Wordsmith's Tale, The: Special Edition Hardcover – 10 Jun 2011
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'Surging, powerful and highly readable. It's ambitious, often witty, earthy and even meaty, rich in detail. Above all, I'd say, Stephen Edden has a fine ear for the cadences of speech. The whole book is exceptionally well-written.' --Kevin-Crossley Holland, author of The Seeing Stone and translator of Beowulf
The Wordsmith's Tale... is about the origins of our collective imagination. It's an eccentric and highly entertaining history lesson, and also a compelling attempt to show the crucible of the British collective unconscious; the origins of stories that have lasted more than 1000 years. -- The Times
About the Author
Stephen Edden carefully researched the background for his first novel, The Wordsmith's Tale, to ensure the authenticity of the setting. James Campbell, editor of The Anglo Saxons (Penguin History), has said: 'I have never read a novel quite like this. A remarkable, unusual, imaginative creation.' Stephen lives in Nottingham.
Top Customer Reviews
Within the first page we get a taste of what's to come: a whistle that can conjure memories, a foray into Old English and a gag about Old Mother Hubbard and her dog. That playfulness with words, history, fairy tales, etc runs through the whole, but NEVER intrudes on the story. Not to my mind, anyway. I don't want to put readers off by intellectualising, because Stephen Edden has an easy, readable style, but it's a thought-provoking novel. It's a novel about Anglo-Saxon life OR it's a novel about the importance of stories and language OR it's a novel about the triumph of love over hardship OR it's a celebration of the Old English language and its alliterative poetry. Maybe it's all of those. I don't know. But I do know that I loved it!
I enjoyed how much the author familiarised me with the characters and the era, despite how long ago the events took place. For example in the author's note, Stephen Edden states he wanted to use Old English Phraseology wherever possible. I found this very interesting and I think without realising, you are taken back to Anglo-Saxon England and become strangely fond of the characters despite their frank bad habits and hygiene etc, demonstrating how well the author has researched this period of history.
In my opinion the worst kind of book is one that leaves you feeling very little afterwards - The Wordsmith's Tale certainly is not one of these. I would definitely agree with feeling 'richer' for having read it; for me it appeals to everyone's secret ideals - living life to the fullest with every twist and turn whilst appreciating life's simple but important pleasures: family, love and nature.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Edden's novel and would recommend it to anyone, even if you aren't familiar with this period of history or have never read a historical book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really impressive: charming, historically interesting, strangely gripping, highly literate, ... and unlike any other book I have read. Read morePublished on 2 July 2012 by Duncan Reed
'The Only Way is Wessex' is such an unworthy review title for a book of the quality of Stephen Edden's 'The Wordsmith's Tale', I'm almost too embarrassed to use it. Almost. Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2012 by Quicksilver
I've been hunting around for another author who is genuinely world class at creating historical fiction. Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2011 by Simon
My wife bought me this book as I am a historical fiction fan. A Wordsmith's Tale was a fantastic read that plunged me into an era that I didn't know and characters that I wanted to... Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2011 by Snuggs
Life among serfs in the West Country around 1000 AD, which seemed nasty, brutish and short. Dirt and disaster, stumbling from one generation to the next, but how did they get their... Read morePublished on 5 Nov. 2011 by Camerarius
I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative and compelling tale of Saxon England. With so little actually recorded and known of the period this book really manages to take you there, the... Read morePublished on 22 Oct. 2011 by ZM
The strap-line says it all, pretty well: this evocative novel deals with Life, Family, Passion and War in a critical and fascinating - and often overlooked - period of English... Read morePublished on 12 Sept. 2011 by mpw
A sign of a good book is not wanting to put it down as you become totally immersed in the story and so involved with the characters, that you feel yourself compelled to read on,... Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2011 by Carol
I didn't want this book to end. Like his central character, Stephen Edden is a master storyteller who knows how to keep the reader spellbound.
Why did I like it? Read more