Melvyn Bragg's acclaimed epic novel is set at the tumultuous dawn of Christianity in Britain and Ireland. It is a stunning story of adventure and spirituality, war and romance, but it is deeply rooted in Bragg's historical studies of the Dark Ages, and it throws into question our modern-day conceptions of faith, hope, and true love.
Two people destined to be lovers sacrifice themselves for what they believe to be a greater destiny. For the warrior Padric, a charismatic British prince, it is the salvation of his people and homeland from warring Northumbrian overlords; for Bega, a bewitching Irish princess, it is carrying out her self-imposed commitment to spread the word of God. She, bearing a fragment of the true cross, is gifted with miraculous powers; he is a swordsman without peer. Their disparate missions send them apart as they travel throughout the frigid wilderness of a primitive England beset by terror and villainy. Faith is pitched against doubt, spiritual fulfillment against physical desire, romantic ideals against political expediency and pragmatism against theory.
The Sword and the Miracle rose quickly to the top of the British bestseller lists, heralded by critics as an absorbing, wonderfully evocative work, several cuts above contemporary attempts at historical fiction. The reader will find an exciting narrative informed by insight, knowledge and understanding.
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"A gripping, deeply accomplished work...Bragg has fashioned a fictional tale set in the years 657-683 which reveals his deep understanding of the period and its people...The author can now add the mantle of Mary Renault and Alfred Duggan to his other trophies."
--The Evening Standard
"An absorbing epic...as splendid a ripping yarn as any of the best classics...The violence is truly awe-inspiring, the battles magnificent."
"Wonderfully evocative and passionate."
"Bragg, an appealing, intelligent interviewer on cable's South Bank Show...now finds time to turn out a giant historical set in Britain's Dark Ages....Serio-escapist fiction void of bodice-ripping, free of cliches, clean-limbed in style: a rich and powerful plunge into the Dark Ages."
"Bragg's superb portrait of a heroic woman torn between marriage and religion distinguishes this book in the crowded field of early medieval chronicles."
Melvyn Bragg is renowned for his filmed features and interviews with writers, artists and actors on his long-running British television program The South Bank Show. His interest in the Dark Ages began during his studies at Oxford University and his idea for The Sword and the Miracle emanated from his discovery of a small church dedicated to St. Bega, near his hometown in England's Lake District. One of the most prominent figures in British media and arts, he is the chairman of the hit BBC radio series Start of the Week and controller of arts at London Weekend Television. He lives in Hampstead Hill Gardens, London.
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