The Shield Ring
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The Shield Ring (The Dolphin Ring Cycle #8)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  218 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The story takes place in England shortly after the Norman Conquest. High up among the mountains of the Lake District is a secret valley where the Northmen (Vikings) have their last stronghold - or shield ring. The Normans want to crush this last group of Northmen and bring the whole country under their control. To this end they build a castle in Carlisle and send an army n...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published August 10th 2007 by Front Street Press (first published 1956)
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I liked The Shield Ring rather more than Sword Song, perhaps because it's back in the realms of history I'm not so familiar with. This one deals with the Norse facing off against the Normans -- which I wasn't aware of as an event, much less familiar with. It is funny to read stuff like this and read references to the battle of Clontarf, and suchlike, but it's not like reading something I'm too familiar with.

And strangely, just after I said about not seeing much of the female side of things, in S...more
I was totally obsessed with this book as a kid, and read it as many times as I could find it in the library. As an adult, I still liked it, but found it a lot slighter than I remembered - it probably is one of Sutcliff's lesser works, but lesser Sutcliff is still pretty damn good.

I don't know what this nonsense is with the cover, though. Why does everything have to have the same visual vocabulary as Twilight? Designers, I am disappoint.
Joy C.
I took my time with "The Shield Ring", but I enjoyed ever aching moment of it; Sutcliff pulls at your heart-strings, your emotions in the raw beauty and the understated glory of her tale, with all the descriptions and characterization. Having read "The Eagle of the Ninth" "The Silver Branch" and "The Shining Company" and now adding "The Shield Ring" to the lot, I can really say Rosemary Sutcliff has grown to become one of my favourite historical fiction writers ever!

The Shield Ring is a beautifu...more
Maureen E
by Rosemary Sutcliff

Opening line--"The thing happened with the appalling swiftness of a hawk swooping out of a quiet sky, on a day in late spring, when Frytha was not quite five."

This is a lesser-known Sutcliff, one which is set against the background of England just after the Norman invasion. It's interesting to note that while her books set in earlier periods tend to have protagonists who fight against the Saxons, here it's Northmen (i.e. former Vikings) who fight against the Normans.

The book...more
Way better than Sword Song, this is very possibly one of my favorites of the Dolphin Ring series (it is also the last of the Dolphin Ring series) and I wish someone had told me before how awesome it was. Now we are just post-1066, and the invaders in this case are the Normans; our protagonists Frytha and Bjorn (bearer of the Dolphin Ring) grow up in an isolated stronghold and learn to fight against them.

This book has the excellent nature description that some of the earlier books were lacking, c...more
Abigail Hartman
"The Shield Ring," last of the unofficial Dolphin Ring Cycle, is classic Sutcliff from beginning to end. Which is to say, it plays absolute havoc with one's emotions. All the characters spring to life: Frytha and Bjorn, Aikin the Beloved, Gille and the Jarl, even the handful of Normans who feature only briefly (like Roger de Lacy). Every detail of the story is woven into the fabric of the whole through Sutcliff's unique, almost poetic style of repetition. Perhaps the best part, though, was the a...more
This is a simply incredible story and work. I have read it at least 4 times over the years and loved every time. A true masterpiece of historical fiction this book deals with the battle waged by descendents of the Vikings, who lived in the mountains just south of the Scottish border, against the Norman conquerors years after the invasion of England. The story is based on the legends and tales of the region which are lent weight by the notable omission of this region from the Domesday book, the d...more
Rosemary Sutcliff aimed her books at young adults (save for "Sword at Sunset"), but I've always found them to be wonderful historical novels. On rereading "The Shield Wall" forty years after a first read, I see it as even better than I remembered. The book is about the northern (largely Norse) resistance to Norman expansion in England, and its tone is both triumphant and elegiac. The Norman's Domesday Book, their relentless cataloging of land values, stops just short of the Cumberland Fells. Dra...more
Three and a half stars, really. But it seemed a bit slow to start, and I would like to have had more Frytha, and - I guess I just am not as interested in the Northmen vs the Normans as I was in the British vs the Romans, or the Romano-British vs the Saxons.

