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Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior king, saved the last lights of Western civilization when the barbarian darkness descended on Britain The man behind the myth of King Arthur is brought to life The Roman legions had left Britain undefended from her enemies Now Arthur and his band of Companion warriors must protect his people Enemies surround Britain Everywhere the Barbarians press in the Scots from Hibernia harry the western coasts and make their settlements in the very shadow of Yr Widdfa o Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior king, saved the last lights of Western civilization when the barbarian darkness descended on Britain The man behind the myth of King Arthur is brought to life The Roman legions had left Britain undefended from her enemies Now Arthur and his band of Companion warriors must protect his people Enemies surround Britain Everywhere the Barbarians press in the Scots from Hibernia harry the western coasts and make their settlements in the very shadow of Yr Widdfa of the Snows the Picts with their javelins come leaping over the Wall northward and eastward the war boats of the Sea Wolves come creeping in along the estuaries, near and nearer to the heart of our land The best defense is offense With three hundred men properly mounted, I believe that I can thrust back the Barbarians at least for a while, I said at last As for saving Britain I have seen the wild geese flighting this autumn, and who can turn them back It isthan a hundred years that we have been struggling to stem this Saxon flighting,than thirty since the last Roman troops left Britain How much longer, do you think, before the darkness closes over us It was a thing that I would not have said to any man save Ambrosius.And he answered me as I do not think he would have answered any other man God knows If your work and mine be well wrought, maybe another hundred years Plans and tacticsIt was Ambrosius who broke the silence, saying thoughtfully, Three hundred men and horses, together with spare mounts What of baggage As little as may be We cannot be tied down to a string of lumbering wagons, we must be free flying as a skein of wildfowl A few fast mule carts for the field forge and heavy gear, two to three score pack beasts with their drivers those must be fighting men too, when need arises, and serve as grooms and cooks in camp The younger among us to act as armor bearers for their seniors And for the rest, we must carry our own gear as far as may be, and live on the country That may not make you beloved of the country on which you live If men would keep the roofs on their barns, they must pay with some of the grain in them, I said It was the first of many times that I was to say much the same thing Traveling to Spain Artos buys great war horses who will father the steeds of his cavalryIt was on the third day that, as I pushed my way through the crowd at the far end of the sale ground, with Flavian beside me, I found the best horse that I had seen yet I suppose he had been brought in late, when the best of the others were gone He was a full black, black as a rook s wing There arebad horses among the black than any other color, but a good black is own brother to Bucephalus This was a good black, standing a clear sixteen hands at the shoulder, with a good broad head and high crest, power in every line of him, and fire in his heart and loins to beget some of his own kind But as I stopped to examine himclosely, I saw his eyes I would have turned away, but the man in charge of him, a bowlegged individual with small twinkling eyes and a lipless gash for a mouth, stayed me with a touch on my arm You ll not see a better horse than this in Narbo Martius this year, my lord Hai Bedwyr, the chieftain would see the Black One s paces, that he may judge of his mettle, said the dealer, and I did not contradict him because, of all foolish reasons, I wanted to see how this young man with the surprising Celtic name handled such a horse.The horse was of course already bitted and bridled, but not saddled The boy swept me a swift low bow, and turning, set his hands on the great brute s shoulders, and next instant was astride the glossy back, and catching the reins out of the dealer s hands as the great brute began to dance and snort and sidle, swung him out onto the open trampled turf Watching him as he put the Black One through his paces, I found myself judging the rider s mettle as well as the horse s, noting how lightly he handled the savage wolf bit, while never for one instant losing the control and the way the Black One himself, who I was very sure would have been a plunging fury with almost any other man on his back, not only answered to his authority but seemed to enter into the thing with him as they wheeled and circled and