Book Review : Dunstan by Conn Iggulden

Dunstan: One Man Will Change the Fate of EnglandDunstan: One Man Will Change the Fate of England by Conn Iggulden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well written – as you would expect when it comes from the stable of Conn Iggulden. The subject matter, the life of an ambitious clergyman, politician, skilled architect, builder and artisan is somewhat different to Conn Iggulden’s usual historical fiction. But it is written in his usual engaging and eminently readable style.

The novel covers Dunstan (909 – 988 AD) who had a staggeringly successful and diverse career….

As a clergyman he was successively Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey; Bishop of Worcester; Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury, and was later canonised as a saint.
His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church.

As a artisan Dunstan was skilled as a writer & architect (he built Glastonbury Abbey)

As a politician he served as an important minister of state to several English kings. His lifetime saw 7 Kings of England come and go, during which England first became a nation state. He was advisor, and sometime friend, to many of the kings during this time.

Whilst Dunstan has all these accolades to his name he was also a very cunning man and political manipulator. Conn Iggulden doesn’t hold back and we see a very flawed character as well as a talented,influential man of his age.

A couple of quotes that I have picked out from Conn Iggulden’s ‘Historical Note’ at the end of this book help to sum it up …

Dunstan appears to have been one of the rare, great minds of history –a Leonardo of Glastonbury, a Newton of Wessex.

A towering intellect born to that age would have sought out the Church –and thrived, going to the highest post in England.

A must read if you enjoy historical fiction and want to learn about the life of a sadly little known but an absolutely pivotal figure in English & British history.

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Book Synopsis

‘Official’ Book Description

From the critically acclaimed master of historical fiction Conn Iggulden, comes a novel set in the red-blooded days of Anglo-Saxon England. This is the original game for the English throne. In the year 937, King Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a great spear into the north. His dream of a kingdom of all England will stand or fall on one field and the passage of a single day. At his side is Dunstan of Glastonbury, full of ambition and wit, perhaps enough to damn his soul. His talents will take him from the villages of Wessex to the royal court, to the hills of Rome – from exile to exaltation. Through Dunstan’s vision, by his guiding hand, England may come together as one great country – or fall back into anarchy and misrule … From one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and performer, a visionary, a traitor and confessor to kings – the man who changed the fate of England.