Read Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell Online


Discover a time of ritual and sacrifice. . .A land steeped in blood and glory. . .A family of brothers whose deadly rivalries and glorious ambitionswill forever mark the world. STONEHENGEIn this rousing epic, Bernard Cornwell has created the most compelling and powerful human drama of its kind since Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth and Edward Rutherford's Sarum....

Title : Stonehenge
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061091940
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 482 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Stonehenge Reviews

  • Terri
    2018-11-26 19:12

    It really has me baffled that some people don't like this book. I found it enthralling and captivating.There was something about Bernard Cornwell's version of these bronze age people and their mystical and monolithic Stonehenge, that captured my imagination and I felt stirred by both them and their pristine, unpolluted environment.They were innocent and gullible, ignorant and sweet, yes, even at their deadliest or maddest. They are unblemished by a modern world. Their existence is aligned in every way with nature and the elements. Everything was an omen or an augury. If a bird lit from a tree, they watched it to see where it headed, if a swan lifts from the waterway into the sky, they stop to watch it's direction in hopes of anticipating the future. They wear 'sea monsters' teeth on sinew around their necks, and dress their ring ditches with animal and human skulls to ward off people and spirits alike. They are a deep and cerebral people.While this life may sound restrictive to you and I, everything has a meaning and a meaning in everything, I think it was beautiful to read about and I felt more connected to pre history than I have ever been before. And all this due to the wizened hand of a master author? I had some trepidation going into this book because of the mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I should have known Cornwell would not let me down, he hasn't yet after all, why should he now?Reading this book was an experience for me and I wish I had not put it off for as long as I had.Thankyou Bernard Cornwell.

  • Artemas
    2018-11-25 19:18

    The key to being a successful historical fiction author is the ability to open a window into the place and era in which you write. Bernard Cornwell does this seamlessly. Cornwell tells a completely imagined story revolving around mystical Stonehenge that made me believe the events could have actually taken place in the distant past. Within the “Historical Notes” section at the back of the book, he even states that the names for the gods and goddesses were completely made up, yet everything felt authentic.What a story! Though I rated this one 5 stars, I will say that the story builds slowly, but the pay-off at the end was worth it. Much of this book details how pre-Bronze Age people actually managed to move and shape the massive stones that made Stonehenge … so if that kind of detail bores you, then this one probably isn’t for you ... in which case I'd recommend you go kick some rocks. Though it dealt with a completely different era and story, Stonehenge reminded me of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, which I also loved. If you enjoyed Pillars, then I would bet that you would enjoy this as well.Stonehenge was an interesting glimpse into a sparsely covered period of historical fiction. Like the gods upon the great temple’s completion, I am pleased with this momentous effort.

  • Gary
    2018-11-10 16:05

    Cornwell catches us up in a fascinating page turning historical novel with science fantasy elements, in this elecrtic epic set in the Britain of 4000 years ago.Cornwell creates an eventful, vivid, gory, gripping and spellbinding tale of love and loss, sorcery, hatred, jealousy, greed, ambition and pagan theology.Traces the story of three brothers, the evil and savage killer, Lengar, the cunning cripple turned sorcerer, Camaban, who ruthlessly sheds blood to build a new stone temple that will usher in new age free of suffering and death-the ruthless idealism of causes massive death and suffering for a utopian ideal, that was a hallmark of the twentieth century CE, and Saban, an intelligent but somewhat naive third brother who is caught in the machinations of his malignant older brothers.Derewynn, who is the bride of Saban who is then raped and enslaved by Lengar and his friends, before becoming a formidable sorceress and chieftainess, and Aurenna the priestess and second bride of Saban, to be the disciple and high priestess of Camaban.One thing that was absent that would have been helpful would have been a map showing where the places named are today in modern Britain.Ultimately about the author's story of how Stonehenge came to be in his imagination. Another page-turning Cornwell historical thriller, which you will want to add to your collection.

  • Victor Bruneski
    2018-11-19 00:15

    Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors, and I have been looking forward to reading this for some time. But with all that I am still surprised on how good the book is.This story is a bit different from the usual Cornwell yarn. From the books I have read by him, it is apparent he likes to write about war, and is probably one of the best writers out there in describing battle scenes. There is battles in this book too, but the are few and far between. This is more about primitive man, and their relationship with their gods.This is about three brothers, and events surrounding them that brings about the creation of Stonehenge. Little is known about Stonehenge, but Cornwell incorporates the littliest things into his story, making it a pleasure to read. This novel really draws you in, making you feel like you are there in the distant past, making you the characters struggles and their hopes in building Stonehenge. I loved the characters in the story. Camadan and Saban really stood out.The story went by to fast, and left me wanting more. Signs of a great novel.

