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Credo [Paperback]

Melvyn Bragg
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

20 Sep 2004
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 critical period in British history.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 2 edition (20 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340667060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340667064
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A gripping saga of great passion ... sustained, impassioned and uplifting (The Times)

An absorbing epic ... as splendid a ripping yarn as any of the best classics (Daily Telegraph)

A gripping, deeply accomplished work (Evening Standard)

I loved it ... Bragg's stately, seething, passionate epic is several cuts above modern attempts at historical fiction (Literary Review)

A beguiling entry into a society strange, neglected, important, tragic in many of its triumphs (Spectator)

Wonderfully evocative, passionate and erudite ... No summary could do justice to a book of this erudition, romance and scope (Glasgow Herald)

Book Description

The reissue of Melvyn Bragg's epic masterpiece - a dramatic and dazzling recreation of life in Britain during the Dark Ages, and the story of a young Irish princess who became a saint

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars convincing and authentic 16 April 2007
Credo tells the story of a young Irish princess named Bega, and the two loves of her life - her God and a young nobleman called Padric - a lifelong tug between this earth and the next, romance and faith. The story is set in seventh century Britain, and Melvyn Bragg has really done his homework, describing life in Anglo Saxon times in rich detail. Many of the characters are based on historical figures too, St Bega being the main one, and the story hinges around real events. I personally found it very convincing, and a real insight into a particular place and culture, the Kingdom of Northumbria and Celtic Christianity.

It's quite a fascinating period in English history, and an important one in the story of Christianity, and Credo hits a satisfying balance between love story, adventure, and historical exploration. These were savage times, and Bragg doesn't gloss over the brutality. He doesn't dwell on it either, but sensitive readers should be warned that there are some genuinely horrible moments. My only real caution though is the length - at some 780 pages it takes some commitment to reach the end. But if you're a fan of epic novels and are willing to take your time, its a rewarding read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic scale 16 July 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
They say don't judge a book by the cover but I did with this one. I saw the cover, liked it, picked it up, read the back and thought I'd give it a go. I was probably in need of something meaty to read having just read something less than challenging (well, one has a tendency to romanticise) and I wasn't disappointed.

This epic work tells the fictionalised tale of Bega (latterly St Bega) and the torments she faced between choosing the man she loves and her calling to serve the Almighty. It's set during the Dark Ages in Ireland and England and Mr Bragg uses his superb talents to bring those brutal times vividly to life. The sights, smells and sounds of the events seem very real and I don't think I'll be the only person to find myself itching when reading the scenes set in Carlisle!

While the book does have some slow sections (especially where Bega is wrestling with her conscience) it has some superb moments where it fair rattles along. The battle scenes and times of conflict are brilliantly written if somewhat nerve-shredding. For example, there is a violent rape scene in the early chapters that, although brief, is one of the most jaw-dropping scenes I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, it's not there for gratuitous titilation but to highlight the brutality of the times and the status of women as possessions and will leave the reader feeling a bit rattled.

The finale is executed on a grand scale and provides a suitable climax to the action, while Bragg deftly ties up the loose ends with the other characters. The characters have depth and are flawed and virtuous at the same time, while the events of the times are brought magnificently to life.

I'd recommend this to anyone wanting a good read that will stretch you a bit. My only criticism is that it's a bit overlong in places but that doesn't happen too often.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Melvyn Bragg's Credo is astonishing. It is so well researched and so well written that the characters live in your head long after you have closed the pages for the last time.
It's a classical battle; between the Pagans and the Christians, and between the Christian Celts and the Christian Catholics, set in a violent and turbulent period of history.
What makes this book is such memorable characters: Bega, the devout christian, destined to become a saint; the pagan woman whom Bega so despises, yet who is so human, Bega's "man", who's love she is prepared to forgo to persue her love affair with God.
Read this book. It will change your outlook on life, love and religion. It is wonderful.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This book is a magical journey of faith, spiritualism and of miracles that stands out like a beacon, in our clean world of science, technology and materialism. The story is absorbing and it's difficult to put it down. The locations and characters are richly described and wholly believable. This novel is thought provoking and invites the reader into a world transported away, where real life and death hinges on failure of the crops or if the plague sets in, something we in the developed world cannot fathom any more. I personally found this novel provided a catalyst for me to re-think my perspective on life, and for that I am eternally grateful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Casting a bright light on the dark ages 9 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Many authors use the dark ages as a blank canvas on which they can write just about anything. Either transposing characters directly from the 21st century into a fantasy world or creating fantasy characters in a version of the world that differs from todays Europe only in the lack of technology. These authors produce books that can be very enjoyable, but don't stretch the reader very much and certainly don't even attempt to educate.

Credo is different, it is effortlessly enjoyable and often exciting, but more importantly it leaves its readers with a satisfying feeling that they now understand a little more about the history of dark age Britain. Bragg achieves this partly by a fantastic level of research and partly by great character development that never takes the easy route of assuming they have 21st century morality and ideology.

Furthermore, this is a great way to learn about the philosophy of the early Christian church.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Like swimming through porridge
An epic tale where hardly anything happens. Really. A real hard slog of a read. Like swimming through porridge. Sorry Melvyn. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Christopher O'Grady
3.0 out of 5 stars I bought this book on recommendation and haven't had the ...
I bought this book on recommendation and haven't had the courage to start reading it yet. It's a weighty tome, about the length of War and Peace I should think. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. J. Allsop
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by C. Wild
2.0 out of 5 stars clunker alert
What a clunker! I really enjoy well-researched historical novels, and the two stars are for the research -- some of which is delivered here undigested. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This is a really good novel.
Bragg has thought his way into a mysterious period of eraly English history and the result is compelling and satisfying. Read more
Published 8 months ago by pearl
4.0 out of 5 stars AAA+
Published 11 months ago by PAT MC GRATH
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but typescript too small for comfortable reading.
I first read Credo a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. Have long ago lost my original copy, to I decided to buy another one from Amazon, paperback. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alison L
5.0 out of 5 stars Credo in unum Braggum
Excellent story unwound with subtle interweaving with real places and historical events. It is a better told tale than Maid of Buttermere, which is a similar genre, and has a... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Urban
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to keep!
I loved this historical novel when I first read it and unfortunately I lent it to a friend who never returned it, but this is one of those rare books where I feel that I must read... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Lynne Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read.
Coming from the north of England and being familiar with some of the locations used I was interested to read this novel. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Chris
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