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Conquest (Making of England #1)

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  169 ratings  ·  29 reviews
1066 - Senlac Ridge, England. William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, defeats Harold Godwinson, King Harold II of England, in what will become known as the Battle of Hastings. The battle is hard fought and bloody, the lives of thousands have been spent, including that of King Harold. But England will not be conquered easily, the Anglo-Saxons will not submit meekly to Norman ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Penguin UK
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This is probably going to be seen as a guilty pleasure and I have glanced at reviews which would suggest it is quite possibly not all that cool to say (a bit like admitting to thinking ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was one hell of a rollicking good and enjoyable read, which is was, you know it), but … I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Yes, I can see what is wrong with it, but as a whole, it holds together nicely, and with a relatively unobtrusive style and is an all round rattling good tale.

Of course, I’ve c
M.G. Mason
It is 1066 and England is about to undergo the most cataclysmic change of history since the arrival of the Roman legions. On one side, the last Saxon king Harold II. On the other side, William – Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard, William the Conqueror. The story is recreated on the Bayeux Tapestry which despite being a pro-English piece of propaganda, sites in a museum in Normandy. Harold would be killed at that battle and England would once again be ruled by those of Norse descent. The peri ...more
Sadly this book has a lot of good plots and interesting characters (Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardarada, William Duke of Normandy, El Sid and more) and covers many years worth of history from different countries that the author Stewart Binns really should have slowed the pace down, focused on a few key moments and maybe made this one book into a trilogy at least.
The side effect of cramming so much into one set of book covers made everything seem rather rushed, all the events tended to be almost g
Joseph Sellors
Set during an interesting period of English history, this book tells the tale of a character called Hereward of Bourne. My main issue with the book is the shallow and featureless characters, in fact probably some of the worst characters I've come across. Despite the book covering a large time span, I never really feel like I got to know the characters, and found myself indifferent to their fate. This isn't helped by the authors insistence to cover large periods of time in a matter of periods, so ...more
awesome book, and until I manage to get the sequel, I will proceed onto first installment in Witcher series (in czech translations :P)

maybe not the deepest of historical novels, but well written, with a lot of emotions in there... and a real engaging portrayal of the era
Gerry Haines
this is an epic tale of bravery , chivalry and swashbukling gallantry in 11th century Europe.

All that history can tell us of Hereward the Wake was that he was banished from England as a youth, but was reinstated under King Harold, and that after the Norman invasion of England he became a focus for Saxon resistance.

Our author imagines a very likely tale in which Hereward has many adventures while in exile, before finally returning to England to fight against William the Conqueror.

In the course of
While I was reading this I was constantly telling myself to hold on that little bit further, just keep on going, it will pick up... but it didn't. The whole book felt very naive, at least that's how I would describe it; Naive and simple.

I wanted to like this a lot simply because it was about a real life man - Hereward - who I had never heard of before and I wanted to know about him and his life. I mean, it was as if I had discovered another British hero to stand up with William Wallace, Llewell
James Rye
This book left me with mixed feelings.

I bought it on the basis of seeing Nick Hyam interview the multi-award-winning author on the BBC. It is the first book in a series of four that starts before the Battle of Hastings (the Battle of Senlac Ridge) and goes through to the signing of the Magna Carta.

On the plus side, the books reveals a lot of historical detail and gives the readers a sense of the political and military turmoil in England both before and after the famous battle. I found it illumin
Blair Hodgkinson
This novel has a magnificent cover. After that, it is a massive disappointment.

Historically little is known of the outlawed resistance leader Hereward and so there is a lot of latitude to develop his character. We know that the man was aggressive enough in his youth to merit outlawry and exile from Anglo-Saxon England and we know he returned as a man to lead a revolt against William the Conqueror with considerable skill, cunning and determination. Binns, however, transforms Hereward into a dith
Conquest is the first book in a series by the author about the Making of England, a fictional retelling. As such it more full of messages then a attempt to give a realistic retelling of a legendary saxon figure known to history as Herewood of Wake or in the book Herewood of Bourne.
Before i read this book i read another historical fiction and must say conquest was the weakest of the two books. The style was very formal, a basic list of Herewood went here, Herewood went there. People came into th
Robin Carter
Reading Conquest was a mix of emotions, the plot pace and characterisations are very much like Bernard Cornwell, in fact it put me in mind of his Arthurian series. The book leads you on a journey of action and adventure as well as education of the time period, but on a note of caution the facts are well blended with many flights of fanciful fiction to make the plot as strong and pacey as it is.
Reading the book makes any Englishman feel proud of his heritage, but also gives you an insight into ho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy Stanley

Enjoyed all the historiacl aspect of this book, so much so I have bought a book about the period.
Stewart Binns is obviously a very knowledgeable historian.

