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The Shining Company (Sunburst Book) (original 1990; edition 1992)

by Rosemary Sutcliff

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373729,015 (3.86)7
Member:CryBel
Title:The Shining Company (Sunburst Book)
Authors:Rosemary Sutcliff
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (1992), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Childrens Literature

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The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff (1990)

Recently added byakunzeman, libmaven, 826NYC, JDHofmeyer, CassKnits, private library, pinguino03, M.Martin
  1. 30
    Y Gododdin by Aneirin (gwernin)
    gwernin: Read The Shining Company first. Then go read the source.
  2. 10
    The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff (gwernin)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
One of my favourite Sutcliff's. Though not part of the Dolphin cycle, this redacton of "the Poem of Goddoddyn" remains a good tight story with fleshy characters. Someday I mean to gety to Catterick just to pace it all out. One of her last books, I think. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 14, 2013 |
She writes wonderfully about Dark Ages Britain. ( )
  SChant | Oct 21, 2013 |
The Shining Company is based on Y Gododdin, which I didn't know before I started reading it. Obviously, that quickly became clear once we started into the story, and it quickly eclipsed the small, domestic, human life that opened the story. Leaving the woman who has been centrally important so far behind, never to be seen again, and rarely mentioned -- not surprising, for Sutcliff, but disappointing. Luned or Niamh or the queen -- I forget if she was ever given a name of her own -- could've been fascinating, but they were given little enough to do, sadly.

Still, the actual story of the battle, when we finally get there, is poetic and beautiful and sad. The moment in the hut on the way back, when they understand why things happened as they did -- gah.

It's Rosemary Sutcliff, so it's a solid story and beautifully written and has a sad lack of central female characters and a vivid (if perhaps no longer thought historically accurate, I think?) evocation of setting. ( )
  shanaqui | May 15, 2013 |
I have a long-standing love affair with Rosemary Sutcliff. Not literally, of course. In my opinion, she is simply the best of the best when it comes to historical fiction. I had never read The Shining Company before but it is now high on my recommended list.

The book expands the events described in the poem Y Gododdin, mainly from the point of view of Prosper, son of Gerontius and shieldbearer to one of the three hundred heroes who make up the Shining Company. The three hundred were called to Dyn Eidin (Edinburgh) to become a fighting force ready to take on the Saxons in the southeastern part of England.

I found it a fascinating look into the life of Britain after the Romans had left but before it was (almost) wholly conquered by the Saxons. Sutcliff shows a sense of lost history already present. I believe she may reference one of her other books, Frontier Wolf, at one point. Prosper is a likable main character, and I loved the depiction of fellowship among the company. But most of all, I loved Sutcliff's writing. This book in particular had a great beauty in its prose.

I'm trying to refrain from giving away the ending, although if you read the link to the information on Y Gododdin you'll know what most of it is. I think the resolution that comes is a fitting one, full of hope and full of sorrow.

Quotes:
It is the strength of the blade that is the aim of all this; the beauty is by the way. The beauty is by the grace of God.
...and the gladness upon us that was all one with the morning and the white hart in last night's moon-shot forest.
I do not think that 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.
It was like watching part of some half-lost hero tale, something that belonged to an older and darker and more shining world than mine.

Book Source: my school library

***

This really was a year of Rosemary Sutcliff. What can I say? She’s the best at historical fiction. As with so many of her books, the joy and sorrow of life are woven together here, with an end product that is tragic beyond words and hopeful at the same time. Her description of landscape and place are superb, as always. (Jan. 2010) ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
This is the story of Y Gododdin - of the three hundred British warriors who rode from Dun Eidyn (modern Edinburgh) to Catraeth (possibly Catterick in Yorkshire) in order to fight the Saxon incomers there, perhaps a hundred years after King Arthur. Their tale survives only in the long poem, or rather collection of poems, written by Aneirin their bard. The story is told here by one of the shield-bearers - secondary fighters who supported the warriors, rather like squires to a knight. Long may they all be remembered! ( )
2 vote gwernin | Jan 13, 2010 |
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"This is the Gododdin, Aneirin sang it."
I am - I was - Prosper, second son to Gerontius, lord of three cantrefs between Nant Ffrancon and the sea, of a half-ruined villa that must have been a palace in its day, of a hundred spears and many horses.
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"Every harper plays upon his hearers as he does upon the strings of his harp. It is so that the music comes, between the harp and the hearts of men..."
... the first of the riders swung out into the open, and behind them all the rest. The Fosterling was in the lead, and beside him Aneirin in his favourite cloak that wear and weather had changed from crimson to the colour of old spilled wine; and next behind them Geraint from the far south, with the Red Dragon standard that the Queen and her women had stitched for us through the winter, lifting and rippling on the spring wind. Every rider wore his mail coif, but with the mask left open so that his face was bare. Grey wolfskin cloaks hung loose over a glint of colour or a flash of gold beneath... Two and two they rode, a shining company, and the sun and rain clashing together as they came. And for that one moment the thought came to me - an odd unchancy thought to be pushed away hurriedly - that it is not good for mortal men to wear that particular bloom of light.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374466165, Paperback)

Life is secure and peaceful for young Prosper, second son of Gerontius, until the day Prince Gorthyn arrives with his hunting party. Prosper's unusual daring in the hunt catches the prince's attention, and he promises to make Prosper his shield-bearer when he comes of age. Two years later, three hundred princes are summoned to the king's fortress at Dyn Eidin, where they will prepare to fight the Saxon forces which are gaining strength in the east. Prosper, with Conn, his bondservant, leaves his father's lands to join Gorthyn in the rigorous training for battle. With the coming of spring, word reaches the Three Hundred Companions that the Saxon leader has taken yet another kingdom. They set out at once for the Saxon stronghold of Catraeth, where Prosper must face the greatest challenges of his life.
Adventure and heroism against impossible odds create a moving, robust tale set in Britain in the eighth century and based on actual events.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 600 A.D. in northern Britain, Prosper becomes a shield bearer with the Companions, an army made up of three hundred younger sons of minor kings and trained to act as one fighting brotherhood against the invading Saxons.

(summary from another edition)

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