  • Ron
    2018-11-16 22:15

    A good story, well-written, but not up to what I expect from Bernard Cornwell. He builds on John North's Stonehenge: Neolithic Man and the Cosmos to include a plausible explanation of what little we know about this wonder of the ancient world, contemporaneous with the Great Pyramids of Egypt.But the book doesn't connect. For one thing it lacks the humor which leavens the drama and gore of his Wessex series. (I assume Sharpe has his humorous moments, too.) I never grew to care for Saban as I should for a flawed hero.Also, the rate of action seems totally beyond what an early Bronze Age community should be capable. The biggest oak they can find is cut down in a day? With stone, flint and bronze tools?Still, so far as I know, there are no historical howlers, and it was a good read. Had a lessor author written it, I might have rated it with four stars.

  • Paul
    2018-11-25 23:18

    Well, I'm throwing in the towel and moving on to something else.I began this book in June, and haven't picked it up since August.I seldom fail to finish a book, but I just can't carry on with this one. Not my cup of tea, I guess.

  • Billy
    2018-11-14 16:07

    Ancient architecture 101...,No matter how you slice it, the book is about how to build a stone temple in ancient times. There is a story behind this, an interesting and complex tale of people from all over present-day England, surrounding three brothers, sons of a chieftan, and their aspirations, plottings, dreams and failures. There is travel throughout the ancient island with Cornwell's requisite description of place and people, but it still comes back to building the stone temple; so the title suggests, so the book goes...This is not, in my humble opinion (and I am a big fan of Cornwell), Bernard's best work. It is interesting enough. There is treachery, murder, rivalry, betrayal, lust, insanity, god-worship, slavery, battle, bravery, courage and cowardice, but all offered in less heaping helpings than usually offered from Cornwell.Surely, it was no small task for our neolithic ancestors to collect the stones, shape them, move them and stand them so precisely, but the description of such consumes probably 75-80% of the book. Cornwell does his best to make this description interesting, but I believe that where this book really falls short is in its length. The tale could have been told in fewer pages with fewer people and less outside storylines.The back-story is sufficient, but nothing outstanding. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised by the praise offered by the "experts"; people that get paid to review. I think the experts failed us on this one. This is an average read with Cornwell's exceptional ability to lay out the scene bringing the rating up slightly.This is certainly an interesting read for anyone that is interested in ancient history, but I don't think that the average historical fiction reader will find much to be excited about here. The battles are weak in comparison to Cornwell's usual epic warfare storytelling. There is no real mystery, though the book does not promise this; I have just come to expect this from Cornwell so I offer it as an aside.I am very interested in anything prehistoric/ancient and I did enjoy reading about the tools, processes, people and lifestyles of our forefathers, but I realize that some may not take so much enjoyment from the tale.***I give 4 stars, my personal rating, understanding full well that some may disagree and so also offer the reasons why I believe some may not be quite so interested. Overall, I would rate this a 3+, rounding up to 4 because Cornwell can make even the grinding and standing of stones sound interesting. But some may want to skip this one and move on to a more involving tale.***

  • Abigail Hartman
    2018-11-26 20:10

    "It's violent," says Dad."Oh," says I, with a lofty wave of the hand, "violence is all right. I can handle THAT."Turns out, Dad knew what he was talking about. This book was far, far grittier than my usual fare, and there were several times where I had to put it aside and read something as cheery as "Howl's Moving Castle" to settle the emotions. It is not a difficult book stylistically, but the weight of darkness and paganism was so great that it took me over a month to plow through to the end. Cornwell doesn't skimp on the brutal details of life in Britain two thousand years before the birth of Christ, and he certainly doesn't try to present the newfangled idea of innocent, ignorant people who lived in communion with nature. In fact, he directly repudiates such notions in his Historical Note. Archeological evidence shows pretty clearly that the lives of these men and women revolved around death - early deaths, sacrificial deaths, violent deaths - and so does this novel. That hardly makes for a light and cheery read.The novel is also intriguing, however, which was what kept me reading. There are really no "likeable" characters; pitiable, yes, and sometimes even sympathetic, but not likeable or heroic. I certainly didn't keep reading for them. But I wanted to know how it would end, and, perhaps like Saban himself, I wanted to see Stonehenge completed. I also respect his ability to incorporate, or rather weave a story around, historical details and archaeological finds; it was very nice to be able to say, "Oh! Oh! I know that archer's cuff! I got that reference!" That is the best sort of historical fiction.So I got through, and while I can hardly say I'll be reading more of Cornwell's works due to the sheer grittiness of them, I do appreciate his ability to craft an anachronism-free work and to hold the reader to the end..

