Rosemary Sutcliff’s Blood Feud is ‘Exciting reading’ | Washington Post

Rosemary Sutcliff Blood Feud coverSutcliff’s gift is to recreate an era, in this case the 10th-century voyages of the Northmen and the rise of Byzantium, so convincingly that her readers accept without question the different mores of another time. The violence of the blood feud between two families set off by an accidental killing seems inevitable. No writing down here, no anachronisms, just a glorious sense of history, a sense of knowing how it was. Exciting Reading.
Source, Washington Post 

Rosemary Sutcliff’s Blood Feud historical novel was TV series The Sea Dragon

Blood Feud coverI have been researching the Rosemary Sutcliff  historical novels and retellings for children’s books which have been turned into TV and radio programmes. Sea Dragon was a version of Blood Feud made for TV in 1990. The TV series gets an average  8.1 (of 10) rating from users at ImDB. The essence of the plot is this: sold into slavery to the Northmen (Norsemen) in the tenth century, a young Englishman becomes involved in a blood feud which leads him to Constantinople and a totally different way of life.

The United States newspaper the Washington Post commented, when the book was first published in 1976, that:

Sutcliff’s gift is to recreate an era, in this case the 10th-century voyages of the Northmen and the rise of Byzantium, so convincingly that her readers accept without question the different mores of another time. The violence of the blood feud between two families set off by an accidental killing seems inevitable. No writing down here, no anachronisms, just a glorious sense of history, a sense of knowing how it was.

The Director of the TV film was Icelander Ágúst Guðmundsson; the adaptor David Joss Buckley. The lead actors were Graham McGrath (as Jestyn), Bernard Latham (as Gyrth) and Janek Lesniak (as Thormod). Other cast members were: Baard Owe as Haki; Øystein Wiik as Thraud; Pat Roach as Aslak; Trine Pallesen as Ayrun; Lisa Thorslunde as Thormod’s Mother; Eiry Palfrey as Sister Gytha; Holly Aird as Ffion; Lasse Spang Olsen as Herulf; Martin Spang Olsen as Anders; and  Anna Massey (who sadly died  in 2011) as the  Prioress.

Rosemary Sutcliff book Sword Song | Sutcliff Review of the Week

The final Rosemary Sutcliff children’s book Sword Song, a Viking novel, was in handwritten manuscript form on her desk when she died. I recall transcribing it from her elphin-scrawl handwriting at my own desk in our attic. I was pleased that in The Times newspaper,  in August 1997, Sarah Johnson  called the opening of Sword Song a ‘stunner’: ‘beat that Melvin Burgess!’ she wrote.Read More »

A Reader’s Review of Rosemary Sutcliff’s final historical novel Sword Song

The Crawdad Hole has a long post on Sword Song – I have not found this to be written about as much by readers. I love the book because I transcribed it from Rosemary Sutcliff‘s hand-written draft manuscript left on her desk when she died suddenly in 1992. Her long-time editor Jill Black finalised it for publication.

Summary of historical novelist Rosemary Sutcliff’s children’s book Sword Song (1997)

Sword Song was Rosemary Sutcliff‘s last children’s book, left in manuscript form on her desk when she died in 1992. In summary, the story is this:

Sixteen year old Bjarni Sigurdson, a young Viking swordsman, did not mean to kill the holy man who had kicked his dog but Read More »