changed paces, and came sweeping in a cloud of dust around the full circle of the open space so that when at last they came to a trampling halt before me, I could have sworn that the horse, as well as the man, was laughing The Saxons advance into a battle fieldFar along our own line I heard the shout of command, and our spearmen, yelping their own short sharp battle cry, were running forward down the hill The few Saxon archers on the flank, unable to see where our bowmen loosed from under cover, turned their own short deadly arrows against the spears and the moment had come to slip the hounds Sound me the charge The man beside me set the great horn to his lips, and winded the one long blast that set the echoes flying like startled birds all up and down the valley From away to the left, almost in the same instant, Bedwyr s trumpeter took up the note a great shout rose from our men, and both cavalry wings broke forward, the spears that had been resting upright swinging down as one to the horizontal I crouched low into the saddle, feet braced into my stirrups against the coming shock, feeling through every fiber of my being the balance of the leveled spear against palm and fingers, hearing the flying thunder of the squadron s hooves behind me.We took them on both flanks, and at the full gallop.They had no chance to form the shield wall for the first moments of impact it was not battle as I counted battle, but sheer red butchery But whatever evil may be cried against the Sea Wolves, no man ever yet called their courage in question Somehow they closed and steadied their ranks they fought like heroes their archers stood like rocks though their numbers grew steadily fewer under dark hail of the long British war shafts, and loosed their own arrows without pause into our ranks The house carls of the center held us with spear and seax long after the light throwing axes were spent their naked and stained berserkers flung themselves upon our very spearpoints to dirk our horses from underneath Afterward, I was glad that the thing had after all been a battle and not a massacre At the time I saw all things through a crimson haze, and felt very little.We all know the sad end of Arthur Artos He gave Britain a short time of civilized life where people still lived in peace, enough time for the poets and harpers to put all his deeds into song for us to rememberEnjoy Reread for my dissertation and all thebittersweet this time because I knew how everything would play out It s beautifully written, and it pretty much exemplifies Rosemary Sutcliff s usual shtick about male friendships and a sepulchral voice that sounds like my dissertation supervisor whispers the words homosocial bonds , to the point where there is actually an explicitly gay couple in the story, and Arthur and Bedwyr s relationship is deep and intense perhaps not sexual, but t Reread for my dissertation and all thebittersweet this time because I knew how everything would play out It s beautifully written, and it pretty much exemplifies Rosemary Sutcliff s usual shtick about male friendships and a sepulchral voice that sounds like my dissertation supervisor whispers the words homosocial bonds , to the point where there is actually an explicitly gay couple in the story, and Arthur and Bedwyr s relationship is deep and intense perhaps not sexual, but the subtext is there.Sutcliff handles Guinevere well, too, and I have a lot of love for her version of Gwalchmai, too But of course for my dissertation I was looking at Cei a big, larger than life figure who drinks and womanises and is always, always faithful to Arthur, like a big faithful hound Some of his role from the Cymric stories seems to go to Bedwyr, complete with the betrayal part in Culhwch and Olwen , Cei and Arthur fall out, and that event is referenced in some of the other Cymric material Interesting that I d say this is the closest to a Celtic Cei I ve read anywhere outside the Cymric stories, but nonetheless Sutcliff didn t find him interesting enough to dothan reference him as a faithful hound type character without much depth whenever she needed him.The end is a tragedy, as it should be, with all the dignity Arthur deserves I cried Arthur struggles to save BritainReview of Kindle editionPublication date May 1, 2008Publisher Chicago Review PressLanguage EnglishASIN B008NIIA6M514 pagesThis is a realistic, believable retelling of the Arthur legend as historical fiction set in a time after the Romans left Britain and the tribes again fragmented with no central unifying authority to lead them As Artos the Bear Arthur becomes Count of Britain, the tribes are beset with invasion by the Saxons and raids by the Scots and Pic Arthur struggles to save BritainReview of Kindle editionPublication date May 1, 2008Publisher Chicago Review PressLanguage EnglishASIN B008NIIA6M514 pagesThis is a