MY REVIEW: 5*
*I would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC for my honest and unbiased opinion*
Set in AD 937, when England is not a unified country. It is ruled by minor kings and is under attack.
It is a period of unrest, war, power struggles and rebellions. I was aware of various names of the period but not much other detail.
The author states that there are sections that he has filled in to make it work as a piece of historical fiction. Effectively using artistic license to create a story of what “could have happened”. To balance this out he also includes “Historical Notes” section at the end of the book explaining why and where he has changed things. There are actual accounts of Dunstan that appear in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and other documents.
This story follows the life of Dunstan, who lived close by Glastonbury Tor. Run by monks who take in both himself and his brother Wulfric. It charts the life of Dunstan from boy to man, then from man to Archbishop. Dunstan is quick-witted and ambitious. He becomes a friend of Kings and an enemy to some, a builder of Abbeys and creator of items. He becomes a man of God, though at times he regrets some of his actions. He is focused on building Glastonbury an Abbey that will be seen as an architectural wonder. He is manipulative, a plotter and a schemer and uses his position to make this achievement possible. He claims it is for the Church and the will of God, but it is also for his pride. At times his pride blinds him to become a guilty man.
This aside, he was around when England became unified. One country, one king. He was witness to several kings during his lifetime, and also used his influence for good.
I really enjoyed this story, yes it was simplified, but that was helpful. It made the reading experience smoother and more enjoyable. I enjoyed every page from start to finish and really liked the inclusion of the historical notes at the end, giving me reference points for my own further reading of this period of English history. I would definitely recommend this book to other readers.
From acclaimed historical writer Conn Iggulden comes a novel set in the red-blooded days of Anglo-Saxon England. Welcome to the original game for the English throne.
The year is 937. England is a nation divided, ruled by minor kings and Viking lords. Each vies for land and power. The Wessex king Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a spear into the north.
As would-be kings line up to claim the throne, one man stands in their way.
Dunstan, a fatherless child raised by monks on the moors of Glastonbury Tor, has learned that real power comes not from God, but from discovering one’s true place on Earth. Fearless in pursuit of his own interests, his ambition will take him from the courts of princes to the fields of battle, from exile to exaltation.
For if you cannot be born a king, or made a king, you can still anoint a king.
Under Dunstan’s hand, England may come together as one country – or fall apart in anarchy . . .
From Conn Iggulden, one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and murderer, liar and visionary, traitor and kingmaker – the man who changed the fate of England.