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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  5,468 ratings  ·  327 reviews

Four thousand years ago, a stranger's death at the Old Temple of Ratharryn-and his ominous "gift" of gold-precipitates the building of what for centuries to come will be known as one of mankind's most singular and remarkable achievements. Bernard Cornwell's epic novel Stonehenge catapults us into a powerful and vibrant world of ritual and sacrifice at once timeless and who

Paperback, 578 pages
Published December 14th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1999)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
433rd out of 4,512 books — 17,999 voters
Outlander by Diana GabaldonThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Best Historical Fiction Set in UK and Ireland
125th out of 742 books — 869 voters

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Community Reviews

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It really has me baffled that some people don't like this book. I found it enthralling and captivating.
There was something about Bernard Cornwell's version of these bronze age people and their mystical and monolithic Stonehenge, that captured my imagination and I felt stirred by both them and their pristine, unpolluted environment.
They were innocent and gullible, ignorant and sweet, yes, even at their deadliest or maddest. They are unblemished by a modern world. Their existence is aligned in eve
Victor Bruneski
Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite authors, and I have been looking forward to reading this for some time. But with all that I am still surprised on how good the book is.

This story is a bit different from the usual Cornwell yarn. From the books I have read by him, it is apparent he likes to write about war, and is probably one of the best writers out there in describing battle scenes. There is battles in this book too, but the are few and far between. This is more about primitive man, and th
A good story, well-written, but not up to what I expect from Bernard Cornwell. He builds on John North's Stonehenge: Neolithic Man and the Cosmos to include a plausible explanation of what little we know about this wonder of the ancient world, contemporaneous with the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

But the book doesn't connect. For one thing it lacks the humor which leavens the drama and gore of his Wessex series. (I assume Sharpe has his humorous moments, too.) I never grew to care for Saban as I shou
Ancient architecture 101...,

No matter how you slice it, the book is about how to build a stone temple in ancient times. There is a story behind this, an interesting and complex tale of people from all over present-day England, surrounding three brothers, sons of a chieftan, and their aspirations, plottings, dreams and failures. There is travel throughout the ancient island with Cornwell's requisite description of place and people, but it still comes back to building the stone temple; so the titl
Abigail Hartman
"It's violent," says Dad.

"Oh," says I, with a lofty wave of the hand, "violence is all right. I can handle THAT."

Turns out, Dad knew what he was talking about. This book was far, far grittier than my usual fare, and there were several times where I had to put it aside and read something as cheery as "Howl's Moving Castle" to settle the emotions. It is not a difficult book stylistically, but the weight of darkness and paganism was so great that it took me over a month to plow through to the end.
I didn't connect with the female characters; it felt like a book written by 'a man'. Be forewarned, there is much violence, rape, ritual child and girl murder, slavery, more rape and murder,.. Bronze Age life may have been that brutal, but I want a more hopeful story for a fiction read. The building of Stonehenge now seems like a stupid macho idea, and that a truly great society would do better to eschew expensive monuments and plant enough crops to feed their people. The tale portrays religious ...more
Stonehenge which means "standing" stones was described by Cornwell more as a fantasy book than from an historical point of view. In any case, I wasn't convinced about this version of the legend surrounded on Stonehenge.

According to Cornwell, there is an interesting book Stonehenge by R.J.C. Atkinson on this same subject.

Sorry Cornwell but I do prefer your Saxon Stories.
I dare to say that it's the best historical fiction novel I've ever read in my life. Actually, this is the one that made me fan of the genre so much, with its fascinating story and the great characters. I can imagine this tale to be a great movie one day, if a director ever decided to dream it on to screen. I could hardly put this book down, finished within a short time and it's still among my all-time favorites.
After his series of Saxon novels about the England of Alfred the Great, Bernard Cornwell has continued his attack on organized religion. In the Saxon novels, he opposed Christianity to Asatru -- the Viking religion -- in favor of the latter, which could be called a DISorganized religion. With Stonehenge, Cornwell shows us three brothers in a mythical kingdom called Ratharryn: Saban, the builder; Lengar, the cruel warrior; and Camaban, the mad priest of Slaol (sort of sounds like Slay-All, doesn' ...more
Bill Shears
May 31, 2010 Bill Shears rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: engineers, ancient monument fans
Finally plowed all the way through this, for two reasons. One: we wanted to see the darn thing built. No spoiler there. You know the thing does get built.

