Linus Roache is King Ecbert
King Ecbert is the worldly and ambitious king of Wessex, whose formative years were spent in the court of the Emperor Charlemagne. An ambitious man of strength, knowledge and the willingness to use those qualities decisively, King Ecbert poses a worthy match for his new foe, Ragnar Lothbrok.
Having saved Athelstan from a cross – the monk having been crucified for apostasy – Ecbert regards Athelstan as a kindred spirit, and one versed in Latin. The king puts the monk in charge of his treasury of ancient Roman relics and documents left over from Rome’s domination of Britain centuries prior. Athelstan is tasked with interpreting and preserving the many scrolls of Roman parchment. From the scrolls, Athelstan conveys to Ecbert detailed accounts of the battlefield strategies of the Roman legions.
Having delved into the military mind of Caesar, King Ecbert puts his new knowledge to use when confronting the latest incursion – the largest to date – by Ragnar Lothbrok into Wessex, this raid including the forces of King Horik and Lagertha. Allied with King Aella of Northumbria, Ecbert ambushes the advancing Viking horde with a multiple-pronged attack that includes both mounted cavalry and infantry. Confounded by Ecbert’s tactics, taking heavy losses, and assailed from all sides, the Vikings are forced to fight their way out of the trap and into headlong retreat. King Ecbert’s victory is decisive. In the aftermath of the battle, King Aella expresses surprise at Ecbert’s skill as a tactician.
When Aella suggests finishing off the Northmen, however, Ecbert demonstrates his keener political vision, responding that more might be gained by negotiating a truce. Additionally, upon realizing that Ragnar’s brother, Rollo, had been wounded and captured during the battle, Ecbert had his life spared and his wounds tended to. Rollo, he realized, was an important and potentially useful captive. Rollo’s release is part of the deal later struck between Ecbert and Ragnar that granted the Northmen 5,000 acres of good farming land, as well as a quantity of gold and silver. King Ecbert, in turn, is able to recruit a contingent of Viking warriors willing to fight as mercenaries for Princess Kwentrith in her campaign to rule the kingdom of Mercia.
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Linus Roache first gained worldwide recognition in Antonia Bird’s critically acclaimed film, Priest.
His numerous film credits include Wings of a Dove, Batman Begins, The Namesake & Blind Flight for which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Scottish BAFTA. He also played the lead role in Pandaemonium, which he won the Best Actor award at the Evening Standard Film Awards. He recently wrapped ID2:Shadwell Army in the UK.
On the small screen Linus received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Robert Kennedy in the F/X television film, “RFK”, and also co-starred in HBO’s award-winning “The Gathering Storm”, which he won the Golden Satellite Award for best actor in a supporting role. Linus played series regular, Executive A.D.A Michael Cutter, in NBC’s “Law & Order” and returned for the spin-off, “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”. He also played a lead role in Julian Fellowes’ miniseries, “Titanic”.
His extensive theatrical experience includes seasons with the RSC and “Richard II” and “Coriolanus”, opposite Ralph Fiennes at London’s Almeida Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.