Gruffudd ap Llywelyn was Wales' greatest king. Ambitious and battle-sure, he succeeded in doing what no Welsh king before him was capable of: he ruled all Wales as a united and independent state. He went further by turning the Viking threat to his realm into a powerful weapon and conquering border land that had been in English hands for centuries. Having emerged as a war leader, Gruffudd also proved to be much more: a patron of the arts and church, with the trappings of a king who was respected and feared on the European stage.
His eventual murder at the hands of his own men narrowed the country's political ambitions and left Wales in chaos on the eve of the arrival of the Normans. Those who betrayed Gruffudd were the forebears of the famous princes who would dominate Wales until the Edwardian Conquest, meaning that the former king left no one to tell of his glory. As a result, 1,000 years after his birth, the would-be nation builder is all but forgotten.
Here, Sean and Michael Davies reveal the king in all his glory, telling for the first time the story of one of Wales' greatest figures and exploring the full implications of Gruffudd's rule. For, without Gruffudd, the fate of King Harold and the outcome of the Battle of Hastings would have been very different ...