By Bernard Cornwell
(HarperCollins Publishers, Hardcover, 9780060197001, 434pp.)
Publication Date: June 2000
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Four thousand years ago, a stranger's death at the Old Temple of Ratharryn-and his ominous "gift" of gold-precipitates the building of what for centuries to come will be known as one of mankind's most singular and remarkable achievements. Bernard Cornwell's epic novel Stonehenge catapults us into a powerful and vibrant world of ritual and sacrifice at once timeless and wholly original-a tale of patricide, betrayal, and murder; of bloody brotherly rivalry: and of the never-ending quest for power, wealth, and spiritual fulfillment.
Three brothers-deadly rivals-are uneasily united in their quest to create a temple to their gods. There is Lengar, the eldest, a ruthless warrior intent on replacing his father as chief of the tribe of Ratharryn; Camaban, his bastard brother, a sorcerer whose religious fervor inspires the plan for Stonehenge; and Saban, the youngest, through whose expertise the temple will finally be completed. Divided by blood but united-precariously-by a shared vision, the brothers begin erecting their mighty ring of granite, aligning towering stones to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and raising arches to appease and unite their gods. Caught between the zealousness of his ambitious brothers, Saban becomes the true leader of his people, a peacemaker who will live to see the temple built in the name of salvation and regeneration.
Bernard Cornwell, long admired for his rousing narrative and meticulous historical imaginings, has here delivered his masterpiece, the most compelling and powerful human drama of its kind since Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and Edward Rutherford's Sarum. His re-creation of civilization as it might have been in 2000 B.C. at once amplifies the mystery of his subject and makes the world of Stonehenge come alive as never before.