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BOOK OF THE MONTH
HOW TO KIDNAP THE RICH
Rahul Raina
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The Last English King
Julian Rathbone

Classification : General & Literary Fiction
Pub Date : Aug 03, 1998
Imprint : Abacus
Page Extent : 400
Binding : PB
ISBN : 9780349109435
Price : 799

About the book
On the Sussex Downs in 1066, the psychotic William and his gang of European mercenaries began the process which fragmented a civilisation. Walt, the last of King Harold's bodyguard, the one who survived Hastings, wanders across Asia Minor in the company of Quint, an intellectual renegade monk. On the way he unfolds the events that led up to the battle which affected the destinies of every English man and woman. With rare skill, Rathbone vividly recreates a civilisation that stubbornly remains alive in the collective memory to this day, and so identifies the roots of the still-held belief that every English person is born free and should stay free. Tender romance, savage war, courtly intrigue and some wry humour combine to make THE LAST ENGLISH KING an exhilarating roller-coaster ride into our past.
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'A lively read.' IRISH TIMES
'THE ENGLISH KING is an entertaining novel.' TLS
'Lyrical and ingenious, witty and historically sound, this is a peach of a period piece.' INDEPENDENT
'Well written and employing fact and fiction to weave an intriguing story, this is a must for the more sober end of the historical fantasy field.' IRELAND SUNDAY TRIBUNE
'The parade of characters is anchored by an imaginative eye- and nose- for the realities of medieval life.' THE TIMES
'With remarkable imagination, cutting between the Norman side and the English, Rathbone plunges us into the gore of the battle, the heartache of hopes lost for ever, in a fiction that sings with conviction. The result is a superb story that breathes on its own, larger than text-book history, but with the savage bit that only a backbone of truth can give.' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
'King Harold's last surviving body-guard is the protagonists in this fascinating tale of life, war and politics in 11th century Britain. The seriousness with which Rathbone depicts his settings is humorously belied by the colloquial, often anachronistic dialogue, which features cunningly placed literary quotations from Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll.' GUARDIAN
'Embroidering fact with fiction, rather as the makers of the Bayeux tapestry did, Rathbone has Walt expand on the confessions of Edward the Confessor, on the megalomaniac notions of Canute's descendants, the ambitions of the Saxon thanes, and the savage empire building of William the Conqueror... powerful.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
'One of the very best story-tellers around' TELEGRAPH
'A magnificent historical novel to stand alongside Rose Tremain's RESTORATION
'A triumph... if there are echoes of I, CLAUDIUS that is a high compliment' INDEPENDENT
'Rathbone is a very clever writer.. scenes of such solidity no reader will easily forget them' TIMES
'A rattling good story and with a plot which is gripping...superb, unforgettable' SPECTATOR
     
Julian Rathbone
Julian Rathbone is the author of many books including JOSEPH (reissued in Abacus in November 1999) and KING FISHER LIVES, both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lives in Dorset.
Books by Julian Rathbone
A Very English Agent (PB)
Birth of a Nation (PB)
Joseph (PB)
Kings of Albion (PB)
The Mutiny (PB)
The Mutiny (HB)