HoweverI did not really enjoy the fictional aspec to it. I was fed up of the amulet and Torfida. I also was fed up with the part in the Brotherhood and the fight into submission and the scene in the tomb.

Overall a very good read.
Jo Barton
The story gets off to a promising start and as the enigmatic warrior begins to tell his story and sheds lights on the history of the sinister talisman of truth I had high hopes that the story would continue to be a tale of heroic deeds. However, I thought the rest of the story was quite lacking in adventurous appeal, and as I became more and more bored, I started to give up, by half way through the book I had lost all sense of interest. The remarkable story of Hereward the Wake could have been s ...more
Well enough written but obviously from an extremely pro-English, anti-Norman stance. This Hereward had a fantastic journey before we come across him in the famous Fenland siege. This was the point I felt it went beyond any historical realism even for a novel.
A book that tells the story of a young Englishman who made a powerful enemy of a clergyman. His 'crime' unltimatley judged by the King of England, was to be banished into the wilderness as an alternative to death.

This inturn leads to his subsequent travels and adventures that brings him back to England in time to face the Norman invasion of England. The time demostrates the Norman cruelness meted out, only to be eventually beaten by English values and its cultures.

I recomend this book without he
An entertaining tale based on the life and legends of Hereward the Wake spanning his early years as an outcast and mercenary through to his role in leading the resistance against the Normans after 1066. The story is peppered with pagan folklore and mysticism and the politics of an England divided by Saxon, Danish and Celtic self interest.I enjoyed it.
A fictionalised retelling of the life story of Hereward of Bourne (also known as Hereward the Wake): an Anglo-Saxon who lead the resistance against William the Conqueror following his victory against Harold at Senlac Ridge, in what would become known as the Battle of Hastings.

While it is a name I had heard before, I have to say it's not a story that I was familiar with (unlike that of, say, Robin Hood or King Arthur) - this, however, I actually found to be rather a dry read.
Lesley Lodge
A really great historical novel. Conquest takes a little while to get into - because it tells a whole story with a great deal of historical accuracy. And it is a thrilling tale. Conquest really brings to life the detail of events in eleventh century England (remember 1066?), eg the food, the weapons. This book is a classic. To me it was almost Tolstoy in style and breadth.
Kris Duffy
Idea:Very interesting.
Appendix: Very interesting.
Story: 'Boys Own' stuff
Style: Junior school history primer.
Overall: Without the Appendix it wouldn't rate '3 stars'
This is my first book that made me interested on the history of England through an attractive story of a great legend named Hereward of Bourne. I thoroghly enjoyed the book and its details of historical events. I am now looking forward for other books in this series. Truely,England became so great after enduring so much.
Rosie Amber
A really detailed tale about events surrounding 1066, the Battle of Hastings and the years that followed. Very interesting account of the first Holy Crusade and a delightful band of Brethren who surround Edgar, the rightful heir to the English throne.
Was unsure about this book when I first started reading it as I thought it was going to be one long history lesson, however once I got a few pages in I couldn't put it down. Excellent read, brilliantly written and would definitely recommend!
A strange way of writing a book, but by the end I was hooked and couldn't wait to find out what happened to Hereward of Bourne. A good mythical/slightly based on history book that was ideal for a bit of escapism.
Not enough in depth characterisation for me. More interesting than a textbook, but not engrossing enough for a novel. A shame since the subject matter was interesting!
Mar 26, 2012 Jill rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I enjoyed most of this book but found some passages were written more as an historical account rather than a story.
Adam Hunter
An enthralling read! A beautifully told tale of love, loyalty, passion, action, bravery and destiny.
Really easy read of a time that has always fascinated me.
Shell marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2015
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Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. He then pursued several adventures, including a stint at the BBC, before settling into a career as a schoolteacher, specializing in history. Later in life, a lucky break took him back to the BBC, which was the beginning of a successful career in television. He has won a BAFTA, a Grierson, an RTS and a Peabody for his documentaries. Stewart' ...more
More about Stewart Binns...

Other Books in the Series

Making of England (4 books)
  • Crusade (Making of England, #2)
  • Anarchy (Making of England, #3)
  • Lionheart (Making of England, #4)
Crusade (Making of England, #2) Lionheart (Making of England, #4) Anarchy (Making of England, #3) The Shadow of War (The Great War, #1) America At War In Color

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