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Conscience Of The King [Paperback]

Alfred Duggan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 4 2005 Phoenix Press
Cerdic Elesing, King of Wessex and ancestor of all subsequent British monarchs, narrates in this fictional biography how he murdered, cheated, looted and lied his way to the great position he ultimately held - and in the process served with the great Roman leader Ambrosius and the Saxon warlord Aella, and was the foe Arthur defeated at Mount Badon.

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About the Author

Alfred Duggan was born in Argentina in 1903. He was educated at Eton College and Oxford. He worked for the British Natural History Museum collecting specimens and travelled extensively pursuing his job for the museum. From 1938-1941, when he was discharged as medically unfit, he served in the London Irish Rifles and saw active service in Norway. His first book was published in 1950.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
This novel is the "autobiography" of Cerdic, founder of the kingdom of Wessex, root of the British royal family tree. The interesting thing about the conscience of the king is that he has none. He starts as a Roman, with a desire for absolute power and no scruples, and ends up with his own small kingdom. I'm very fond of Alfred Duggan's work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want a large kingdom, just an absolute one. June 5 2004
By William S. Kalenborn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel is the "autobiography" of Cerdic, founder of the kingdom of Wessex, root of the British royal family tree. The interesting thing about the conscience of the king is that he has none. He starts as a Roman, with a desire for absolute power and no scruples, and ends up with his own small kingdom. I'm very fond of Alfred Duggan's work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of a fascinating, wicked man, in a wicked time. Dec 22 2009
By WeHaveSixFeet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Alfred Duggan's CONSCIENCE OF THE KING is a marvelous tale of the founding ruler of Wessex, the kingdom of the West Saxons. It's marvelous because he is a wicked man, a backstabber and a traitor. And yet you find yourself rooting for him, even when Artorius shows up trying to save Britain for the British. Such is the power of a narrator to win you over to his side no matter how wrong that side is.

Like the best of historical novels, it's a visit to another time and other ways of thinking. Cerdic is born around 500 AD, the same time more or less as THE CIRCLE CAST. He's born a Roman but of Saxon descent, and his journey takes him from Roman Britain to Saxon Britain to Saxony and back. It's the Dark Ages of Britain, when Roman civilization is collapsing without any Saxons civilized enough to take it over. Alfred Duggan captures the nostalgia his hero feels for the comforts of civilization even as he's destroying it for his own reasons.

CONSCIENCE OF THE KING is not a passionate book; Duggan's hero is a conniver who barely feels much sentiment for his own son, and doesn't regret his murders. But it is a fascinating book. I'm looking forward to his other two Saxon novels, THE KING OF ATHELNEY, about Alfred the Great, and THE CUNNING OF THE DOVE. He really brings another time and place to life, and with tremendous historical accuracy. It is hard to find a movie that does that.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent page-turner Sept. 11 2006
By Book Nut - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a fantastic read. Despite being several decades old, the writing style is fresh, the plot rivetting, the characters, intriguing.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Duggan Jan. 27 2013
By vishniac - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The king with NO conscience whatsoever - but who loves his son- i perfectly drawn. I would not like to have him as a neighbor tho!
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Start - "iffy" ending Nov. 21 2006
By S. E. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book begins with one exciting turn after another. The author has a flowing style that draws you from page to page - excellent character development, place description and particularly armor and battle details. About half way through the book, it began to lag. By the time I reached the supposed account of the Battle of Mt. Badon with Arthur, I was bored and skimming along for the next bit of excitement. I was happy to see it end yet unhappy with the nearly non-existent connection between the main character and the "entire royal line to present day" as I believe is the notion mentioned. I would have cut the number of stars to only 2 had I not simply liked the authors style - that gives him the extra star. The topic is intereting and he definately understood the historical details of the time period and could relate them quite vividly. There just wasn't enough excitement near the mid-point, the possible connection to Arthur was not as thrilling as I hoped, and again the connection to the present day royal line is mentioned - just - but not well connected - even in theory.

I would recommend Bernard Cornwell and Laurence J. Brown for battle depiction, excitement and character development. I'd also recommend Parke Godwin - all rate above this author based on this particular book.
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