A dark and passionate epic story, richly and superbly toldThis brilliant Arthurian epic cuts through the mists of pagan, early Christian, and medieval splendors that have gathered about the subject and tells the authentic story of the man who may well have been the real King Arthur—Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior-king who saved the last lights of Western civilization when the barbarian darkness descended in the fifth century. Presenting early Britain as it was after the departure of the Romans—no Round Table, no many-towered Camelot—the setting is a hard, savage land, half-civilized, half-pagan, where a few men struggled to forge a nation and hold back the Saxon scourge. Richly detailed, the story chronicles the formation of a great army, the hardships of winter quarters, the primitive wedding feasts, the pagan fertility rites, the agonies of surgery after battle, the thrilling stag hunts, and the glorious processions of the era. Stripped of the chivalric embellishments that the French applied to British history centuries ago, the Arthurian age here emerges as a time when men stood at the precipice of history—a time of transition and changing values and imminent national peril.
Reviews"A book of great beauty, of fine writing, of the evocation of a time past. . . . A book for the appreciative, mature reader." — Library Journal
"[Sutcliff] is an effective storyteller and knows how to keep her dialogue terse and believable. . . . There are many fine battles in Sword at Sunset, and they are described with majestic eloquence." —Orville Prescott, The New York Times
"[King Arthur] is a living presence who moves in a brilliantly lit and fantastic landscape . . . rich and sumptuous as the world described in Mabinogion, as gay and menacing as The Tale of Genji . . . Rosemary Sutcliff is a spellbinder." —Robert Payne, New York Times Book Review
"The gritty realism and emotional power of Rosemary Sutcliff’s writing places Sword at Sunset in a place of its own . . . leaves you convinced that if the story of King Arthur is more history than fantasy, this must be the way events really occurred . . . makes other versions of the legend pallid by comparison." —Green Man Review
"A good story, swift, various, and at all times exciting. . . . Miss Sutcliff has a sure hand with heroism and pathos." —Times Literary Supplement
Author BiographyRosemary Sutcliff wrote more than 40 historical novels for young adults—including The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers, The Sword and the Circle, and Black Ships Before Troy—five adult novels, and several books of nonfiction.