The Abbot's Tale

Pegasus. May 2018. 480p. ISBN 9781681777306. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681778082. F
Dunstan of Glastonbury, a bright but selfish young man, finds himself hanging from a cliff. Encouraged to fall by his tormentors, who are crushing his fingers as he dangles, Dunstan requests a priest for a final confession. Pulling this "man of the cloth" over the edge with him, he uses the cleric's body to break his impact. Such perceived miracles inform the course of his life until a childhood chum, a grandson of Alfred the Great, suddenly becomes King of England through an untimely death. Visions of a future united England come quickly once Dunstan has the king's ear. Now, a well-placed abbot, Dunstan can unleash his ambitions and raise the funds to build empires for God. However, perpetuated lies come with a consequential price. Best-selling historical novelist Iggulden ("War of the Roses" series) offers a well-paced, believable peek into the brutal and often outright cruel world of tenth-century Europe. His attention to detail is illuminating and never tedious.
VERDICT This gripping saga will appeal to historical fiction buffs, fans of Bernard Cornwell's "Saxon Stories" series, as well as anyone who yearns for a compelling, well-told story.
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