Stonehenge – Bernard Cornwell
I was so excited to start reading this. Like many other people, I have always been fascinated by the infamous Stonehenge and its unexplained existence. Theory and conjecture is all that exists. A temple of a kind, but to what and to who? Remains of the dead have been found, and likely served in a spiritual capacity, but still how it came to be and to serve what purpose continues to elude us.
A fictional version of how it might have come to exist lies within Cornwell’s tale of tribal feuding and spiritual controversy. Cornwell is a famous storyteller, say his name and many people with shake their heads in acknowledgement. However, he was new to me. As a storyteller, he is most impressive. A great writer I cannot deny, especially during the periods of action and dialogue I was hooked. I enjoyed the story, and I loved that reading him reminded me of having read many of the greats from when I was growing up.
My only issue, was a personal issue and is not a reflection on him as a writer. I am not a reader who enjoys pages of description, and Cornwell likes to be thorough in his explanations. I often found, during the deep detailed explanation of the temple making, I would often skip ahead several pages because for me it was just boring. It took me awhile to read this story because of all description, I had to trudge through to get to the meat of the tale.
Regardless, it did not take away from the quality writing that exists within its pages and I am able to overlook my own personal tastes and admit this was a good story.
I recommend it to anyone interested in fictionalized historical settings and tribal atmospheres. If you like heavy detail, even better!
Synopsis: Four thousand years ago, a stranger’s death at the Old Temple of Ratharryn-and his ominous “gift” of gold-precipitates the building of what for centuries to come will be known as one of mankind’s most singular and remarkable achievements. Bernard Cornwell’s epic novel Stonehenge catapults us into a powerful and vibrant world of ritual and sacrifice at once timeless and wholly original-a tale of patricide, betrayal, and murder; of bloody brotherly rivalry: and of the never-ending quest for power, wealth, and spiritual fulfillment.
Three brothers-deadly rivals-are uneasily united in their quest to create a temple to their gods. There is Lengar, the eldest, a ruthless warrior intent on replacing his father as chief of the tribe of Ratharryn; Camaban, his bastard brother, a sorcerer whose religious fervor inspires the plan for Stonehenge; and Saban, the youngest, through whose expertise the temple will finally be completed. Divided by blood but united-precariously-by a shared vision, the brothers begin erecting their mighty ring of granite, aligning towering stones to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and raising arches to appease and unite their gods. Caught between the zealousness of his ambitious brothers, Saban becomes the true leader of his people, a peacemaker who will live to see the temple built in the name of salvation and regeneration.
Bernard Cornwell, long admired for his rousing narrative and meticulous historical imaginings, has here delivered his masterpiece, the most compelling and powerful human drama of its kind since Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and Edward Rutherford’s Sarum. His re-creation of civilization as it might have been in 2000 B.C. at once amplifies the mystery of his subject and makes the world of Stonehenge come alive as never before.