A novel by Bernard Cornwell that follows the enormous success of his Arthurian trilogy (The Winter King, Enemy of God, and Excalibur) tells the tale of three brothers and of their rivalry that creates the great temple.
One summer’s day, a stranger carrying great wealth in gold comes to the settlement of Ratharryn. He dies in the old temple. The people assume that the gold is a gift from the gods. But the mysterious treasure causes great dissension, both without from tribal rivalry, and within.
The three sons of Ratharryn’s chief each perceive the great gift in a different way. The eldest, Lengar, the warrior, harnesses his murderous ambition to be a ruler and take great power for his tribe. Camaban, the second and an outcast from the tribe, becomes a great visionary and feared wise man, and it is his vision that will force the youngest brother, Saban, to create the great temple on the green hill where the gods will appear on earth.
It is Saban who is the builder, the leader and the man of peace. It is his love for a sorceress whose powers rival those of Camaban and for Aurenna, the sun bride whose destiny is to die for the gods, that finally brings the rivalries of the brothers to a head. But it is also his skills that will build the vast temple, a place for the gods certainly but also a place that will confirm for ever the supreme power of the tribe that built it. And in the end, when the temple is complete, Saban must choose between the gods and his family.
Stonehenge is Britain’s greatest prehistoric monument, a symbol of history; a building, created 4 millenia ago, which still provokes awe and mystery. Stonehenge: A Novel of 2000 BC is first and foremost a great historical novel. Bernard Cornwell is well known and admired for the realism and imagination with which he brings an earlier world to life. And here he uses all these skills to create the world of primitive Britain and to solve the mysteries of who built Stonehenge and why.
‘A circle of chalk, a ring of stone, and a house of arches to call the far gods home’
About the author
Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as Producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television’s Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.
Prolific British author Cornwell is best known for his Napoleonic warfare adventure series with Captain Richard Sharpe, and for the Starbuck Chronicles, about the American Civil War. Now he imaginatively unlocks the mystery of Stonehenge's creation in 2000 B.C., at the beginning of Britain's Bronze Age. This wild tale, rich with sorcery, pagan ritual, greed and intrigue, is Cornwell's most ambitious fiction yet. It features three brothers linked by blood but divided by madness, jealousy and lust for power. Lengar, the eldest, murders his own father to become the chief of his tribe. As a warrior and tyrant, his brutality is second only to that of his crippled brother, Camaban, a sorcerer ruthlessly determined to have a massive stone temple erected to honor his authority. The youngest sibling, Saban, will ultimately construct the temple, but not until he has endured torture, slavery and betrayal. The story covers nearly 20 years as the brothers and the people of Ratharryn struggle to survive as a tribe, fighting harsh weather and starvation, warring with other tribes and trying to appease their angry gods. It is Camaban's idea to build Stonehenge as a temple to create balance between the moon god and the sun god, to eliminate winter and force a change in the circle of life. Murder, magic and misery prevail, and there is no shortage of victims or bloodshed. Cornwell's portrayal of life and death in ancient Britain is graphic, gritty and riveting. However, his detailed descriptions of how Stonehenge was constructed utilizing primitive engineering are the real strength of this book. Although its length may daunt some readers, this ambitious and intriguing saga will be a hit with lovers of ancient history who want to decipher the mysteries of a vanished world.