What do you think?
Rate this book
352 pages, ebook
First published October 2, 2018
“When your grandfather was dying… he told me the crown of Wessex was a crown of thorns.”
“If it’s worth anything… it must be a crown of thorns.”
“Christians like to dream of the perfect world, a place where there is no fighting, where sword-blades are hammered into plowshares, and where the lion, whatever that is, sleeps with the lamb. It is a dream. There has always been war and there will always be war. So long as one man wants another man’s wife, or another man’s land, or another man’s cattle, or another man’s silver, so long will there be war. And so long as one priest preaches that his god is the only god or the better god there will be war.”
“I have fought many battles. I have stood in shield walls and heard the sound of axes biting willow boards, I have heard men howling, heard them screaming, I have heard the butcher’s sound of blades cleaving flesh, the heart-wrenching sound of grown men weeping for heir mothers’ comfort. I have heard the grating breath of the dying and the lament of the living, and in all those fights I have fought for one thing above all others. To take and to keep Bebbanburg.”
“War is bitter. The poets give battle a splendor, extolling the brave and exulting in victory, and bravery is worth their praise. Victory too, I suppose, but the poems, chanted in mead halls at night, give boys and young men their ambition to be warriors. Reputation! It is the one thing that outlives us. Men die, women die, all die, but reputation lives on like the echo of a song, and men crave reputation, as they crave the heavy arm rings that mark a warrior’s victories.