Rosemary Sutcliff novel Sword at Sunset helped engineer recover

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The Sword at Sunset (US paperback)

Eric Eller described himself as a ‘recovering chemical engineer’. Of Sword at Sunset he wrote:

Rosemary Sutcliff‘s Sword at Sunset stands out for its raw emotion and storyline stripped down to the essentials … This novel makes other versions, no matter how much fantasy and magic are injected, pallid by comparison. Other authors have recreated a gritty, ‘realistic’ Arthur since Sutcliff introduced the idea more than forty years ago, but this first attempt at that take on the Arthurian legend still stands out as the best.

(A post from four years ago)

4 comments

  1. Sword at Sunset and all of Ms. Sutcliff’s Roman Britain books were a seminal influence on me as a kid. I’ve begun rereading them in middle age, and I’m so thrilled at how well they hold up. They were a treasure to me, then and now.

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  2. I greatly admire “Sword at Sunset” and was delighted to see it reissued in 2008. At the time of its reissue I posted a brief review here in celebration:
    http://www.historicalnovels.info/Sword-at-Sunset.html

    However, although it’s often claimed that RS’s “Sword at Sunset” was the first realistic take on Arthur, in fact Henry Treece beat her to it with “The Great Captains”, published in 1956. It twas the fourth in his remarkable “Celtic Tetralogy”, sadly no longer in print. Treece’s adult novels are powerful stuff, full of blood, sex and black humour, underpinned by a deep poetic and mythic sensibility.

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  3. I’ve just re read Sword at Sunset for about the 10th time and each time I read it I love it more. I first read it when I was about 15 and I’m now in my fifties- but I still discover something new in it every time I read it.It’s quite simply one of the most beautiful books ever written. I will never tire of it and hope to read it again and again !

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  4. A lovely lovely book – I had it in hardcover and noticed a short time ago that my copy has gone missing. I am (of course) going to locate another HC copy somewhere as my library is not complete without the book.

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