and archaeological scholarship, which he works together in surprising ways . . . He advances on several fronts at once, following the overlapping currents of customary, religious and empirical ways of thinking. He writes about difficult concepts with vivid details and stories, often jump-cutting from exposition to drama like a film. It's complicated, but fun

  • Hugely enjoyable. it is the measure of Pye's achievement that he can breathe life into the traders of seventh-century Frisia or the beguines of late-medieval Flanders as well as into his more celebrated subjects . . . Grey the waters of the North Sea may be; but Pye has successfully dyed them with a multitude of rich colours

    Tom Holland, Guardian

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