realistic, believable retelling of the Arthur legend as historical fiction set in a time after the Romans left Britain and the tribes again fragmented with no central unifying authority to lead them As Artos the Bear Arthur becomes Count of Britain, the tribes are beset with invasion by the Saxons and raids by the Scots and Picts Artos struggles to unify Britain and save the tribes from themselves while fighting off invaders on every hand A magnificent warrior, general and leader, he must contend not only with the Britons and the invaders but with himself.Rosemary Sutcliff was a master of the historical novel and of describing a distant time and place in such a way as to take a reader there with her As much as I admire her great talent for descriptive writing it may be that she has overdone it a little in this novel It might be well if the story moved just a little faster It would also be better if there were fewer hints of real power in pagan gods and religion Of course the people of that age and place believed in those gods and that is rightly part of the story However, imbuing those gods and religion with the possibility of actual power beyond the imaginations and delusions of the believers does not improve the story Even so, this is one of the great novels of Arthur and early Britain I had not heard of this work or of Rosemary Sutcliff until I found this at a bargain charity shop, and I already had my favourite Arthurian novels and series Nancy McKenzie s Guinevere books, the Mists of Avalon, Mary Stewart , and Benard Cronwell.Written in a style that needs concentration and focus to absorb it is nonetheless rewarding and enriching as it places Arthur firmly in the Romano Celtic tradition dispensing with the anachronistic medieval knight and chivalry affair.Sutcliff did her I had not heard of this work or of Rosemary Sutcliff until I found this at a bargain charity shop, and I already had my favourite Arthurian novels and series Nancy McKenzie s Guinevere books, the Mists of Avalon, Mary Stewart , and Benard Cronwell.Written in a style that needs concentration and focus to absorb it is nonetheless rewarding and enriching as it places Arthur firmly in the Romano Celtic tradition dispensing with the anachronistic medieval knight and chivalry affair.Sutcliff did her research of 4th century Britain well as we read of Artos and his companions No Knights of the Round Table travelling across Britain to keep the Saxon invaders and the raiding Picts and Scots out An interesting part here comes from Artos engagement with the Little Dark People, a fascinating race of the original pre Celtic inhabitants of Britain , skilled in herblore and mysticism , and fighting for survival against stronger tribes, they do not act aggressively to other people if unprovoked but once they are harmed they become fatal and implacable enemies Their girls are beautiful but age quicklyTheir is no Merlin here, no Grail Quest, Lancelot is absent but his character is filled in with Arthur s close friend and comrade Bedwyr and here s were the adultery committed with Arthur s Caledonian queen Guinemara comes in.Very vivid and poetic description of 4th century Britain Gritty realistic war scenes, strong sense of realism when confronted with love, hate and betrayal Masterful description of how Artos is drugged and deceived into sexual intercourse with his half sister Ygerna clealry the one we know in most tales as Morgause or Morgana and the later arrival in his life of the result of that union and his doom, Medraut, a youth brought up on hatred.Central to the novel is the struggle by Artos to keep Romano British civilization alive against the ever encroaching and belligerent Saxon aggressor, Definitely a recommended part of your Arthurian experience influenced the writings of Jack Whyte and the 2004 KInng Arthur film with Kiera Knightley and Clive Owen An excellent read if you like historical novels This is a fascinating long novel about the legendary King Arthur The author purports to tell this version of the Arthurian legend as the true record of Arthur or Artos , a story of the real King Arthur or Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior king Arthur is seen here as brave and strong in battle in battle but a shrewd and wise king as a ruler He is also shown as a warm and tender lover but tragically tormented in love Rosemary Sutcliff is a An excellent read if you like historical novels This is a fascinating long novel about the legendary King Arthur The author purports to tell this version of the Arthurian legend as the true record of Arthur or Artos , a story of the real King Arthur or Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior king Arthur is seen here as brave and strong in battle in battle but a shrewd and wise king as a ruler He is also shown as a warm and tender lover but tragically