In Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword Song sixteen-year-old Bjarni Sigurdson, a young Norwegian living in the Viking settlement of Rafnglas, is exiled for five years by the chief, Rafn Cedricson, for the hot-tempered murder of a priest, so breaking an oath Cedricson had sworn to his foster-brother to protect Christians within his lands.
Bjarni joins a merchant ship sailing for Dublin from where, robbed of his possessions but with a new companion, a stray hound he calls Hugin, he embarks on a career as a mercenary in the wars between the clan chiefs in Ireland, Wales and the Scottish Isles. On Mull, he falls under the influence of the chief’s devoutly Christian mother Lady Aud, and after a chance meeting on a journey with her to the monastery on Iona, he is able to return and receive absolution from Rafn Cedricson for the breaking of his vow.
It’s silly to covet a piece of jewellery. When would you really wear Marie-Antoinette’s necklace or the Hope Diamond? Even the glittering parures paraded by red-carpet celebrities are borrowed,...Read more
‘These books from Slightly Foxed are like perfect gems.’
‘I have found a book, and three more to follow, which is such a joy and has delighted me so much . . . These books are superbly produced and so elegant to look at and to hold . . . these books from...Read more
The Sound of Chariots
Rosemary Sutcliff knew about chariots. In the first of her four Roman books, The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), her young hero, the centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila, politely suggests to his British...Read more