From Publishers Weekly
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. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
Cornwell is best known for his novels about modern military heroes stories that make for nearly perfect audiobook listening. Stonehenge is something very different a purely fictional speculation about the origins of England's most famous ancient stone monument. Nevertheless, it, too, is engrossing. Set so far in the past that even the Druids would have considered its time period ancient, this tale imposes a demanding learning curve on listeners. Every character and place has an unfamiliar name, but eventually they seem natural, and the story is not difficult to follow. Its speculations on the construction of Stonehenge are fascinating, but even more fascinating is its depiction of the power struggle among three very different brothers competing for control of their tribe. This work is probably easier to follow in print than on tape; however, Sean Barrett's powerful reading brings the story alive in ways not possible on mere paper. Recommended for all audio collections. R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.