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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stirring epic of Bronze Age England!
Dr Phil would have loved to get his teeth into these boys - the perfect dysfunctional Bronze Age tribal family!

Three brothers - Camaban, the all but insane sorcerer born a cripple who dreams of re-uniting the sun god and the moon goddess in his perfect temple; Lengar, the brutally sadistic, power hungry warrior who kills his own father to take over the...
Published on January 7, 2008 by Paul Weiss

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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts good but ends poorly
The book starts off great. The first two hundred pages with its explanation of the tribe and the brothers who are the chiefs sons are truly engrossing. Unfortunately it tapers off from there. About the time you hit page 300 the book is basically over. the author however decides to babble for abouta hundred pages or so before he finally ties up some loose ends. Another...
Published on July 6, 2001 by Blah


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stirring epic of Bronze Age England!, January 7, 2008
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
Dr Phil would have loved to get his teeth into these boys - the perfect dysfunctional Bronze Age tribal family!

Three brothers - Camaban, the all but insane sorcerer born a cripple who dreams of re-uniting the sun god and the moon goddess in his perfect temple; Lengar, the brutally sadistic, power hungry warrior who kills his own father to take over the position of chief of the tribe; and Saban, the quiet cerebral type who achieves the impossible by staying alive despite his brothers' efforts and completing the near impossible engineering feat of erecting Stonehenge, a never before dreamed of monolithic temple on the Salisbury Plains.

"Stonehenge" is a magnificent hypothetical tale set in the second millennium BC, Bronze Age England. As enormous in conception and as dramatic in the writing as Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth", Cornwell has treated his readers to a magnificent epic rich with sorcery, pagan ritual, ambition, tribal warfare, family rivalries, mythology and bronze age culture that hypothesizes a possible backdrop to the completion of that enigmatic monolithic structure, Stonehenge.

But he also did much more than merely tell a story that all readers of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy. He also provided some absolutely fascinating sidebars and essays on the probable state of Bronze Age science - medicine, astronomy, weaponry, warfare, engineering - and indulged himself in some musings on what might have been tribal mythology, philosophy and theology.

A thoroughly engrossing read from first page to last. Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
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90 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stonehenge The Novel, May 12, 2000
By 
DEAN TAYLOR (CARDIFF, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
The view of Stonehenge rising among the rolling hills of the Salisbury plains in Southern England is a moving experience for anyone interested in our Ancient past. Most people come away wondering how ancient people could have possibly erected such a monument without using modern tools or machinery. The most fascinating part of the riddle is the motive and the identity of the peole who spent their lives at the task. The novel by Bernard Cornwell is a fascinating story of the people and motivation which may have created Stonehenge. The blend of fact and fiction gives the reader appreciation of what it may have been like to live in the era when the monument was created. The novel has been carefully researched to provide an accurate picture of the remains as they stand today with a plausible theory as to why it was constructed. The description of the way of life of the ancient people is as interesting as the story of Stonehenge itself. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is curious about the lives of our ancestors and one of the mysteries they have left for us to ponder.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, well researched book with an engaging plot., July 24, 2000
For a writer having Stonehenge as a central theme could be a double-edged sword. The history of Stonehenge lies shrouded in mystery, some give it almost mystical powers and others simple suggest it was designed as a meeting place or the venue for ancient parties! Having such a vast blank page could provide an author with either a rich vein to use as a plot or it could lead to a novel containing undisciplined guesswork. Due to both his skills as a writer and the time he invests in research, Bernard Cornwell's Stonehenge belongs to the former category.
The plot and story line explores the motivational force behind the construction of the monument of Stonehenge. Not only is it strong in it's sense of history, Stonehenge offers a multi-layered approach to the development of characters and their lives. Cornwell's writing is here particularly strong and evocative. This book, although well researched is fiction and it's important to hold onto that fact. However, Cornwell writes with such conviction that at times one could believe that his account of the building of Stonehenge is factual in nature. My only criticisms were perhaps a tendency for Cornwell to over-elaborate and the passing of time-scales in one or two lines.
This book is does not have the feel of Sharpe or Starbuck and those readers who expect that style of writing will I feel be disappointed. Stonehenge builds the story line rather than plunges into it. Both forms are valid but with Stonehenge it would be unwise to expect a thrill a minute al la Richard Sharpe.
An enjoyable, well researched book with an engaging plot.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A richly imagined and charactered historical novel., July 1, 2000
Stonehenge [2000 B.C.] by Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell's particular literary talent lies in his marvelously rich imagination and ability to extrapolate relevant, intelligent, and highly entertaining stories from the merest and scantest of archeological and historical data. In this novel, he vividly imagines the people who built Stonehenge well before the time of Christ. His characters are always very realistic and well relatable to 21st Century readers. Whether writing of the sea in his Sharpe series or dealing with Arthurian material in his Warlord Chronicles, all with grand stage settings and unforgettable background events, the lives of ordinary people become as true and relevant as the latest breaking news. This present book deals with three brothers as different as brothers can be, but united in their vision of what the great temple we know as Stonehenge should be. Cornwell includes a lot of creative pagan mythology here and the influence of such scholars as Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung can readily be discerned. But don't be misled; this is still an action-packed page-turner as are all of Cornwell's books. Great for those exhausting dog days of August.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cornwell in perfect form, June 17, 2005
Bernard Cornwell is a master of the historical novel, regardless of the era he tells of. "Stonehenge," not unsurprisngly, refers to the building of Stonehence, circa 2000 B.C.

