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Conscience of the King Paperback – Apr 1 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (April 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304366463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304366460
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #916,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Prairie Pal TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Jan. 8 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was a lad in high school and university I was a big fan of Alfred Duggan whose approach to historical fiction seemed to me to be unique -- to take an interesting episode or era and portray it from the viewpoint of someone just a little off centre-stage: a foot-soldier, a second-class knight or that member of the Second Triumvirate whose name nobody can remember. This technique produced less heroic sagas but they were more interesting and truer to fact. I am delighted to see that his work is now being published again in KIndle form.

In "Conscience of the King" Duggan chooses as his protagonist -- he is certainly no hero -- a renegade Romano-Briton at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions and the fall of civlization in the 400s. He follows him from the very minor court of one of the last of the Roman officials to the armies of Aurelius Ambrosius and the comitatus of a German princeling. This is the best fictional account of how a sophisticated culture is broken slowly and how it is transformed into a barbarian frontier without money, architecture, comfort or security. If I were still teaching medieval history I would assign it to my classes who would get a great introduction to the early days of the Dark Ages. It is also written with a sly wit and a great eye for minor characters.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A quietly sly condemnation of the mentality needed to become a king. He essentially needs to have a malleable conscience in order to live with the opportunistic double dealing and strategy twists to survive in the image manufacturing game of becoming accepted as king.

Look at the almost completely dark age between the leaving of the Romans and the consolidation of the English under kings to resist anarchy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
16 of 18 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.
5 of 5 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.
7 of 9 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.
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm still reading, but so far, as always ... Oct. 8 2014
By Penny Irish-Hosler - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I'm still reading, but so far, as always, I'm impressed w/Duggan's knowledge and sardonic portrayal of characters in the past.

Delivery was punctual, and condition was as advertised.
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!

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