November Book: Sword at Sunset

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Announcing Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff, 1963 as the November pick for the Tabletop Roleplayer's Book Club. The plan is to read this book in November, and discuss in December. We're delaying things by a month because of the change of venue.

I should probably say a few things about this book and this month before starting. The plan this month was to talk about something Arthurian, and I guess the reason I'm managing this is because I've written some published Arthurian RPG material (Age of Arthur, and the Logres supplement on Saxons for Mythic Britain). My take moves closer to a dark-ages post-Roman world than the invented Late Medievalism of some of the myths (exemplified in terms of novels by T.H.White's Once and Future King sequence, though such arguably goes back to Mallory).

One part of my research was reading a few novels. It's a tough job. There's some great partially historical takes on Arthur out there...for example Mary Stewart's Merlin novels, beginning with the Crystal Cave, and Bernard Cornwell's trilogy, beginning with Winter King.

But Sword at Sunset is self-contained rather than part of a trilogy or series, and a rare foray for the author into an adult historical novel rather than one aimed at children (though I do love her novels on Roman Britain, beginning with Eagle of the Ninth, which are aimed at younger readers). I also haven't read Sword at Sunset for ages, so I'm looking forward to it.

Comments

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    Also, I initially posted this in the wrong place, and had to use my moderator privileges to move it to the right category, but I'm sure nobody will notice if I don't say anything.

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    I downloaded a couple of her ... I guess you would call them juvenile or ya fiction ... retellings of classic stories that are offered on Audible. I just started listening to Beowulf: Dragon Slayer and it's quite good. It's only about 2 hours long as an audiobook. I'm looking forward to Sword at Sunset.

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    Am I right in understanding this is also the October book, we're just getting longer to read it what with everything else going on at the moment?

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    > @NeilNjae said:
    > Am I right in understanding this is also the October book, we're just getting longer to read it what with everything else going on at the moment?

    Yes!
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    Sorry- I should have clarified that rather than just changing the month.

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    Hm, this is available via Hoopla at a nearby library. I'm not normally an Arthurian or an e-book fan, but I want to make sure the change of venue works!

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    edited October 11

    I'm pretty sure I read this in my Arthurian phase! That was after my Black-on-Black phase, but before my Rainbows & Unicorns phase.

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    I want to know what books you read in your Rainbows & Unicorns phase. (It's obvious you were reading Neil Gaiman in your black on black phase.)

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    I have gone down the dark path and checked out an ebook.

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    I had to do that for a few books in the past. Don't worry - the stain comes off your fingers after a while.

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    @Ray_Otus - The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar; Goodnight Moon; Into The Night Kitchen; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Go, Dog, Go and many others.

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    RtGRtG
    edited October 13
    My go to with writers I’m unfamiliar with are the great Sf and Fantasy Encylopedias edited by John Clute, Peter Nicholls, John Grant, Brian Stableford and others, now entirely available online.

    Here is their entry of Sutcliff: http://sf-encyclopedia.uk/fe.php?nm=sutcliff_rosemary

    Excited to check this one out! Will pop over and pick up a copy for my Kindle.
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    I just finished her retelling of Beowulf, "Beowulf, Dragonslayer." It was VERY good, in my opinion. Her language is often nicely imagistic and lyrical. Though it's a kind of young adult (but not too much so) rendition of Beowulf in prose, it seemed to respect the tradition well. I could "hear" bits of the original poem in the story. One interesting choice she made is to strip the story of any of its Christian bits. (Which makes since, sense those were almost certainly later/foreign additions anyway.)

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    Rosemary Sutcliff had an extremely good voice in my opinion, and a gift for conjuring up imagery and mood. I don't think she's quite up there with (say) Tanith Lee or Ursula Le Guin, but she's still to me impressive.

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    This is wonderful reading, but it's going slowly! Probably because I have too many other irons in the fire, but also because you have to pay attention. Good stuff. Great voice. Neat/different storytelling.

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    That’s partly why I suggested bumping it back a month - so there’s lots of time.
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    Oh, it doesn't have to be done Oct 31? Sweet. Yeah. I really do want to enjoy this one. It is a quiet evening by the fire kind of book. The opening is brilliant.

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    I found this very cool site devoted to all things Arthurian. There are articles, a mailing list, a journal, links to maps, and links to Arthurian books, fiction and non-fiction. So many rabbit holes!
    arthuriana.org/

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