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Stonehenge


by Bernard Cornwell
It takes you there


Mr. Cornwell has crafted a frightening, interesting, and compelling fictional world from scientific conjecture and the few existent facts about Stonehenge. In this world, death and brutality are constant and very real threats. The construction of such an incredible monument under these conditions is awe-inspiring. In this novel, the architects of Stonehenge combine violence and religion to coerce various tribes into creating the magnificent stone artifact.

I found a great deal of resemblance between the characters in Stonehenge and the Puzo/Coppola Godfather movies. Hengall, the wily father of the tribe, is a pre-historic mirror for Don Vito Corleone. He generally seeks peace, but regularly resorts to violence to achieve his ends. Lengar is a calculating yet impulsive Sonny Corleone, while Camaban is a sort of insane Michael Corleone.

That leaves us with the main protagonist, Saban who unfortunately most closely resembles Fredo. Saban is always at the mercy of those around him. He is the last to know, the cuckold, the helpless. He has strong moral character and occasionally stands up to those around him, but spends most of the novel reacting and enduring rather than acting.

Luckily, Saban does not take away from the rest of the story. All of the other characters are so multi-dimensional and interesting, that the reader is swept up and swept forward to the exciting conclusion. Be sure you don’t skip the author’s “Historical Note” which describes the known facts that were used to construct the novel. It’s stunning that the first stones were transported over 100 miles to the Stonehenge site.