Monday, July 03, 2017

"Dunstan" - a review...

Latest from one of my favourite authors... currently on holiday so this was devoured in a little over a day while lying on a sunbed...

After what I thought was an unconvincing War of the Roses trilogy... don't get me wrong I read the whole that trilogy, but it paled in comparison to the Ghenghis books...  this one is in a different league and in my view a huge return to form..

So this a single book (no series) charting the (largely) imagined life of Dunstan, the builder of Glastonbury and Canterbury cathedrals, mathematician, metal worker, advisor to Kings (seven in all), Royal Treasurer and senior churchman in the period from Athelstan (Alfred's grandson) to Ethelred (the Unready)...

Anyone who's read their history (or Bernard Cornwell) will know this was a tumultuous period in British history (British, since at the time nominally Scotland and Wales were part of the Kingdom even if Ireland was not)... regular viking incursions had to be beaten off, pitched battles, alliances and betrayals, and the passing of seven kings, all of which Dunstan witnesses and describes in his own particular style (irrascible just about hits the nail on the head I think )...

He describes life in the early middle ages, he describes the kings and their queens (most of the Queens he dislikes as he has a slightly misogynistic streak), and he describes his work as Royal Treasurer, and builder/achitect...

Absolutely wondeful book...  wholeheartedly recommended...  Steve the Wargamer rates it 10 out 10


  1. I really like Conn Iggulden, although not as convincing as Cornwell, he does write a good tale. Like you the WOr trilogy was disappointing. I thought iot started well, the by the third book I think he lost interest and hurried it to an end. I can only assume he wanted to abridge the final years of Edward, but I thought his treatment of Richard was very poor. In fact he is almost a secondary character. As for Dunstan, well I found the opposite to your review, and for the first time have put the book to one side, unfinished. Maybe with your review I will give it another go. Great review by the way.

    1. Cheers Robbie... I just got the impression Conn really connected with this bloke... You can tell he liked him and I think it makes for a more gripping story...

  2. After tryinh a couple of his wars of the Roses volumes-I won't be going near his tripe again (was that a typo for type or just a tripo!)
    Likewise I tried Cornwells Dark ages stuff- again two volumes and couldn't be bothered with the cardboard cut out "Sharpes Vikings". Mind you Cornwell CAN write unlike Iggulden

    1. LOL... Lunchtime beer off, Andy?? They're both good but I think Iggulden shades it.. Cornwell is getting a little lazy/repetitive with his endless lost kingdom series.. this is still a 10 out of 10'er... Try it, you never know.... :-)