tormented in love Rosemary Sutcliff is a brilliant writer when dealing with historical fiction Her novels about Roman Britain are really well worth reading too I didn t think I was going to like Sword at Sunset as much as I typically like Rosemary Sutcliff s books, even though it was surely combining two of my favourite things Sutcliff s writing and realism, and Arthurian myth It began slowly, I think, and it was a surprising change of tone for Sutcliff her books are mainly written for children of any age , but this book had decidedly adult themes, with the incest andexplicit references to sexuality than I d expected It s also unusual f I didn t think I was going to like Sword at Sunset as much as I typically like Rosemary Sutcliff s books, even though it was surely combining two of my favourite things Sutcliff s writing and realism, and Arthurian myth It began slowly, I think, and it was a surprising change of tone for Sutcliff her books are mainly written for children of any age , but this book had decidedly adult themes, with the incest andexplicit references to sexuality than I d expected It s also unusual for her in that it s written in first person, and narrated by Arthur himself.It also, to my surprise, had a couple of LGBT themes a gay couple among Arthur s men, to begin with, and then the relationship between himself and Bedwyr There s no Lancelot here, and Bedwyr takes that place in many ways, but withof a shown relationship than I ve ever found typical between Arthur and Lancelot It brought tears to my eyes several times, especially this moment I could have cried out to him, as Jonathan to David, by the forbidden love names that are not used between men I could have flung my arms around his shoulders There s nothing explicit about them, at all, but their bond has a profoundness about it, even after hurt and betrayal, that defies easy categorisation.The relationship between Arthur and Guinevere is also an interesting one, and again one that makes no shortcuts using the existing myth, but builds up something believable alone His relationship with her, the odd barriers between them, and the attempts to reach each other, and their love that isn t quite enough to bridge that gap It s all believable.The whole book takes some pains to be believable, emotionally, and historically The themes, characters, etc, all seem to have some explanations for how the story could develop later Bedwyr somewhat in the place that Lancelot takes later, Medraut almost exactly as he will be later, the moment in which Arthur realises how the badge he chooses for battle will be translated into that text which talks about him carrying the image of the Virgin Mary And they re all aware of how the stories will be magnified, too It s an interesting way to put it.Oh, and I forgot to mention it when I first wrote this review, but I was fascinated by Gwalchmai, despite his relatively minor role It s odd he isn t related to Arthur one of the constants of the Arthurian traditiongenerally , and though he is a fighter, his main role is that of surgeon He s also disabled I don t think I ve seen a portrayal of Gawain Gwalchmai quite like this anywhere else.It took me a while to get into Sword at Sunset, but it was worth trusting Rosemary Sutcliff and going with it This is very simply a wonderful book Rich in characterisation not only of Artos the Bear but also of his wonderful Companions.It is Artos, warrior, horseman, leader of men who gave rise to the laterromantic, sanitised depiction of King Arthur.We see a different side to Guenhemara, who he takes to wife.This is a gritty story, and for me aplausible story of the rise of Arthur and brings him to life on the pages It is a story that is vibrant and engrosing I know that this review will This is very simply a wonderful book Rich in characterisation not only of Artos the Bear but also of his wonderful Companions.It is Artos, warrior, horseman, leader of men who gave rise to the laterromantic, sanitised depiction of King Arthur.We see a different side to Guenhemara, who he takes to wife.This is a gritty story, and for me aplausible story of the rise of Arthur and brings him to life on the pages It is a story that is vibrant and engrosing I know that this review will in all probability be unable to do justice to just how very rewarding and enriching this book is.Many feelings come forth for the reader in this bloodthirsty and rousing story The dream that Artos had that early Britain would be united against her foes It is a story rich in paganism, pageantry and comradeship but it is also a story of treachery.This is a magnificent book.I didn t want it to end SWORD AT SUNSETI borrowed Sword at Sunset from my local library in my youth and thought it wonderful Many years later I found it in paperback and settled down with much anticipation to read it I put it down