The writing is lovely. But I could have used a better map.
Hazel West
As usual, and unsurprisingly, a fantastic read by Rosemary Sutcliff! This one for some reason really made me notice the prose in it, as I think the writing was some of her most beautiful. It really captured the time period for this was the time of bards and epics and the mentions of Beowulf and harpers only brought that into more light for me. I particularly loved how she described the harp music in very vivid ways that made me able to hear it in my head. I also loved the characters in this. Bjo...more
Miriam Bibby
The first book by Rosemary Sutcliff that I ever read; and a key event in turning me into a historian and archaeologist! I found it in the Junior Library in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a Saturday afternoon mmmmfffmmf years ago (not saying how long) and was completely gripped for the rest of the weekend. Thereafter, it was at least one Rosemary Sutcliff week after week for a very long time.

Reviewers on this site have said that it's perhaps not her best (but pretty damn good) and I think that's probabl...more
Zoe Scrivener
I loved this book. Sutcliff's prose is so full and evocative. I would most certainly give this book to one of my students, if only to have them soak in the prose. "The Shield Ring" is the last of a series, but stood well on its own, unless Sutcliff was doing a lot of reminding her readers that I didn't notice because I haven't read the others.
a favourite from my childhood. in fact i illegally acquired it from family friends (borrowed it and never returned it). i don't still have that copy but this one is the same edition (with the C Walter Hodges illustrations), i think, and also without a dust jacket. Sutcliff's writing is never less than splendid, but i was also struck this time by how simple it is - the vocab is extensive but everything makes sense in context, and it flows like the burn the characters sail birch-bark boats down. i...more
Cynthia Haggard
This is the story of the last stand (or shield ring) that the Vikings made (with their Saxon friends) against the Normans who’d conquered England in 1066, and now wanted to make all of it under their control. This shield ring was created in what we now know as the Lake District, near Buttermere, named after Jarl Buthar, one of the characters in the story.

Ms Sutcliff writes stories of day-to-day life set a long time ago, either in the time of the Romans (as in the case of EAGLE OF THE NINTH, her...more
Sutcliff is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors of all time.

This represents a fair shift from the Roman-based stories of her telling--you're moving into a thousand years past Rome's remove from Britain, just shortly after the 1066 invasion of the Normans--but Sutcliff's adoration of her setting is still plainly evident, and her skill at characterization remains well-tempered.

It was also nice to read a story of her's from a female perspective, though in many ways you were also reading t...more
This is the last novel in the set of novels showing the descendants of Marcus from the Eagle of the Ninth in British history. The story is very interesting, I tried to find something about it in my history books but I could not find anything except that yes Domesday Book did not list the Lake District.
Dec 21, 2010 Katie added it
This was a good book; I just wish there was a little bit more of dialogue at the end. (Don't worry--the ending was good). The plot was good, and you can tell that Rosemary Sutcliff spent lots of time researching! I loved learning about yet another historical period: thanks to Ms. Rosemary!
Amy C.
This is the first Sutcliff I've read, and I'm sure I'll be seeking out the rest. I loved the rich writing: it made me want to read this book slowly, and yet the action was so engaging that I couldn't put it down through the second half.
Even tho not a fantasy, will appeal to those who liked LOTR. My vocabulary was challenged, (which is saying a lot!) but beautiful descriptions of wild surroundings. The story starts slow but finally builds to a high drama.
Dec 31, 2007 CLM marked it as to-read
My mother loves Sutcliff so I am not sure how I missed reading this one. Kelly, I wonder which of her books would be suitable for Jack to start on.
Sutcliff never writes down to her readers. A very good continuation of the series
Ernest Marlin
Wonderful book.
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Rosemary Sutcliff was a British novelist, best known as a writer of highly acclaimed historical fiction. Although primarily a children's author, the quality and depth of her writing also appeals to adults, she herself once commenting that she wrote "for children of all ages from nine to ninety."

Born in West Clandon, Surrey, Sutcliff spent her early youth in Malta and other naval bases where her fa...more
More about Rosemary Sutcliff...
The Eagle Of The Ninth The Lantern Bearers The Silver Branch Black Ships Before Troy Sword at Sunset

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“That is our Shield Ring, our last stronghold; not the barrier fells and the totter-moss between, but something in the hearts of men.” 6 likes
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