Unpublished mtDNA and Y-chromosome genetic data has rapidly piled up about the British people. Synthesising the new genetic evidence with linguistics, archaeology and history, Stephen Oppenheimer breaks dramatic findings about the origins of the British people. The first scoop is that the roots of English identity lie over 6000 years ago, not with the Anglo-Saxons. The 'Anglo-Saxon invasion' contributed only 5-10 per cent of male English genes. Instead, the genetic evidence reveals that the majority of English people derive directly from before the first farmers. Secondly, new genetic findings finally answer the question of Celtic genetic identity. The putative origins of the Celts is an issue real for millions of people, from sore-lunged Glasgow football fans to the refined Celtic diasporas of North America and Australia. Gene lines prove once and for all the continued existence of a discrete, British Atlantic coast-based population that first spread north from the Basque country at the end of the last Ice Age - not Iron Age Europe. The division between England and the Atlantic fringe started to build up from that time.
Finally, Oppenheimer puts new detail on the genetic legacy of the Viking invasions. He reveals that Orkney and Shetland, far from being victims, had been part of the Scandinavian world long before the Viking onslaught and, through the evidence of their genes, participated actively in raids on Ireland and the colonization of Iceland.
Stephen Oppenheimer of University of Oxford is a leading expert in the use of DNA to track migrations. His last book Out of Eden rewrote the prehistory of man's peopling of the world in a thesis that has since been confirmed in Science. He is also the author of Eden in the East: the Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia, which challenged the orthodox view of the origins of Polynesians as rice farmers from Taiwan.