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The Shining Company (Sunburst Book) Paperback – September 1, 1992

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Britain in 600 A.D. forms a vibrant backdrop for this gripping action-adventure tale concerning the son of a feudal chieftain. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up. The uniting of the disparate kingdoms in early Britain in a attempt to ward off the threat of Saxon invasion forms the core of this sweeping historical adventure. Heroism, camaraderie, and sacrifice all come shining through in a stirring tale of glory and treachery, told in demanding yet hypnotic prose.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1240L (What's this?)
  • Series: Sunburst Book
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Reprint edition (September 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374466165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374466169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote more than 40 historical novels for young adults-including The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers, The Sword and the Circle, and Black Ships Before Troy-five adult novels, and several books of nonfiction.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I got this book for my 7th grade son who is studying Medieval times at school. When I scanned the first few pages and found references to the Spartans at Thermopylae (I'm a Greek history buff), I started reading in earnest--and didn't stop. The author creates characters that are achingly real, involved in compelling situations that breathe life into ancient history. This is the best kind of historical novel; one that builds a realistic world that reveals culture and creates a "feel" so that you can understand it.
The people in this book seem very alive. They act consistently with the natures the author has created for them, and they are people one would want to know. Their way of speaking, customs, clothing, food, names--everything is couched in an impressive amount of historical detail that is soaked up by the reader without apparent effort.
I enjoyed this "juvenile" book thoroughly. I would have devoured Ms Sutcliff's books if I had found them younger, and--since the best children's books can hold their own with the best adult books--I will enjoy devouring them now!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Christiane N. Hulet on March 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Good books need lots of great reviews to persuade converts. =) I picked this up as Celtic/medieval literature for a college class and wondered whether this "juvenile" book would contain enough depth, but found myself immediately intrigued. Sutcliff's writing is consistently true to the era she portrays, and is often poetic, as well. The characters are refreshingly real; I care more about their development as individuals than how the battles will turn out. So far, I'm totally happy to rate this book 5 stars. I can't wait to finish it!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
As I was reading The Shining Company I was thinking this is the best adventure book I ever read. I also couldn't keep my eyes off it and a number of times my teacher kept telling me to put the book down and pay attention. At first I didn't want to read it but I did and it got better and better until I couldn't stop reading it. It's also the first Rosemary Sutcliff I've ever read and I will probably read more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ESD on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It seems harder and harder to find a story where you truly care for the protagonist. Even with an expert storyteller like Sutcliff, I found it difficult to be invested in the fate of Bjarni in Sword Song (Sunburst Book). When I began reading The Shining Company, I did not expect the story to grip me as it did. I was caught up in the story of Prosper and the companions. I was moved deeply when came a bittersweet ending, and the story lingered on in my mind. To me, a story that has the power to move your emotions, and keeps you reflecting on it even after you've put it down, is a truly good story.

I was actually pretty surprised with how empathetic the characters were. With just a snapshot for each character, Sutcliff made me feel like I knew them--and the characterization was well varied. Without much elaboration, Sutcliff had me following many different lives and it made me sad to see so many go. I knew nothing about the Gododdin going into the novel, so I was in for something of a shock with the direction of events. But in hindsight, the course of events was laid out from the beginning...

Conn, an empathetic character in the story, concluded of the bard Aneirin's tales, "'I do not think you can be changing the end of a song or a story like that, as though it were quite separate from the rest. I think the end of a story is part of it from the beginning.'" I believe Sutcliff was commenting on her own craft, and it's obvious in the book. She cleverly wraps up the story so that it ends where it begins, not so literally as metaphorically. And it's totally satisfying.

On a separate note, the novel was very atmospheric.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by Rosemary Sutcliff I have read, but I assure you, it will not be the last.
I was captivated by this book from the begining. It is rather long, (or at least, seems long, though it's really only about 250 pages) and every night while I was reading it, I hated having to put it down and go to bed, wondering what was going to happen to Prosper next.
I loved the way Mrs. Sutcliff built the book around the story of the Gododdin. The main plot is an excellent story in the first place, and this book did a worthy job of making it into a story with real people who we can relate to.
The characters are also excellent. There are quite a few of them, but they each have unique, individual personalities, and are quite alive. The main character, Prosper, is an interesting narrator, even though at first there doesn't seem to be much to make him stand out among all other warriors and shieldbearers.
All in all, this is a very good book, I would especially reccommend it if you have interest in British history, battles and armies, or just good stories.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on June 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
It is 600 AD in Britain, the dawn of the Dark Ages, when the Roman presence was but a memory generations back--an almost wistful time preserved in odd names and stone ruins. Saxon invaders from across the ocean have been steadily encroaching on Celtic Lands--spreading their rough culture like a virus from the Southeastern Coast in all directions, ruthlessly destroying what little remained of the native cultures. Alas, there is no Artos, the Bear, with his gallant cavalry to crush them as he did at Badon Hill, so the Sea Wolves arrogantly push the Celtic Belt to its westward extremity.

King Mynydogg the Golden summons 300 of his finest warriors to his palace in Dyn Eiden (Edinburgh) for a year of serious training for the inevitable challenge to the beer-drinking Saxon churls: the ultimate battle to determine the cultural fate of Britain for a thousand years. The defenders depend upon the The Arrowhead formation, which involves one warrior with his two shield bearers. But the local kingdoms are stiff with suspicion, and struggle to join forces against a common invader.

When the book opens we meet Prosper, the young protagonist, a slighted second son. For his 12th birthday he receives from his stern father the gift of his own bondservant, a dark lad stolen by slavers who raid Eiru (Ireland). In the course of the next 5 years the boys forge a close bond, although they both love the same young lady. While Prosper plays at warriorhood, Conn is drawn to the forge, where he hopes to learn a blacksmith's trade and create shining weapons for the freeborn warriors. A chance encounter with a magnificent white hart in a distant forest cements the kinship of the 3 young people.
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The Shining Company (Sunburst Book)
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