after half a chapter, unable to read further because of the densely packed lines, poor paper and blurry print It was a sore disappointment.Recently I saw it was available on Kindle and immediately bought it Once again I settled down to read it Again I put it down after one chapter This SWORD AT SUNSETI borrowed Sword at Sunset from my local library in my youth and thought it wonderful Many years later I found it in paperback and settled down with much anticipation to read it I put it down after half a chapter, unable to read further because of the densely packed lines, poor paper and blurry print It was a sore disappointment.Recently I saw it was available on Kindle and immediately bought it Once again I settled down to read it Again I put it down after one chapter This was for a different reason I was overwhelmed by the artistry and mastery of the writing I was caught and entranced, swept into a lost time and a tale which I knew would take me beyond myself and my world In that first chapter I knew I was in the company of a man with many strengths and many failings His destiny would forge him into a hero, a shining beacon for his people He would lead a doomed dream of defiance and hopeless hope.I gulped and started to read the rest of the book I could barely put it down.Rosemary Sutcliff has rewritten the epic of Arthur for the modern age She chose to place the novel in a time when a character such as Arthur may have lived, the century after the Romans left Britain when the scent and semblance of their power still lingered in towns and palaces and in the hearts and minds of a few Artos, the protagonist of Sword at Sunset, was one of the men who held fast to the dream of Rome Taking the novel out of the fanciful medieval setting enabled Sutcliff to bridge the gap between the man and the hero She was able to blend the epic with an intimately personal novel about a man whose dedication to a noble cause could only come at a terrible personal price.The plot of the novel is superb, the characters fascinating and beautifully realised I don t know how she was able to pack so much punch into every line Her descriptions of the country are wonderful, her insights into the hearts and minds of her characters humane and clear sighted She maintains a light but firm grip on a lengthy narrative which spans twenty years and a thousand miles Her descriptions of love, friendship and the terrors of battle are breathtaking I know of no other novel which captivates me so much that I believe I am walking in the world it describes It is a masterpiece {Download} ¹ Sword at Sunset Ï This brilliant reconception of the Arthurian epic cuts through the familiar myths and tells the story of the real King Arthur Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior king who saved the last lights of Western civilization when the barbarian darkness descended in the fifth century Artos here comes alive bold and forceful in battle, warm and generous in friendship, tough in politics, shrewd in the strategy of war and tender and tragically tormented in love Out of the braiding of ancient legend, fresh research, soaring imagination and hypnotic narrative skill comes a novel that has richly earned its reputation as a classic This is, for me, the definitive historical version of the Arthur story, although I do have other favourites Mary Stewart, Parke Godwin, Jack Whyte, Bernard Cornwell Rosemary Sutcliff s Arthur is believable If he existed, this is how he would have been a Romano British leader who is passionate about saving the world he lives in, keeping the light going before the dark sets in For him, this is the Roman way, even after the Romans have gone from Britain His Companions are very likely the or This is, for me, the definitive historical version of the Arthur story, although I do have other favourites Mary Stewart, Parke Godwin, Jack Whyte, Bernard Cornwell Rosemary Sutcliff s Arthur is believable If he existed, this is how he would have been a Romano British leader who is passionate about saving the world he lives in, keeping the light going before the dark sets in For him, this is the Roman way, even after the Romans have gone from Britain His Companions are very likely the original companions of Arthur in the oldest stories Cei, Gwalchmai, Bedwyr Bedwyr, in this one, plays the Lancelot role, because Lancelot didn t enter the mythos till quite late in the piece The reasons for what happens between the leader s friend and his woman are heart wrenching and who s to say it didn t happen that way There s no Merlin or Camelot in this novel This Arthur or Artos, as he s known here has to be on the move, to protect the land His Companions can t allow themselves to get tied down.You can only get the US edition of this book now, but if you don t live there, order it through your local bookshop it s well worth it