How they raised the lintels is always a matter of controversy and as a warning for some Chariots of the Gods fans, there are no aliens involved, which is good thing. Give the humans some credit for the emergence of intelligence, and application of brute force which would have been their strength in that era.

It's a plausible-sounding method I ha

This book was one of about five books that my 14 year old son gave me for my birthday - all sourced from a bargain bin! I have honestly been doing my best to read some of them and have only given two away to the school fair without even opening the covers . And in fact, I actually thought that I might enjoy this one. Unfortunately not.

I have never read any books by Bernard Cornwell before and won't be back for more. The book started out promisingly enough but somewhere around
Joseph Finley
The novel takes place around 2000 B.C. and most of the story events surround the construction of Stonehenge. In this sense, it was a lot like The Pillars of the Earth – except with Bronze Age characters. And like The Pillars of the Earth, the characters drive this story, which concerns the three sons of Hengall, a tribal chieftain. Lengar, the eldest son, is a ruthless warrior who wants to bring war against the tribe’s enemies. Camaban, the middle son, is an outcast and a sorcerer who speaks to ...more
This was the first book I've read by Bernard Cornwell and I was very pleased with his writing :). It was recommended to me by a friend, it is one of her favorites. I can see why. If you are a fan of historical fiction at all, I think you should probably read this.

The story, obviously, is a fictional story about the creation of Stonehenge. I'll admit, I didn't expect great things from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. The amount of depth and detail put into this book is really quite ama
Virginia Owl
Great for folks who wonder HOW Stonehenge was build. Not so good on the WHY of it all.

I listened to this book on tape. It took me a long time to get through it. My overall impression of the book is that it was OK, but definitely in the "borrow it from the library" category, NOT the "go out and buy it NOW" category.
The sense of place and time was strong & to my ear, realistic. But I found the details involved in the building of Stonehenge became tedious and overwhelming (though this could be
Stonehenge did not really benefit from Cornwell's simplicity of style. I feel that something as grandiose and as epic as Stonehenge deserves something more rich and toned than what this novel offers. The attempt, however, was commendable - it must be quite challenging to craft a tale explaining one of the great mysteries of history. The tale centers around 3 brothers, the sons of the chief of Ratharryn. The eldest is violent and warlike, the middle malformed and stuttering, considered a fool by ...more
Amy Trent
I read two other Bernard Cornwell books before and really didn’t think much of them, but I do in general like historical fictions and having been to Stonehenge numerous times I just had to read this. I’m glad I did. It’s certainly superior to the other books I read by him (I won’t mention the names). I vied between 3 and 4 stars for a while but in the end went for three due to it being a bit predictable and just not getting me excited or really into the characters. Maybe I’m just not a huge Corn ...more
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Cornwell is a master of historical research, and always finds a compelling point of view to illuminate the past. Unfortunately, Stonehenge seems more generic than inspired, and I've been trying to analyze why that is so. I loved Agincourt and his Arthur trilogy, which both kept me turning the pages, but I won't be finishing this one.

I enjoyed skipping ahead to the end of the book and reading Cornwell's notes on his Stonehenge research, which I found far more interesting, particularly his specula
I like this book ! Cornwell has a unique ability of being able to write romances about different historical periods in a very attractive way.

Among archeologists and historians, Stonehenge is still a matter of much debate and controversy. Eventhought lots of researches have been done in the last few decades Stonehenge is still a mystery far from being solved.

