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The Book of Dreams

(Saxon #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Sigwulf, a minor Saxon prince, is saved from execution after his family is slaughtered by the ruthless King Offa of Mercia. Thanks to his Devil's Mark - his eyes of different colors - Sigwulf is exiled to the Frankish court of King Carolus, the future Charlemagne. There Sigwulf survives on his wits while at the same time trying to come to terms with disturbingly prophetic ...more
Paperback, First, 344 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Macmillan
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  255 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyable. A good diverting read from a reliable author. This series is (unsurprisingly) about a Saxon, but one who ends up in Charlemagne's court. It's a standard historical fiction template - start with a battle, move the characters around, this time into exile and a new court, conniving and politicking, friendship, a quest and a big battle or two to finish up with.

And that's absolutely fine by me. Severin has always been a reliable author for this - while the books are genre standards, they'
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: saxons, france, spain, reviewed
Interesting book, first in a series featuring Sigwulf, a minor Saxon princeling. After his father's defeat at the hands of Offa of Mercia, he goes to the court of Carolus [Charlemagne] in Frankia and becomes one of the court there. He is sent as a spy to Islamic Spain. Climax of the book is the abortive invasion of Islamic Spain by Carolus and massive defeat of his men by the Vascons [i.e., Basques] in the mountains. The novel very loosely tells the "Song of Roland" [i.e., Count Hroudland, the k ...more
Graham Crawford
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Whether one likes or dislikes a particular Historical Fiction novel seems to be more a matter of taste than one finds within other genres. I find it impossible to judge a book of this type from Good Reads reviewers as some folk will award a begrudged one star and an equal number, a gushing five stars.

I suspect it's about the precise blend of history-to-fiction one finds palatable. This book is heavy on the history and light on the fiction, the sort of tome an experimental archaeologist or histor
Cindy Hall
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
An OK young adult historical novel. Not enough female characters for my taste, but an interesting take on a part of history I knew nothing about (Charlemagne's reign). ...more
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Just ok... Kind of a dissapointment after the "Viking" series. This book seemed a bit flat to me. Not badly written, just not as complex or interesting. ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, series
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked this book, found it interesting in terms of the era. It's well-researched in terms of historical detail, but there are a few occasions where the prose doesn't flow, a few sentences where an odd choice of word sticks out and sounds awkward. But it's a decent book and I already have the second one out of the library ready to read. ...more
Jeff Powers
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
A decent historical fiction tale. Better than some but still pales in comparison to Cornwell who it often felt it was trailing in the shadow of. Still entertaining enough that I would check out more from the author in the future.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
A wee bit slow for me.
Kerry Hennigan
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in the late 8th century AD, the first novel in Tim Severin’s Saxon series is the story of a young man named Sigwulf who is dispatched by King Offa of Mercia to the court of Charlemagne – herein called by his actual name of King Carolus.

The Book of Dreams is an Arabic translation of a Greek text that purports to interpret dreams. In translating it (with the help of his servant Osric) Sigwulf finds meaning in his own nightmares and in the dreams of the king’s nephew Count Hroundland, who has b
E.M. Powell
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Saxon of the title is Sigwulf, a minor Saxon prince. The novel opens with the slaughter of his family in 780 AD, but he escapes execution, instead exiled to the court of King Carolus (the future Charlemagne). Sigwulf is spared because he bears the Devils’ Mark, with differently coloured eyes. He also experiences disturbing prophetic dreams. Exiled with him is his crippled slave, Osric, who has long been his protector and his guardian. Sigwulf is befriended by Count Hroudland, Carolus’s nephe ...more
Raymond Just
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Book of Dreams is written with Severin's usual high level of detail and clean prose. The pacing is a bit slow in places, but can be forgiven as The Book of Dreams is the first book in the author's new Saxon series. Unlike his previous two series, however, The Book of Dreams is remarkable for its dearth of personal character development and history. The story leaves the reader wanting more in the way of feeling for the protagonist, Sigwulf, and his boon companions, Osric and Count Hroudland. ...more
Ali Muhammad
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This the 3rd series of Tim Severin that I've read after Viking and Corsair. The character of Sigwulf is pretty much the same with Thorgils in Viking, especially on his paranormal ability. I do enjoy the book because this is the 1st novel I've read about Charlemagne, it is interesting to hear a story of him being the 1st to unite the europe and how his kingdom deal with the muslim neighbour in spain. ...more
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this novel because of its solid plot and interesting characters. Sometimes it lacked a bit suspense, and I was bored. The characters were nicely developed, but showed stereotypical traits. Still, the book and story were good. 3.5 Stars.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Adult book - but suitable for YA, precious older fiction children who are into this era.
Graphic battle scenes - but nothing they won't have read before.
Basic sex scenes, but nothing too graphic.

It is a retelling of the "Song of Roland".
Wilde Sky
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A young man becomes involved in intrigue within an ancient royal dynasty.

I found the story to be reasonable, but the pace and writing style were plodding. The book did pick up in the last 50 pages.
Schrodingers Woofer
Not up to the same standard as Viking. Something lacking. Not a bad read by any means but my expectations of the author were high going in.
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Pretty good yarn by Tim Severin.

Some drivel about a book of dreams that gets lost along with all Charlemagne's treasure.

Tom Webster
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
not a bad effort but must try harder.
Shady Lubbad
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book... i wanted the main character to be a little more booldy and dark.. and i really enjoyed the fact that this book doesn't show the arabs in a bad light... ...more
Chris Howells
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
It was OK. An attempt at the re-telling of the Roland Tale.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am a big fan of Tim's books but it lacked depth and plausibility. Disappointed. ...more
Oliver Aldous
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved the story and the characters. First book in a while I've read through and wanted the sequel. Highly recommended ...more
Otávio Ziglia
A poor literary book - both plot and characters uninteresting and boring - although has good historical value, thus becoming a little worth of the time spent.
Deborah Foulkes
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this from the moment I picked it up and couldn't put it down. I'm already starting the next in the series ...more
Richard Bryan
Great read
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2017
Richard P
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good historical action thriller with some interesting twists and turns.
Attila Kis-Csáji
rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2020
rated it liked it
Oct 23, 2016
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Tim Severin was a British explorer, historian and writer. Severin is noted for his work in retracing the legendary journeys of historical figures. Severin was awarded both the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He received the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for his 1982 book The Sindbad Voyage.

He was born Timothy Severi

Other books in the series

Saxon (3 books)
  • The Emperor's Elephant (Saxon, #2)
  • The Pope's Assassin (Saxon, #3)

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