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An Ancient Novel!!
Stonehenge - Bernard Cornwell
Member Name: machar
Stonehenge - Bernard Cornwell
Date: 11/01/01, updated on 11/01/01 (59 review reads)
Advantages: brilliant storyline, good description of what life was like in 2000BC
Disadvantages: not exactly historically accurate but then who has a time machine!
Bernard Cornwell attempted to do a very brave thing. It is not many authors who would try and write a book based on events that happened in the year 2000 BC but this is what he has done.
In his book Stonehenge, Cornwell attempts to record the events leading up to and the actual building of Stonehenge. Not an easy task but I think he carries it off very well.
The books main character is Saban who is a member of the tribe from Ratharryn. He will lead his tribe in the building of the magnificent Stonehenge - a legacy that we can still see today. The book also concerns itself with the tribal feuds between other tribes and also those internal. Saban has a rather eventful life. His father Hengall is the leader of the tribe but is soon deposed and killed by his other son Lengar, Sabans half brother. Lengar sells Saban into slavery and he is taken to south Wales. Meanwhile Sabans other half brother, Camaban, who was a cripple, turns into a powerful sorcerer. Camaban decides to build a temple to reunite Slaol the sun god and Lahanna the moon goddess. Once they are reunited there will be no more winters, sickness or poor harvests.
That basically is the main plot but there are several intricacies to the story. The feuds with other tribes, Sabans wives, his family, the every day living of the people. The full descriptions bring the past to life in glorious technicolour so it is easy to imagine the characters and follow the story. The strange names take a little while to get used to but they are used often so you quickly remember what they refer to.
At the end of the book there is a chapter entitled "Historical note" which is a wonderful chapter to end on. It describes which events there is evidence for and the actual recorded archaeological evidence. Cornwell has used a vast amount of this in his book but I dare say there are bits that he has also omitted. There are also suggestions for further reading and he mentions th
e books which he found most useful during his research for the novel.
If you are intrigued by Stonehenge and have oftened wondered about the people who built it and why they did so then read this book. It puts a more human face on what is now a somewhat dilapidated pile of stones (compared to what it was what when first built). Like all historical novels it has to be taken with a pinch of salt but it is well worth reading and is thoroughly enjoyable.
PS picked this up in Bargain Books 3 for £10 offer hence the price given below!