The Roman empire, Islam, the Persian empire, the Anglo-Saxons... Tom Holland is a historian who can, it seems, turn his hand to any era and bring it to life, combining forensic research with descriptive colour and panache. And while he is best known for his knowledge of the ancient world, he is equally adept – whether on television, radio or in print – at analysing the influence of dinosaurs on the mythology of different cultures, the demise of the hedgehog or the art of the cricket cut shot (he plays for the Authors’ XI).
Holland is not afraid to confront controversy: in his 2017 Channel 4 documentary, Isis: The Origins of Violence, he addressed the question of whether Islamic doctrine contains a strain of thought that can be used to justify extreme violence and even genocide.
His new book, Dominion, examines one of the most enduring and influential legacies of the ancient world: Christianity. Why was it so revolutionary? What was its impact over the centuries? And how does it affect the way we think today?