The great missionary figures were crucial to their own time and to posterity. They brought Christian belief and culture to the pagan societies of Dark Age Europe. Not only agents of change, they were also some of Europe's finest historians, leaving a detailed record of the cultures they transformed. The work of St Augustine in England is just one example. Anyone who has read Ian Wood's equally ambitious and compelling survey The Merovingian Kingdoms, 451-1050, will rediscover his ability to bring a remote age to life. The unreliable history of the missionary life is disentangled to produce a uniquely wide-ranging account - giving a sense of the individual experience and collective ethos of the mission, the missionaries' influence on communities and their links to the rest of Christendom.