The story is a wonderful blend of archaeology and invention. Mostly invention, but wonderfully done.

Cornwell invents a tribal society and believable customs to go with it. He molds some interesting characters as well. Stonehenge is a marvelous blend of a speechless monument and the story it might have told if it could.

Cornwell's "Stonehenge" is an exquisite read for history buffs and anyone who enjoys a good story, well told.

Jerry
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read, August 10, 2005
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This review is from: Stonehenge (Mass Market Paperback)
If you enjoy reading Cornwell's novels, and I do, you'll enjoy reading Stonehenge. Taking a few salient bits of archaeological fact, he builds a world around his vision of the construction of Stonehenge.

When I sat down with this book, I started to read and found myself wanting to read it cover to cover in one sitting...but a busy schedule didn't allow it. I thought about the characters during interludes when I read the story and they did "live" through Mr. Cornwell's masterful story telling.

I gave the book four stars because it's not his best work. Please don't let that deter you from reading the book.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts good but ends poorly, July 6, 2001
By 
Blah (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stonehenge (Mass Market Paperback)
The book starts off great. The first two hundred pages with its explanation of the tribe and the brothers who are the chiefs sons are truly engrossing. Unfortunately it tapers off from there. About the time you hit page 300 the book is basically over. the author however decides to babble for abouta hundred pages or so before he finally ties up some loose ends. Another disappointment is the protagonist, Saban, who starts out likeable enough but ends up being somewhat annoying and weak. His counterparts his wives, his war chief brother and his club footed brother are far more interesting characters.
While Cornwell's explanation of Stonehenges purpose is nothing out of the ordinary his description of its possible use is quite interesting. The best part about the book is the imaginary mythology that Cornwell has created for the tribe and their worship of sundry deity. For example, in the novel the tribe takes their dead (and there are many) to the death place where they allow the body to be consumed by vultures and other birds. Students of religion will recognize this as a Zorastrian custom, that began in Iran about 3000 BC.
All in all the book is not too bad but on the other hand it really isn't all that good either.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Close, but no cigar, October 3, 2006
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This review is from: Stonehenge (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read several of the Sharpe series, I'm familiar with Cornwell's style and yes, formula. When Cornwell sticks to his formula; the slightly clueless protagonist, treachery, intrigue, action and attention to historical (or pre-historical) detail, the pages fly. When he dwells on the construction of the temple(s), things slow down, albeit remaining interesting. Still, the juxtapositions give the narrative some incongruity.

Largely because of the ambitious scope of the novel, I was hoping to find something more redeeming than Cornwell's usual superficially entertaining read. Though Camaban freely admits his sorcery is nothing more than hype, intimidation and competent medical practices, he is still obsessed with the gods and his attempts to force them to his will. Saban, while not daring to blaspheme, relies more on his wits and common sense than on his society's superstition; qualities that at times make him look less than corageous but allow him to survive and eventually prevail. This disparity between the two brothers leaves plenty of room for speculation on what Cornwell may, or may not be trying to say about human nature, religion and civilization's present state.

'Stonehenge' will not be remembered as Cornwell's Magnum Opus. As it is, we're simply left with another quality outing from one of historical fiction's best.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Saban the Precursor, September 2, 2005
By 
Bernard Armstrong (Capellades, Barcelona Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stonehenge (Mass Market Paperback)
Many of my fellow reviewers seem to revile the main protagonist of this book for not being a true "hero". Perhaps this is due to the "manly" nature of other of Bernard Cornwell's protagonists of whom they are fans. Of that, I cannot judge, since this was the first Cornwell novel I have read. I do feel, however, that readers should bare in mind that Cornwell ensures that we know that while Saban is not your standard "butch" hero, it is through his efforts (both physical and mental) and through his diplomatic approach to the largely slave workforce labouring on the project, that the monument gets built at all.

For me, therefore, Saban is a precursor of "new age man". He is far more considerate to those around him, he is a respecter of women, a hater of cruelty and barbarism. Surely those are truly heroic characteristics which mark Saban out from the mere fanatical power seekers around him. Yes, he may be seen as a passive victim in some of the early scenes, but in making him such a victim, yet in ensuring that when he is forced to kill his antagonists he is not driven by mere revenge, Cornwell seems to be ennobling him above his ruthless brothers. In our modern world of terrorist martyrs, I think we need more heroes like Saban, willing to live for their ideals, rather than kill or die for them.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are fascinated by Stonehenge, or the time period..., November 23, 2004
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This review is from: Stonehenge (Mass Market Paperback)
then it is a must read. I was on a 9 month internship to England in 1980. The visit to Stonehenge was at the very top of my experience list. Ever since I was interested in reading everything about it. Most information is non-fiction and latest news about archeological discoveries. As an avid reader of historical fiction, I found Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell. Great story, great character development, the anticipation for the construction of the monolith was immense, the story was captivating. I have looked for more historical fiction on Stonehenge, however, I fear none could do it better than Bernard Cornwell. I have continued reading his historical fiction, including the Arthur Series wich is excellent.
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Stonehenge
Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell (Mass Market Paperback - May 1, 2001)
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