- Publisher: Doubleday (August 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 038504884X
- ISBN-13: 978-0385048842
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Below the Salt Hardcover – August, 1981
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the characters immensely and, while I have over time read other books just as compelling, and with perhaps grittier writing, I still come back to this lovely, familiar tale for inspiration. Two weeks ago I reached for it because I was preparing a presentation (for a graduate class) about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and reading about her life stirred memories of this book.
If you can find it, read it!
The historical record relates that after the death of Richard Lionheart, the evil John usurped the throne that should have gone to his older brother Geoffrey's son Arthur, and that to solidfy his claim, he murdered Arthur and swept Eleanor into a convent, where she was never to be seen or heard from again.
In this wonderful, imaginative book, the author keeps to most of the historical record, but asserts that after the death of her brother, Arthur, Eleanor was spirited away to safety by William the Marshal.
The story starts in the present day, and details the efforts of a descendent of Marshal to find the lineal descendent of Eleanor, who would be the de jure Queen of England. The story weaves back and forth between the present day and 13th century England, and is absolutely riveting.
If you like English history, and especially if you like what-if situations, this is a great book.
But to this book, BELOW THE SALT, Mr. Costain uses the royal family of England and Normandy (Angevin England 1154-1258), the Plantagenets, as a prism through which to focus on the Magna Charta, A.D. 1215, and the rights of the common man as required due to the acts of King John, nicknamed either 'Lackland' or 'Softsword'. Or as the dust jacket states the Magna Charta "thus contributed so much to the liberties of future generations". A recent book by Frank McLynn, "Richard and John, Kings At War" will round out any reader's interest past Below The Salt.
As I believe one reviewer correctly states, Below The Salt may seem a bit slow at start, but once Book Two begins the reader is thrown backward 700 years to views from both the Norman and Saxon, with much information concerning those 'below the salt', that is, those not of landed, noble position and wealth whose place at table was always 'below the salt' with the dregs and dogs of that age's time.
An attempt of an aging Senator from the U.S.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a disappointing Costain. Of course, it was written before all current historical researcj was known to author. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Schmid
Since I have read and enjoyed Below the Salt 2-3 times, I bought this copy for my granddaughter, who also loves history and a good story.Published on January 1, 2011 by Carol A. Schneider
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well written, the setting seems authentic, the characters are worth caring about, the plot is interesting and moves along at a good pace, and... Read morePublished on August 21, 2010 by spfdgreg
I really cannot add much to what has already been written, except to say that Thomas Costain proved himself a master at historical fiction, and this is a much loved volume in my... Read morePublished on July 18, 2010 by Leftbrainfemale
Costain's tale begins as Richard O'Rawn, a powerful U.S. Senator, contacts aspiring author John Foraday out of the blue and invites him to travel along with him. Read morePublished on June 8, 2009 by Misfit
This is a wonderful book. It is a story of the Magna Carter. It gives one a glimpse of the early days in Europe, and the struggle of the people to secure their freedom from the... Read morePublished on June 3, 2009 by Wendy A. Pooler
This is a book that deals effectively with re-incarnation involving the Plantagenets of England. The Knowledge he has and the nomenclature is astounding. Read morePublished on December 12, 2008 by Gary J. Baxter
I read this book not knowing exactly what to expect. I am normally not a fan of historical novels and that is precisely what this book was reported to be. Read morePublished on May 28, 2006 by Richard Piatt
I agree with the other reviewers, but I would caution that this one has a slow start. Stick with it, and you will be amply rewarded. Read morePublished on July 10, 2003 by Phyllis I. Hawkins