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The Shining Company (Red Fox Older Fiction) Paperback – 20 Jun 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox; New edition edition (20 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099855801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099855804
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,637 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.

Product Description

Book Description

An absorbing historical tale of bravery and friendship, set around 600 AD.

About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff was born in 1920 in West Clanden, Surrey. With over 50 books to her credit, Rosemary Sutcliff is now universally considered one of the finest writers of historical novels for children. Her first novel, The Queen Elizabeth Story was published in 1950. In 1959 her book The Lantern Bearers won the Carnegie Medal. In 1974 she was highly commended for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and in 1978 her book, Song for a Dark Queen was commended for the Other Award. In 1975, Rosemary was awarded the OBE for services to Children's Literature and the CBE in 1992. Unfortunately Rosemary passed away in July 1992 and is much missed by her many fans.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By F. Aetius on 23 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
The Shining Company is one of the last stories published by Rosemary Sutcliff before her death. Fans of her books will no doubt enjoy the tale, told in her familiar setting of the twilight of the Roman World and the birth of the Dark Ages. The story is an imaginative re-telling of Britain's oldest native poem - Y Gododdin. Written around AD 600 by the poet Aneirin, it tells of a battle that took place around Catterick by a Northern British tribe called the Gododdin, and their Anglo-Saxon enemy, the Northumberians.
The ancient poem is an elegy for the warriors who took part in the battle, but very little of it describes the 'what, when, and why' of it taking place. This allows Ms. Sutcliff to weave a fine tale around it.
She tells of a British Chieftain's son, a boy called Prosper, who sets out from his native Welsh valley with his Irish Bodyservant to the court of Mynyddog Mwynfawr, King of the Gododdin at Dun Eidin (Edinburgh). While there he trains for a year in the King's halls with 300 of the finest warriors from across Britain, before they set out to take, and then defend, the old Roman fort of Catteractonium from the armies of the Anglo-Saxon King, Aethelfrith.
It's a pretty simple tale, but it's told brilliantly. Rosemary Sutcliff's descriptions of the lived-in world of the Dark Ages are as evocative as Bernard Cornwell's descriptions of Dark Age warfare; so much so that when you read it you can almost see this long dead world spring to life in your mind's eye.

The book is aimed towards young adults - I'd say for those aged around 13-17, as the writing I believe might be too difficult for younger readers. That shouldn't put older readers off though, as the prose is much better written than many books aimed towards adults!

All in all, a must read for her fans; but a worthy purchase for anyone who enjoys these types of novels. Heartily recommended!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Breakfast on 3 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked this up when I was young and never got around to reading it, then stumbled across it a few years back as an adult and this time I got past the beginning and it rapidly picked me up and carried me along it's dramatic course towards a devastating, brilliant conclusion.

It's a fairly simple story, set in the context of 7th century northern british resistance to the encroaching Saxons and leading up to the battle described in the early poem "Y Goddoddin." I knew nothing about the poem and it's background before I read the book and I'm actually glad that I didn't - the sweep and spring of the story from it's joyous opening to the dramatic finale is perhaps even more intense when you don't know where that conclusion is going.

As ever, Rosemary Sutcliff's imagination is so strong that she carries the reader along with her into the time she is writing about, bringing the dark ages to colourful life with her prose. Although she largely wrote books marketed for children, her stories are so strong that - like much of the best young people's fiction - their appeal is far wider than any particular age group.

Highly, highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suchea on 16 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am loving stocking up on her books on kindle. I can see why this post Roman/ Dark Ages historical novel is one of her lesser known works, as I'm not sure how it would work as teen fiction. I had no idea I would find myself reading about The Gododdin when I started this book. I just happen to be a nut for this neglected period of history. It had me practically in tears by the end. Wonderful.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The book: 600 A.D., and a second son of a Welsh lord, Prosper is landed with a body servant, when all he wanted was a pup. He gets a dog anyway, but only by saving his brother's worst dog; and helped by the bodyservant, Conn, and his stepsister. When he grows up he meets Prince Gorthyn and follows him to the wars - the wars against the invading Saxons, in the Northeast of Britain, among a select band of warriors.

The writer: Rosemary Sutcliff wrote some fifty books, mostly historical novels for older children, which are still enjoyed by these - and by older people, too!

