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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  303 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged. This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet ...more
Paperback, 788 pages
Published 1997 by Sceptre (first published 1996)
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Luke Manning
Jan 07, 2011 Luke Manning rated it did not like it
This is one of those books that I kept reading because I was sure it had to get better. It didn't. Maybe people really were like that back in Dark Ages Britain. I don't know. I do know that the Bega portrayed in this novel is one of the most consistently annoying and frustrating characters ever created. Well, her and God, both of whom feature heavily on every single page of this plodding dud of a book.
Hilary Green
Apr 06, 2012 Hilary Green rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant evocation of life in Britain in the 'dark ages' and gives an insight into the beliefs and life-styles of early Celtic Christians. The amount of self-abnegation and sacrifice which they believed necessary to gain salvation is hard to accept from the point of view of our comfortable modern-day lives. I had heard of the synod of Whitby, vaguely, but I had never realized it was such a turning point in the history of the church. Bragg creates a very believable heroine in Bega. I w ...more
The other John
Sep 24, 2008 The other John rated it it was amazing
One finds treasure in the strangest places. Take the small English library here on our small campus in the sticks of Yunnan. Compared to many libraries, it's a pitiful thing. It holds maybe two hundred books, mostly classics abridged or rewritten for foreign language students and children's books. For an adult native English speaker, it's quite boring. There are, however, a handful of grown-up books here. My wife, in her desperation for reading material has perused them. For the most part, she w ...more
Jun 21, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
Excellent balance of narrative, historical evocation and characterisation. Written in a pacy style.
I'm presently reading Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, comparable in some ways to Bragg's novel, but am shocked at how he litters his style with cliche after cliche. E.g. his heart was in his mouth!I may review it when I finish it.
Gill Chesney-green
Oct 24, 2012 Gill Chesney-green rated it it was amazing
I have read this book about four times and will probably read it again... At least I've now got it in e-book format! I enjoyed the scope of the book and the evocation of early Britain and the lives of the people. I certainly enjoyed the length so that I didn't feel 'wrenched away' too soon.
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok
" Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction ""This novel set in Britain and Ireland during the dark ages is the tale of a young Irish princess who became a saint and of her lifelong bond with a prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged - a land of warriors and miracles, where the British people survived."" What this book is really all about "Stand fast I must" against everything that could be possible - family, beliefs, politics, language, loyalties etc. The 2 main protagonists are Brega and Padric. B ...more
Eva Kristin
First of all: This book was too long. The story could have been told, and told better I think, in half the number of pages. The theme, the meeting between the wild, personal and intuitive Celtic church and the orderly, distant and rigid Roman church, was very fascinating. The problem is the main caracters, Bega and Padric, who are static, annoying and boring. I think telling more of this story from Ecfirth’s point of view would have greatly improved it, since he was one of the few persons who ca ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Cher rated it did not like it
When I lend this book to borrowers at library I always want to yell- run save yourself! It's not worth the time the story goes nowhere and that's hard to do in over 1000 pages. This took me a year to read I kept thinking it will get better I love this genre but it never did. This book is the reason I gave up on my quest to finish every book I start life is too short.
Mary Lea
Jan 08, 2015 Mary Lea rated it it was amazing
This book is seriously awesome - and almost impossible to get hold of on amazon. Everybody, order this book off them so they get more stock in! It's like travelling time rather than reading a book. incredibly well researched, but never overly weighty in its academia. Well plotted, well paced, with good dialogue, and believable characters. Definitely a must read.
Sandy Morley
Jul 09, 2014 Sandy Morley rated it it was ok
Academically interesting, the prose is jumpy and storytelling dull. Worse, Bragg didn't get the memo that less is more, and there's more waffle than a Belgian pastry fair.
Martin Noutch
Mar 24, 2013 Martin Noutch rated it it was ok
Struggled to finish this. Shame. Should have been shorter and better.
Jan 09, 2013 Jenni rated it it was ok
Too frustrating and depressing.
Victoria Young
I had high hopes for this book and they were, unfortunately, not met. In summary - I wouldn't bother.

I began with the assumption that this novel was a piece of historical fiction; that it would be well-researched, intelligent and offer an interesting perspective on the expansion of Christianity in the British Isles in the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman Empire. I don't really think Credo fulfils those objectives particularly well, and I'm quite tempted to tag it fantasy or magical realism
Jan 09, 2013 Anna rated it it was ok
Shelves: anglo-saxons
I read this novel a couple of years ago.

I'm really interested in the England of the 'Dark Ages' and also the development of Christian belief in this country. The book started off well and even now I can vividly remember the scenes around Bega's (the main protagonist) wedding, especially the violent rape of her maid by her prospective bridegroom and his subsequent demise...

However, once Bega and the love of her life, Padric, make it to England, I found myself increasingly irritated by the overly
D.A. Cairns
Oct 25, 2011 D.A. Cairns rated it really liked it
I really really admire quality historical fiction like Credo. Spanning decades, this epic story of eighth century saints and warriors is beautiful and brutal. Themes of love, devotion and sacrifice dominate this tale of the battle between good and evil. Wonderfully written, powerful, shocking and moving, Credo is a book which took me a long time to read, courtesy of losing it, but worth every hour I spent in this ancient and foreign land.

