vikings invaded the streets of Harrogate last night to lead a torch-lit procession through the town to open its second history festival.
Organisers say the event builds on Harrogate’s pedigree for world-class festivals, notably for crime writing.
Giant of the history genre Bernard Cornwell, the author of the Sharpe series, will fly in from the United States to be among the big names who are attending the event which runs until Sunday.
Other special guests including broadcasters James Naughtie, Sarah Dunant, Peter Snow and Sandi Toksvig. Audiences will be invited to explore with leading literary minds some of the most gripping conflicts, personalities and epic tales in history.
Irving Finkel, the assistant keeper of the Ancient Mesopotamian script at the British Museum, will discuss his quest to reveal the even more ancient roots of the great flood story behind the Bible’s account of Noah’s Ark.
And former adventurer and English teacher, Conn Iggulden, whose work, Dangerous Book for Boys, was a publishing phenomenon, also headlines at the event with his War of the Roses series.