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Friday, October 14, 2011

Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Setting: England, 2000 B.C.

Bernard Cornwell is a prolific author of historical fiction.  He has written over fifty novels.

In this novel, Cornwell tells a fictional account of the building of Stonehenge.  While this work is completely fiction, Cornwell does a great job of weaving into his tale the few archeological facts we do know about Stonehenge.

Nobody really knows why Stonehenge was built.  It may have been for religious purposes, but we have no direct information of this.  We do know that Stonehenge was built, and rebuilt, several times. Many stones were brought from hundreds of miles away, then discarded.  The large stones that finally comprised Stonehenge weigh as much as forty tons.  They were dragged over twenty miles to create the monument we know today.

Cornwell's story tells the fate of three brothers.  It is a tale of brotherly rivalry, madness, and the will of the gods. 

The oldest brother a warrior filled with lust, hatred and revenge.  He murders his father and betrays his youngest brother. And slaughters at will.

The middle son suffers from physical deformities which drive him into madness.  He becomes a priest in service to fierce god Slaol.  It is his madness which drives the building of great temples, and eventually the building of Stonehenge.

The youngest son, Saban (the main character) is betrayed by his older brothers, sold into slavery, and driven far from home.  Along the way the women he loves (two wives and a daughter) are taken from him by his brothers, and the gods.  In the end he is driven to build the incredible monument that is Stonehenge. 

I enjoyed this novel.  It is a nice easy read.  The plot moves along and keeps you reading.

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