At times, I was a little impatient with the slow speed of
Oct 09, 2007 bkwurm rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a fictionalized biography of Saint Bega, who may or may not be a real person. Set in the Northumbrian and Cumbrian region of England in the late 600s CE, the story starts with Bega’s flight from an unwanted marriage in Connaught to the British kingdom of Rheged. She finds sanctuary in a nunnery in Whitby in Northumbria which is ruled by invaders from Norway who extract tribute from Rheged

The story revolves around Bega’s love for Padric, a prince of the kingdom of Rheged who is trying to
Oct 24, 2008 Jane rated it it was ok
I started off really liking this book, but I didn't like the directions the characters took. The battle scenes were good, but there weren't many, and a lot of time is spent just wondering when they will get on with it already. All the Christians seem a bit mad and obsessed with relics and miracles, and I really wasn't convinced by the main character's faith, so it just seemed like it came out of nowhere when she rejected the love of her life to go and live in a convent for a while. To top it all ...more
James Hockey
May 27, 2012 James Hockey rated it it was amazing
This book was a doorway into an area and feature of the Dark Ages that was previously closed to me. Fascinating details about the critical differences between the Catholic and matriarchal Celtic churches concerning subjects as momentous as the date of Easter(sic) which led to the destruction of the native home grown church and its replacement by a patriarchal alien power structure.

It is also brave enough to tackle the internal mental landscape of those charismatic leaders of the time, destined f
Jan 29, 2012 Vedu added it
Clearly, the author is a great storyteller, and it is hard to find a good novel set in early middle ages England : for that, I appreciated the book. But I also got disappointed because the action happens mostly in the spirit of the protagonist : it is a story about faith. If you don't believe in God, the miracles, heaven and hell and all that, you might find (as I have) that it's difficult to read pages after pages on a character who thinks fasting until on the verge of dying is what God wants u ...more
Sep 13, 2016 David rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Somewhat overlong, but very enjoyable book concerning Celtic development of religion set around 650. Very much a religious book, dealing with the lives of people, especially the nuns and monks of the time which were all equally bleak, but also a romantic novel, which to my surprise I enjoyed, as well as a good description of living at that time. Very well researched and written and the novel slowly became very enthralling. A good read but you really have to be interested and to have some familia ...more
Helen C
Mar 17, 2016 Helen C rated it liked it
Shelves: historical-novel
This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet critical period in British history.
Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged.
Revd Lee
May 20, 2014 Revd Lee rated it liked it
Some of the descriptive writing and characterisation is very well done indeed, even if that sometimes veers away from traditionally accepted views of figures such as St.Cuthbert, and these help paint a realistic image of the setting even if it isn't always 100% accurate. Bragg's pro-Celtic bias can at times be grating and it is a pity he took a blindingly obvious course with one of the minor plot-threads in the later part of the book.
Feb 22, 2015 Hayley rated it it was ok
This book started off so well. A great strong female protagonist and an interesting historical plot. If I had known the overly religious nature of the plot I would not have wasted so much time on reading the whole thing. Although well written and I believe historically articulate this novel is ultimately unbelievably frustrating.
Aug 14, 2014 Aravind rated it really liked it
I don't know anything about the history of "Dark Age". I read this book just as a fiction and wasn't let down by Mr. Bragg. Yes, the book is very long. But, it has given him ample space to build his characters and describe the places and events in detail. There are a few places where the narrative gets repetitive, though. In a nutshell, I quite liked it.
Susan Roach
Aug 11, 2013 Susan Roach rated it really liked it
Quite the epic story. The main character is as strong as she is weak; a strength that comes from adversity. I enjoyed the history telling of the cultures, the church and the land. Thorough in detail, and engaging in the passing of the time to tell the story. Yep, a good read.
Jun 26, 2014 Wayne rated it really liked it
The bits i like in this novel,i really like-the celts,the saxons,the battles,but when the religion comes into it,shit,it drones on.I know thats mainly what its about,but it goes goes on for tooooooo long.Still the good stuff is great.
Maz Raz
Jul 15, 2012 Maz Raz rated it liked it
A good story line but full of self indulgent waffle by the author. I think it would make a good mini series for TV surprised it hasn't already been done.
Aug 08, 2011 Rosslyn rated it really liked it
An epic in the true sense of the word. Brilliantly written, full of insight and incredibly moving.
Gary Murning
Nov 01, 2010 Gary Murning rated it it was ok
Initially compelling, stodgy around the middle and moderately satisfying towards the end. Definitely a case of "why have one plague when you can have four".
Mar 20, 2013 tlsf rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.
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Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg, FRSL, FRTS (born 6 October 1939) is an English author, broadcaster and media personality who, aside from his many literary endeavours, is perhaps most recognised for his work on The South Bank Show.

Bragg is a prolific novelist and writer of non-fiction, and has written a number of television and film screenplays. Some of his early television work was in collaboration wit
More about Melvyn Bragg...

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