  • Bill Shears
    2018-11-24 22:07

    Finally plowed all the way through this, for two reasons. One: we wanted to see the darn thing built. No spoiler there. You know the thing does get built.How they raised the lintels is always a matter of controversy and as a warning for some Chariots of the Gods fans, there are no aliens involved, which is good thing. Give the humans some credit for the emergence of intelligence, and application of brute force which would have been their strength in that era.It's a plausible-sounding method I hadn't heard of as a possibility. It does not involve building earthen ramps as has been proposed, due to -- as one of the characters points out -- a thin top soil layer over the chalk bedrock of the area; there might not have been enough earth to gather for ramps with reasonable effort. We won't give the lintel-lifting method away. If it interests you then you are the reader the author is looking for. The other reason we wanted to see this book through to the end was, without even peeking, we sensed there would be an afterward where the author talks about the research on which the book was based. We were looking forward to that and was not disappointed.The author's strength is in the knowledge -- no, complete mastery - of the subject exhibited in that Historical Note afterward. He admits at the outset of the Historical Note that nothing of the plot, characters or action are anything but fiction. Limitation of the narrative, in fact, prevents some of the more interesting findings on the site from being included, such as the fact that there are painted circles in the parking lot at Stonehenge that mark the locations of ancient post holes from 8000 BC, 5000 years prior to the start of the Neolithic Stonehenge construction. In the story, a political/religious conflict involving early Bronze Age villages is conjured up, and all of it struggles to reach the level of contrivance. At the root of it, you find out early, is gold. In the afterward is a mention that a body had been found that had been buried with gold piece artifacts just like those in the story. The hero, Saban, is not all that heroic, letting events wash over him pretty much exactly like a hero isn't supposed to do, and at times, indeed, allowing himself to be pushed around and knocked about. At one point the line "Seize him!" is actually spoken. Enough said.All in all a run-of-the-mill impetus to a plodding build-up to the construction of one of humankind's earliest engineering achievements. Read it for the account of the gathering, transportation and placement of the stones, but don't expect much from the surrounding story.

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-03 23:21

    I can't say that I enjoyed this book. It has a dry, spare style that feels almost like a list in some places. There are lengthy passages to do with the details of moving the stones that aren't particularly well done or interesting. The characters are hard to identify with, though I'm not of the opinion that you have to identify with characters in order to enjoy a book, it is often helpful. It takes a grim and brutal view of human nature which isn't necessarily a bad thing but presented in this humorless manner is not particularly enjoyable. The book tries to envision what would drive people to build a structure like Stonehenge. There is madness, self-delusion and many battles of will. While I am interested in what drives people to do crazy/epic/impossible things the way the story was told was not of particular interest to me. The protagonist was the most likable, yet least interesting character who really had no agency and whose life and destiny was in thrall to his stronger-willed brothers. The brothers were more interesting but also horrible. I liked the idea of the crippled brother trying to make the world straight but, again, it was not done in a way that resonated for me. The role of the female characters was problematic as women were second rate yet some had much power. Again, this could have been compelling but not the way it was done here. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was the author's note at the end. I have no doubt that this was painstakingly researched but the storytelling was somehow lacking.

  • Anna
    2018-11-28 19:22

    I dare to say that it's the best historical fiction novel I've ever read in my life. Actually, this is the one that made me fan of the genre so much, with its fascinating story and the great characters. I can imagine this tale to be a great movie one day, if a director ever decided to dream it on to screen. I could hardly put this book down, finished within a short time and it's still among my all-time favorites.

