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The Shield Ring (Puffin Books) [Paperback]

Rosemary Sutcliff
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 May 1992 Puffin Books
Set in the Lake District just after the Norman conquest, this book tells of the struggle of a Viking band to keep the Lake District free. Frytha joins Jarl Buthar's band after her family are slaughtered by the Normans. She quickly teams up with Bjorn, and the two spy on the Normans.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; New edition edition (28 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140349693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140349696
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff was born in Surrey, the daughter of a naval officer. At the age of two she contracted the progressively wasting Still's disease, and hence spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Her first children's book was published in 1950, and from then on she devoted her time and talents to the writing of children's historical novels, which have placed her name high in the field of contemporary children's literature. Rosemary received an OBE in the 1975 Birthday Honours List.

Rosemary Sutcliff's novels about Roman Britain have won much critical acclaim. The best-known of these is her The Eagle of the Ninth trilogy, of which the second book in the trilogy, The Lantern Bearers, was awarded the 1959 Carnegie Medal.

Sadly, Rosemary died in 1992 at the age of 72.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Lake District story of them all 10 Sep 2008
It is a children's book and it seems like fiction but the story of Rosemary Sutcliff's Lake District book is based on real incidents that have passed into legend. It has been told before but this is the best version.
At the heart of the Cumbrian hills, between two lakes, likes the heart of the fortress that held out the longest against the Norman Conquest of Britain. The story is told from the point of view of two children who grow up with the constant fighting and the threat of sudden death. They belong to a community that is determined to fight back, to hold on to their freedom and to survive.
There are real places to visit and to experience as you come to recognise the grip of a storyteller who makes you care passionately about the men and women and the boys and girls who went through so much to hold on to their identity.
Have you ever wondered why Cumberland does not feature in the Domesday Book ? Have you ever thought why the county of Cumbria has so many strange Nordic names ? Would you like to visit the place of the slaughter and the beautiful lake it lies beside ?
It is an eerie but very moving experience. Only then can you declare you have been to the real heart of the Lake District. This book takes you there.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! 23 May 2009
This marvellous book was a key factor in stimulating me to an early and enduring interest in history. I read it at a very early age, and I still have the original copy, re-read who knows how many times and jealously guarded. Rosemary Sutcliff's childrens books were a wonderful body of work, but for me this was always the jewel in her crown.

Her telling of the lore of the last great Norse defence of the fells is a work of magic which I have recently re-read at the age of fifty and still found compelling... indeed, I had not forgotten the name of a single character. She does not condescend to the younger reader, rendering the brutalities of the time credibly and twisting the emotions as Jarl Buthar's people battle for survival; and yet she also extracts from the tale values of community, comradeship, determination and ultimately reconcilliation. I recall that I emerged from my first reading of it with a sense of history, identity, and above all a raging thirst for more historical matter.

These books were in every school library when I was young, and always heavily subscribed to. I wonder if that is still true???

I am delighted to see it still in print. I would recommend all her books for children, but to miss this one above all constitutes, I think, an incomplete education!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten classic on a forgotten era 15 Dec 2009
I reread this after a gap of some 40 years. Alas the original illustrations have long since gone (Victor Ambrus?) but in fact this is a pleasing version because you can actually judge this book by its cover - a good painting of the two main protagonists guardely looking over their little villages of vikings as the ruthless Normans try to oust them from the Lake District.

Not the finest of Sutcliff's books, this nevertheless has enough in it to be truly compelling. Sutcliff, suffering a disability herself, had a real empathy with people who stood out in some way from the crowd. And young Bjorn happens to be different because he has a skill with the harp.

The Vikings tend to be caricatured in modern print, but here they are living breathing homesteaders defending their territory rather than pillaging others. The plot unfolds at a measured pace, centring on the brilliant strategm of the "road to nowhere" and - unusual for a Sutcliff book, there is a feisty heroine as well, itching to fight with the mean. Great stuff.
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