My opinion: a curious mixture - the childhood is well-described, with the feelings of insecurity and longing, but for me don't link very much with the second half of the book, which is a re-telling of an old epic. Don't misunderstand me, I thought the second half was great, it is just that the two parts don't hang together very much, for me. Not one of her very best: I would say those are some of the 'Eagle of the Ninth' books, and Blood Feud. Four-and-a-half stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
They were real people from a real time... 15 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I got this book for my 7th grade son who is studying Medieval times at school. When I scanned the first few pages and found references to the Spartans at Thermopylae (I'm a Greek history buff), I started reading in earnest--and didn't stop. The author creates characters that are achingly real, involved in compelling situations that breathe life into ancient history. This is the best kind of historical novel; one that builds a realistic world that reveals culture and creates a "feel" so that you can understand it.
The people in this book seem very alive. They act consistently with the natures the author has created for them, and they are people one would want to know. Their way of speaking, customs, clothing, food, names--everything is couched in an impressive amount of historical detail that is soaked up by the reader without apparent effort.
I enjoyed this "juvenile" book thoroughly. I would have devoured Ms Sutcliff's books if I had found them younger, and--since the best children's books can hold their own with the best adult books--I will enjoy devouring them now!
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I just picked it up today but am still reading 29 Mar. 2003
By Christiane N. Hulet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Good books need lots of great reviews to persuade converts. =) I picked this up as Celtic/medieval literature for a college class and wondered whether this "juvenile" book would contain enough depth, but found myself immediately intrigued. Sutcliff's writing is consistently true to the era she portrays, and is often poetic, as well. The characters are refreshingly real; I care more about their development as individuals than how the battles will turn out. So far, I'm totally happy to rate this book 5 stars. I can't wait to finish it!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Shining Company 14 Mar. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As I was reading The Shining Company I was thinking this is the best adventure book I ever read. I also couldn't keep my eyes off it and a number of times my teacher kept telling me to put the book down and pay attention. At first I didn't want to read it but I did and it got better and better until I couldn't stop reading it. It's also the first Rosemary Sutcliff I've ever read and I will probably read more.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Shining Story 27 May 2013
By ESD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It seems harder and harder to find a story where you truly care for the protagonist. Even with an expert storyteller like Sutcliff, I found it difficult to be invested in the fate of Bjarni in Sword Song (Sunburst Book). When I began reading The Shining Company, I did not expect the story to grip me as it did. I was caught up in the story of Prosper and the companions. I was moved deeply when came a bittersweet ending, and the story lingered on in my mind. To me, a story that has the power to move your emotions, and keeps you reflecting on it even after you've put it down, is a truly good story.

I was actually pretty surprised with how empathetic the characters were. With just a snapshot for each character, Sutcliff made me feel like I knew them--and the characterization was well varied. Without much elaboration, Sutcliff had me following many different lives and it made me sad to see so many go. I knew nothing about the Gododdin going into the novel, so I was in for something of a shock with the direction of events. But in hindsight, the course of events was laid out from the beginning...

Conn, an empathetic character in the story, concluded of the bard Aneirin's tales, "'I do not think you can be changing the end of a song or a story like that, as though it were quite separate from the rest. I think the end of a story is part of it from the beginning.'" I believe Sutcliff was commenting on her own craft, and it's obvious in the book. She cleverly wraps up the story so that it ends where it begins, not so literally as metaphorically. And it's totally satisfying.

On a separate note, the novel was very atmospheric. Sutcliff is a master of recreating the 'feel' of a time and place, but it especially shows in The Shining Company. From light hillsides to warm halls to dark and dreary forts, I could picture each spot as though I was there. This made the story all more real, which is quite a feat for one so far removed from our era. I'd have to say this is one of Sutcliff's best, and a shining example of a good story. Recommended for any fan of British history, '300' tales, or stories that captivate you from the beginning to the end.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great tale from a respected Historical fiction author 4 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by Rosemary Sutcliff I have read, but I assure you, it will not be the last.
I was captivated by this book from the begining. It is rather long, (or at least, seems long, though it's really only about 250 pages) and every night while I was reading it, I hated having to put it down and go to bed, wondering what was going to happen to Prosper next.
I loved the way Mrs. Sutcliff built the book around the story of the Gododdin. The main plot is an excellent story in the first place, and this book did a worthy job of making it into a story with real people who we can relate to.
The characters are also excellent. There are quite a few of them, but they each have unique, individual personalities, and are quite alive. The main character, Prosper, is an interesting narrator, even though at first there doesn't seem to be much to make him stand out among all other warriors and shieldbearers.
All in all, this is a very good book, I would especially reccommend it if you have interest in British history, battles and armies, or just good stories.
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