  • Marko Vasić
    2018-12-11 21:30

    Brutalna, mračna priča o sukobu dva plemena i trojice (polu)braće oko izgradnje hrama božanstvima koja su slavili. Obožavam Kornvela jer srž svog narativa ne zasniva na deskripciji, nego, upravo, na naraciji. Iako neki delovi priče deluju "suvo", ja volim takav stil, i zbog toga mi je Kornvel na prvom mestu što se pisaca istorijske fikcije tiče. Kao i u Saksonskim pričama, tako i ovde nije štedeo na scenama brutalne, krvave borbe i opisa neljudskog žrtvovanja ljudi i dece zarad spokoja božanstava sunca i meseca kojima su se klanjali. Takođe, bavio se (koliko je to moguće) nekim od rituala, za koje se pretpostavlja da su ih izvodili tadašnji ljudi (venčanja, obredi proglašavanja dečaka muškarcem i slično). Mračna, dekadentna priča, kroz koju tek da provejava zračak nade, i probija se kroz ambiciju, pohlepu i težnju dva sukobljena plemena da stvore hram koji će "pomiriti" dva antipodna glavna božanstva. Tako se "rodio" Stounhendž u fikciji Bernarda Kornvela.

  • Debbie
    2018-11-16 16:07

    TEDIUM SET IN STONEThis book was one of about five books that my 14 year old son gave me for my birthday - all sourced from a bargain bin! I have honestly been doing my best to read some of them and have only given two away to the school fair without even opening the covers . And in fact, I actually thought that I might enjoy this one. Unfortunately not.I have never read any books by Bernard Cornwell before and won't be back for more. The book started out promisingly enough but somewhere around the middle I was bored to tears and forced myself to finish. It did get better again towards the end and my eyes stopped glazing over while reading but that's not saying much.The book tells the story of events that could have led to the building of Stonehenge. Lengar, Camaban and Saban are three brothers whose lives are inextricably bound with the temple. Camaban, the crippled outcast son born with a club foot transforms himself into a powerful sorcerer and designs the massive temple. Saban his younger brother has the engineering skills to move the leviathan stones and make Camaban's design a reality. Lengar the older brother is a bitter rival who tries to destroy Camaban. So all the ingredients are right there for a great story. Greed, ambitition, revenge, rivalry, hatred, betrayal. Add goddesses, religious tension, blood sacrifice and a few beautiful women and this should have been a riveting story. Instead the plot moved as slow and ponderously as the building of Stonehenge itself. The characters remained one dimensional and mostly unlikeable and by midway through the book I really didn't care what happened to any of them. It was slightly interesting to read about the way people may have lived back in 2000BC, but not worth wading through 580 pages for.

  • Jim
    2018-11-21 17:16

    After his series of Saxon novels about the England of Alfred the Great, Bernard Cornwell has continued his attack on organized religion. In the Saxon novels, he opposed Christianity to Asatru -- the Viking religion -- in favor of the latter, which could be called a DISorganized religion. With Stonehenge, Cornwell shows us three brothers in a mythical kingdom called Ratharryn: Saban, the builder; Lengar, the cruel warrior; and Camaban, the mad priest of Slaol (sort of sounds like Slay-All, doesn't it?), the Sun God.As Camaban forces Saban over the years to build the monstrous new temple to Slaol, he becomes progressively crazed and violent, and his expectations of the temple more outlandish:"You still want to be chief?" Saban asked, still dazed by the night's events. "Yes," Camaban said, "Ido. I want other things as well. No more winter, no more sickness, no more children crying in the night. That is what I want." He had come close to Saban as he spoke. "I want union with the gods," he went on softly, "and endless summer."It's safe to say that England has never yet enjoyed an endless summer, though, with Global Warming, who knows?In my reading, Cornwell supplies my need for adventure porn. Having read all the Sharpe and Saxon novels, I see recurring motifs, many of them connected with the love interests, who seem to come and go. But then, the point could be made that long happy marriages were not a regular feature of life in past times, what with endless tribal wars or Viking raids or even the mass dislocations caused by something like the Napoleonic Wars. There are still several Cornwell series I have yet to start. If I had world enough and time, I will continue to do so.