Cornwell's book gives life to this remote period that we know so little about, and yet it has the credit of not being anachronich and fanta
Sort of a cross between Braveheart and Pillars of the Earth. Not as good as either, but lots of blood, gore, revenge and evildoers (Braveheart) accompanying the complexities of constructing a temple that would seem to be beyond the capabilities of Bronze Age society (Pillars of the Earth). Lots of architectural, mechanical, cultural anthropological details -- probably too much for some readers, but fascinating to me. The sheer scope of Stonehenge is unimaginable, but Cornwell breaks it down into ...more
Christine Blachford
Plot: It’s set an age ago, when tribes killed each other and sacrificed to the gods to keep famine from striking them each winter and to bring them strong and healthy sons each summer. It’s a story of three sons who battle it out to rule the tribe, to appease the gods and to bring a temple across from another land. A temple of stone.

Characters: Lengar, the evil brother, you really hate him and he gets what he deserves. His name is the only one on the back cover but bizarrely his brother Saban is
I’m a fan of historical fiction in general and Bernard Cornwell in particular. However the subject matter of this novel is far from my preferred fare and I probably wouldn’t have gone out of my way too read this. But it was a present so I can’t complain. Despite being more ‘fiction’ than ‘history’ BC has once again delivered a solid read.
Christa - Ron Paul 2016
Loved this book. So interesting! The only thing is, it is not till about half way through it you even know what the story is about or who is it about. But in the end it is about a family. The chief of a tribe in prehistoric Brittany, and his three sons. Each from a different wife. Mostly it is about the youngest of those three and told from his point of view.

It is one version of how and why Stonehenge was built, as a temple to the sun god, so he can marry the moon god, so together they can end a
João Batista
Mais uma ficção histórica de um escritor que sabe fazê-lo. Na verdade, quem poderá dizer o quanto do livro seria ficção? Ainda hoje arqueólogos se perguntam como, quem e para quê essas pedras foram construídas...
Deixando a arqueologia de lado, o livro fala de 3 irmãos, Lengar = Olhos de Lobo, Saban= O Favorecido e Camaban = Criança Aleijada, que vivem um drama para sobreviver num mundo neolítico cheio 'regras' sociais que nunca entenderíamos hoje; temos os deuses falando por sinais; deuses grita
Another large English history opus, this time with Cornwell's historical credentials behind it. It's a well-enough done portrait of primitive tribes building stone temples, but the characters don't really make me care terribly about them, even though they are well-written. I had to work a bit to finish it: it's not terribly engaging. I think that fans of the big historicals, however, would love it to pieces and it's certainly well done for what it is.
Newton Nitro
Bernard Cornwell faz jus à fama de um dos melhores escritores de romances históricos do mundo. E a incrível popularidade que ele tem no nosso país, não muito acostumado a ler, já justifica a minha vontade de ler toda sua obra. E que leituras agradáveis!

Os romances históricos, um gênero que curto muito, procuram passar para o leitor uma experiência sensorial e emocional em outra época. O grande barato de se ler romances históricos é ser transportado para outro lugar, outra visão de mundo. E a for
Robin Wiley
This is one of Cornwell's few stand-alone novels. I think it does a great job of inventing a civilization and it's reasons for building this amazing place. It does remind me a little of Pillars of the Earth, because you follow a man through his life to build this miracle of it's time. The pagan religions are well developed. There's love, politics, betrayal, war and LOTS of sacrifice.
Bernard Cornwell's fictional history of Stonehenge is a compelling piece of work. I'm most drawn to the modern day parallels of mixing religion with politics. In the book, it makes a lot of people crazy and gets a lot of people killed. Funny how that works, isn't it?
I enjoyed this book. I can't say that I loved it, some parts felt like they dragged a little bit but it was by no means a bad story. There was a lot of violence and an interesting journey, and I actually liked how long of a span the story took place, a realistic timeline for such an expansive ordeal with a surprisingly satisfying ending. I say surprising only because there are a lot of moments throughout the book where it seems like those who do wrong get what is coming to them only to lead othe ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Kay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
An imaginative look at the possibility of how stonehenge was built and the lives of the people involved. Absorbing and feels realistic and makes me want to know more about ancient English history.

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Ancient & Med...: DECEMBER 2013 (Group Read 1) Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell 148 121 Mar 05, 2014 12:34AM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwe ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)

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