2014 Edinburgh production of Sword at Sunset, original historical novel by Rosemary Sutcliff

James Beagon,  currently an undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, created this adaptation. (Thank you JB for the production and for link to this video). He was interviewed about the adaptation—by Sandra Garside-Neville— for The Historical Novel Society .


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In 1963 21 shillings Sword at Sunset ‘cost’ £18.62 in 2012 money. 2012 version is £16.99

Sword at SUnset by Rosemary Sutcliff press cuttingsWhen Rosemary Sutcliff’s Arthurian historical novel Sword at Sunset was first published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton in 1963 it cost 21 shillings (£1.05). Using a simple purchasing power calculation—multiplying £1.05 by the percentage increase in the retail prices index (RPI)  from 1963 to 2012—this equates to £18.62 in 2012. In 2012 a hardback version was reprinted by Atlantic Books, with recommended retail price of £16.99. So, in one sense, a new hardback edition of Sword at Sunset ‘cost less’ this time round!Sword at Sunset 2012 published by Atlantic Books

Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset | A brilliant Arthurian epic, cutting through the mists

Oyster in New York claims that it offers “unlimited access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month, with new titles added all the time.”

Of Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset they post:

This brilliant Arthurian epic cuts through the mists of pagan, early Christian, and medieval splendors that have gathered about the subject and tells the authentic story of the man who may well have been 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.

Presenting early Britain as it was after the departure of the Romans—no Round Table, no many-towered Camelot—the setting is a hard, savage land, half-civilized, half-pagan, where a few men struggled to forge a nation and hold back the Saxon scourge. Richly detailed, the story chronicles the formation of a great army, the hardships of winter quarters, the primitive wedding feasts, the pagan fertility rites, the agonies of surgery after battle, the thrilling stag hunts, and the glorious processions of the era. Stripped of the chivalric embellishments that the French applied to British history centuries ago, the Arthurian age here emerges as a time when men stood at the precipice of history—a time of transition and changing values and imminent national peril.

Rosemary Sutcliff on writing Sword at Sunset in the first person

Press cuttings about Historical novel Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary Sutcliff once said about writing her Arthurian novel  Sword at Sunset – a bestseller in 1963:

… after I had finished the story I had great difficulty getting back into a woman’s skin, because I had been living as a man for eighteen months, thinking as a man, making love as a man, always looking from a man’s viewpoint. I am always deeply involved in my books. For me the book doesn’t work if I am not. But I have never been as deeply involved as that before or since.

When I started writing Sword at Sunset I made at least three false starts, but I couldn’t think what was the matter. I knew exactly what the story was that I wanted to tell, but it wouldn’t come. Then suddenly the penny dropped: it had to be first-person singular. I had never done first-person singular before, but the moment I started doing it that way it came, like a bird. But I had problems with it: first-person singular is very different from third-person writing, and I had no experience of it at all. But it was the only way it could be written.

Miekka ja auringonlasku | Finnish translation of Rosemary Sutcliff’s 1963 bestseller Sword at Sunset

Miekka ja auringonlasku | Finnish traslation of Rosemary Sutcliff’s 1963 bestseller Sword at Sunset

Suomentanut Tapio Hiisivaara. Kustantanut Weilin + Göös.

Rosemary Sutcliffin romaanit liikuvat usein historian ja fantasian välimaastossa. Niin myös tämä kirja, joka kertoo Artos Karhusta, maalaistytön pojasta, jossa isän puolelta virtaa roomalaisen sotilaskeisarin ja Britannian kuninkaiden verta. Artos on urhea soturi ja tunteellinen mies, onnekkaampi sodassa kuin rakkaudessa.

Mutta Artoksella on kutsumuksensa. Hän on koonnut oman ratsuväkijoukon ja taistellut koko elämänsä ajan Britanniaan tunkeutuvaa pakanallisten saksien heimoa vastaan.

Kirjailija on saanut virikkeen pyöreän pöydän ritarien tarustosta, kuningas Arturin henkilöhahmosta.