  • Virginia Owl
    2018-11-25 16:15

    Great for folks who wonder HOW Stonehenge was build. Not so good on the WHY of it all.I listened to this book on tape. It took me a long time to get through it. My overall impression of the book is that it was OK, but definitely in the "borrow it from the library" category, NOT the "go out and buy it NOW" category.The sense of place and time was strong & to my ear, realistic. But I found the details involved in the building of Stonehenge became tedious and overwhelming (though this could be more pronounced in the audio version- you could skim over the slow bits in print, harder to do in audio)I liked the day to day details of the characters lives but struggled with Cornwell's version of the characters religion/motivation: he vacillates between treating it with respect & subtly mocking it from a modern perspective. (Spoiler alert coming up) The author's basic premise is that Stonehenge was built draw the lunar year into sync with the solar one. As a pagan & someone who has a passionate interest in European pre-history, that motivation seems patronizing and well, stupid. I could go on about this at length, but i'll leave it at that.I found the characters in this book very two dimensional- lots of stereotypical good & bad guys. And don't get me started on his female characters- I've never seen them as a strong suit in any of the Cornwell books i've read.Basic summary: a cool book for flavor, time & place and great for anyone who wonders "HOW did they build that". But the author's answer for WHY Stonehenge was build didn't work at all for this reader.

  • Laura
    2018-12-09 20:09

    Stonehenge which means "standing" stones was described by Cornwell more as a fantasy book than from an historical point of view. In any case, I wasn't convinced about this version of the legend surrounded on Stonehenge. According to Cornwell, there is an interesting book Stonehenge by R.J.C. Atkinson on this same subject.Sorry Cornwell but I do prefer your Saxon Stories.

  • Giulia Fragale
    2018-12-06 00:28

    Cornwell é imbatível, só não ganhou 5 estrelas porque os personagens não me cativaram tanto quanto nos outros livros do autor e me decepcionei um pouco com o final romântico do protagonista.Também senti um deja vu em alguns momentos com As Crônicas de Artur - como Merlin caçando os Treze Tesouros da Britânia e a "traição" de Guinevere.

  • Faith Justice
    2018-11-10 17:23

    Good solid storytelling based on an interesting theory of why Stonehenge was built. Of course we don't know why, but archaeology has given us insight into how Stonehenge was built and Cornwell does a credible job building a world in which this extraordinary labor could have taken place. Vivid details and compelling character round out the action and plot.

  • Yvonne
    2018-11-10 20:32

    I had heard of Bernard Cornell but I had never read him before. After what I perceived as a let down ending from the Harry potter series a friend recommended I read this. I love good ancient historical fiction whether it is based heavily on fact or just speculation, this is obviously much the latter. while it took me a while to read, due to other obligations I enjoyed this hefty book quite a bit. it can be somewhat violent and jarring, but there was a realism to it that I enjoyed.the building of Stonehenge is not easy and it takes many years. The story here explores the time and journey it took the characters to accomplish its building as well as the possible reason behind it. I look forward to reading more of Bernard corners work.I look forward

  • Melinda
    2018-12-11 18:05

    Another brilliant historical tome from this author. Filled with details, characters, realism, fiction and supposition - beautifully woven together to form this saga. Well done.

  • Diana
    2018-12-02 00:03

    Cornwell is a master of historical research, and always finds a compelling point of view to illuminate the past. Unfortunately, Stonehenge seems more generic than inspired, and I've been trying to analyze why that is so. I loved Agincourt and his Arthur trilogy, which both kept me turning the pages, but I won't be finishing this one.I enjoyed skipping ahead to the end of the book and reading Cornwell's notes on his Stonehenge research, which I found far more interesting, particularly his speculative but supported insight that the major construction was completed within a lifetime, probably under the direction of one or very few people. I think as a writer he was dominated by three problems:1) The mentality of our more distant ancestors is difficult to penetrate, and even more difficult to represent in anything like a modern novel. There's a reason that the novel, as an art form, arose at the same time as the European Enlightenment. That's worth a book in itself. In any case, although stories are as ancient as the hills (so to speak), they are a far cry from the requirements of the popular novel form, which depends a great deal on vivid individual personalities that speak for their times. I think that, with study and inspiration, one could touch the hard lives, oral culture, magical thinking, and tribal identities of earlier people (heck, go look at rural Afghanistan today), but they are not like the people of modern novels. I think that Cornwell has fallen too deeply into creating types instead of individuals, depending too much on the reader's interest in the construction of Stonehenge. Historical novels always require representative types of characters, but inspiration is required, too. The most interesting but also most enigmatic character is Camaban, the sorcerer, but he is external to much of the action, and too strange for this author to seriously entertain. I think that Cornwell has taken his fascination with Stonehenge and has challenged himself to write a book about it, but having set himself this project, it feels to me as if he is fleshing it out into a standard novel format, without passion or inspiration. 2) Too many points of view, diluted over many "types" who are generically intended to speak for their culture, reduce the reader's ability to connect with important characters.3) The main character is a weird, massive, strange, chthonic stone temple that stands in some relationship between the earth and the sun. I think Stonehenge would work better as a movie. I think that the visual, physical properties of the setting far outstrip the writer's ability to represent it, and the myriad characters of the book would succeed as primarily visual actors (in both senses of the word). Bernard, get crackin' on that screenplay!I think Peter Weir or Ridley Scott could direct. Or, preferably, a less renowned, up-and-coming director who I haven't heard of. This is a movie that won't need stars to succeed: the star is Stonehenge itself. It needs a superb cinematographer who "gets" the mystery and power in a big-screen way, an energetic, physical cast, and a director with a great love of setting and action scenes. But oh, Lord, save us from the shaky-cam, and let us return to clearly staged fights and battle scenes, and give us gore with a modicum of taste... sounds like a prayer, doesn't it?) Doesn't Britain have bronze-age re-enactors?

  • Magdalena
    2018-11-29 23:30

    Not Cornwell's best, but not a bad read at all, I quite enjoyed this book! It's a tale about three very different brothers and how their lives clash and join as one of the greatest wonders (IMHO) of England.I don't know a whole lot about this time period; only what I remember about high school lessons and tidbits included in general history books, but I get the feeling that there was a lot of research involved in writing this book. As always, Cornwell excels at painting a precise picture ('precise' being the key word, as I don't know how accurate it actually is) of the setting, the people, and the way of life and battle without boring with endless descriptions. At the end Historical Notes, Cornwell does state that all the characters and gods mentioned are fiction. But what fascinating fiction! I loved the different stories about Lahanna and Slaol (moon goddess and moon god, respectively), the different rites of manhood and of midsummer, and everything! ***semi-spoilers ahead***The characters are well thought out, with deep motivations and complex characteristics. The three brothers are the main characters throughout, and Cornwell does a fantastic job of making them grow and evolve. For one, you have the power-hungry, ruthless and violent spearman with fear of magic and of the gods, who will nevertheless challenge a goddess in order to earn fearsome reputation. He is unpredictable in his actions and his thoughts, thugh at times he seems to be a very straight-forward person. Another is the outcast cripple who evolves into a wise and determined sorcerer with no interest in people, who will commit everyone to his vision of what the gods demand. However, he feels deep attachment to a certain character and to an ideal and won't give up his attachment, even at the cost of his sanity. The other brother is a resourceful, peaceful man who yearns for a simple life with the woman he loves, but is constantly dragged around, following orders from the gods and from anyone, really. He tries to prove his authority but is constantly betrayed by his emotions, his willingness to do good, and his regret of the past. In the end, however, he is the one who is able to maintain his balance in the world.The temple is the main plot in this story, but there is so much going on between fighting tribes, alliances, treason, sacrifices, slaughter, deaths, births, rites, love, etc, that it doesn't become the focus until the last third of the book (more or less). And when it does, it's majestic. What I didn't like was parts of the narrative, which made me feel like reading a children's book in the way that absolutely everything is explained. Maybe this is what makes Stonehenge such a quick, easy read. There is no need to think about what's going on, what's motivating a character, what's a character thinking, what's happening elsewhere, because Cornwell lays it out so bluntly and in-your-face. There's no guesswork, no loose ends, and it's all too tidy. Rest assured, all your questions will be answered sooner or later in the story. (Usually sooner.)So, this is a great book set in a time period that doesn't get much attention (at least in my world...). It's different, it's quick, it's light, and very enjoyable. Recommended.

  • Linda
    2018-12-07 19:12

    I love Cornwell's series on the beginnings of England so I thought I would really like this. I didn't.I think the problem was that I just couldn't picture the events or people. I have a pretty good idea 0f the types of clothes people wore in the 1000s but in BCE I lose it a little. Every time I tried to picture the entire village, I found I couldn't. I understand and can picture the early folks in their blue clay, but only the priests (who did paint themselves up) were "real" to me. Also the length of time in the story was confusing. First Saban's son is little, then he's ready for love. It was confusing to me also how time passed in relation to Saban. When we first meet him he's 11 or 12, then later, after he has gone through several adventures which should have taken a while, he's said to be 15. I didn't follow.But the story is interesting and not only for the erection of Stonehenge. Three brothers, Lengar, Camaban and Saban, display the three basic social statuses for Bronze Age people. Lengar, the oldest, is a warrior and a tyrant who wants only his own glory and is willing to grab it at the expense of his father's life. Camaban was born with a club foot and thrown out of the village and tribe. Saban is the favorite of his father and correctly learns all the lessons, etc.Camaban (perhaps taken from Caliban in Shakespeare?) becomes a sorcerer by tracking down all those said to have mysterious powers, then returns to play a major part in the building of Stonehenge. He becomes more and more insane as the building continues.Saban has a craft. His father had always said that any villager who didn't work, didn't get fed. He included his sons. So Saban learned to build, with wood and with stone. He becomes the builder of Stonehenge.Most of all, I enjoyed the theory of how Stonehenge was built. Cornwell imagines the earlier, smaller stones to have been brought from Wales on "boats" and chooses a different water route than is usually mentioned. (I understand that sometimes history has to be bent so that we moderns understand it, but I really don't think Bronze Age people knew how to count - especially up to 40!) The extreme difficulty and physicality of the job are incredible. Like the pyramids, it seems so unlikely to have been built at the time it was it's overwhelming.I do wish that Cornwell had played down the characters a little and built up the task itself. I felt the story should be about the structure more than the people. Cornwell mentions that sanding down the sides of the stones took an immense amount of time, but before you know it, all but the last few lintels are left to raise. It would have been more interesting to me to slowly follow the progress.It's worth a read, but I didn't like it as much as I've like other Cornwell.

  • Hollie
    2018-11-13 20:13

    Big fan of Bernard Cornwell and this book was super descriptive, putting the reader in the setting. Only thing for me was the extreme descriptions of logistics for the stones. I read the entire book as it did keep my attention (which is not an easy thing to do) but it felt like a “Man’s-Man” read. Perhaps I’m just sappy :-)I do recommend regardless of my mechanical sense!!

  • Timóteo
    2018-11-25 16:10

    Para quem já conhece e gosta de Bernard Cornwell, Stonehenge é um livro no mínimo diferente.Em alguns momentos eu confesso que eu esqueci que estava lendo um livro do Cornwell. Tem um pace muito mais lento do que os outros que eu já li dele (mas volta e meia o plot tem seus sprints também) e a ambientação é totalmente diferente dos demais livros. O fato de ele escrever em uma época de onde praticamente não restam registros históricos muito precisos permitiu a ele criar uma sociedade com costumes e crenças únicos e que é completamente plausível. Você consegue imaginar que uma aldeia como Ratharryn tenha realmente existido em 2000 a.C.Batalhas? Esquece. Praticamente não existem nesse livro. As poucas que existem são bem feitas, como de é de se esperar, mas não são o foco da história.Sobre os personagens, aqui sim eu vi muito do Cornwell. Na verdade, aqui eu vi muito de As Crônicas de Artur. Com praticamente todos os personagens desse livro foi possível fazer uma certa analogia com alguém de Artur. Por exemplo, nosso protagonista Saban é facilmente relacionável com um mix entre Artur e Derfel. Nosso outro protagonista, Camaban, um mix entre Merlin e Nimue. Não são exatamente os mesmos personagens, é importante ressaltar, mas é como se fosse a mesma semente crescendo em solos diferentes, ou a mesma criança, só que criada em ambientes diferentes. Esse é um dos primeiros livros que Cornwell escreveu após Artur, então acho que talvez esses personagens ainda estivessem frescos na cabeça dele.Por fim, foi um livro que eu gostei bastante de ler, mas admito que é realmente um ponto fora da curva na bibliografia do Cornwell.

  • Joseph Finley
    2018-11-29 18:15

    The novel takes place around 2000 B.C. and most of the story events surround the construction of Stonehenge. In this sense, it was a lot like The Pillars of the Earth – except with Bronze Age characters. And like The Pillars of the Earth, the characters drive this story, which concerns the three sons of Hengall, a tribal chieftain. Lengar, the eldest son, is a ruthless warrior who wants to bring war against the tribe’s enemies. Camaban, the middle son, is an outcast and a sorcerer who speaks to the gods and is determined to build a temple that will change the world. While Saban, the youngest son and the story’s protagonist, longs for peace. After Lengar kills his father to become chief of the tribe, a tale of jealousy, betrayal, and murder ensues. Camaban believes that only the construction of a great temple to the sun god can save the land, and he’s convinced that Saban must build it. Over time, the brothers encounter two strong female characters, Derrewyn and Aurenna, whose actions, much like those of Nimue and Guinevere in The Warlord Chronicles, will determine the fate of men. The drama plays out amid the madness of primitive religion, with its sex rites and human sacrifice. The latter is quite disturbing, both to the reader and to Saban, but this theme of violence in the name of religion is one of the book’s most thought-provoking elements. While I prefer Cornwell’s novels set in the Middle Ages, I am glad I ventured back a few thousand years and explored Stonehenge.

  • Molly
    2018-11-19 21:23

    Stonehenge did not really benefit from Cornwell's simplicity of style. I feel that something as grandiose and as epic as Stonehenge deserves something more rich and toned than what this novel offers. The attempt, however, was commendable - it must be quite challenging to craft a tale explaining one of the great mysteries of history. The tale centers around 3 brothers, the sons of the chief of Ratharryn. The eldest is violent and warlike, the middle malformed and stuttering, considered a fool by all, and the youngest a reluctant warrior and seeming pawn of fate. The interplay of these 3 individuals with each other, with rival tribes, and with the gods shape the story of how the great temple was built. I cannot say that I did not like this book; it was based on a good idea. I cannot say, however, that I really loved it either. It was graphic in its depiction of a brutal society, which provided context for the story, but also frequently made me want to vomit. Every one of the characters was unlikeable, except perhaps a few minor characters, most of whom meet grim and bloody ends, which makes it very hard to want to become involved in the novel. Even the characters that start out clever or sympathetic degenrate into shrieking savages. Which could be the point of the book - that obsession with power and with the gods corrupts even the purest - but doesn't make for engaging reading.

  • Amy Trent
    2018-11-28 20:04

    I read two other Bernard Cornwell books before and really didn’t think much of them, but I do in general like historical fictions and having been to Stonehenge numerous times I just had to read this. I’m glad I did. It’s certainly superior to the other books I read by him (I won’t mention the names). I vied between 3 and 4 stars for a while but in the end went for three due to it being a bit predictable and just not getting me excited or really into the characters. Maybe I’m just not a huge Cornwell fan. It was almost there, and at times I really got into it but there’s something about his writing that is just not my cup of tea, maybe it’s because having read those two other ones by him and seeing what happened in them the minute I came across a ‘strongish’ female character that I liked in this I said to myself ‘Hmm, how long until he has her getting raped and/or abused like in those other two books’ ... and sure enough shortly later she got raped and abused ... I just had to sigh at the predictability. I’m not opposed to books that have rape in them by any means by the way ... I’m opposed to predictability. But that aspect aside I did enjoy the book and would recommend (3 stars from me is a very good rating) especially if you haven’t read any other books by him.

  • Meghan
    2018-12-07 22:06

    This was the first book I've read by Bernard Cornwell and I was very pleased with his writing :). It was recommended to me by a friend, it is one of her favorites. I can see why. If you are a fan of historical fiction at all, I think you should probably read this. The story, obviously, is a fictional story about the creation of Stonehenge. I'll admit, I didn't expect great things from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. The amount of depth and detail put into this book is really quite amazing. Every character in this story has so much work put into it. Sometimes you can't tell if they are insane or insanely intelligent. I loved Saban right from the beginning to end. I also thought I was going to like Camaban, but that changed throughout the story. The characters grow and change so much throughout the book. I couldn't bring myself it like any of the female characters in this story, but I don't know that we are supposed to like them. Their roles are ever changing. Bernard made it so easy to immerse yourself in this fictional past that I could easily believe all of it was true. This is indeed a great book that I would definitely recommend. I'm glad my friend shared it with me :) I think I will need to read some more books by Cornwell in the future.

  • Heather
    2018-11-18 20:15

    I didn't connect with the female characters; it felt like a book written by 'a man'. Be forewarned, there is much violence, rape, ritual child and girl murder, slavery, more rape and murder,.. Bronze Age life may have been that brutal, but I want a more hopeful story for a fiction read. The building of Stonehenge now seems like a stupid macho idea, and that a truly great society would do better to eschew expensive monuments and plant enough crops to feed their people. The tale portrays religious people as idiots, and skeptics as wise. On the plus side, it alternated 50/50 between factoids on building the temple and the personal drama, a good balance for me. The writing flowed well, and archeological evidence was woven smoothly into the narrative. The author excels at his craft, but it's not my type.spoiler: another downer: The leader who insisted on the temple's creation never lifted an axe himself nor had any engineering skills. He browbeat others to do the work and even tried to burn alive all the slaves who did build it. ick.