Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Book of the Month - JULY

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Subject: Book of the Month - JULY
Date Posted: 6/16/2008 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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A winner has been chosen! The first BOM is:

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Book Description:

From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today," comes a saga of blood, rage, fidelity, and betrayal that brings to center stage King Alfred the Great, one of the most crucial (but oft-forgotten) figures in English history. It is King Alfred and his heirs who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, with their backs against the wall, fought to secure the survival of the last outpost of Anglo-Saxon culture by battling the ferocious Vikings, whose invading warriors had already captured and occupied three of England's four kingdoms.

Bernard Cornwell's epic novel opens in A.D. 866. Uhtred, a boy of ten and the son of a nobleman, is captured in the same battle that leaves his father dead. His captor is the Earl Ragnar, a Danish chieftain, who raises the boy as his own, teaching him the Viking ways of war. As a young man expected to take part in raids and bloody massacres against the English, he grapples with divided loyalties -- between Ragnar, the warrior he loves like a father, and Alfred, whose piety and introspection leave him cold. It takes a terrible slaughter and the unexpected joys of marriage for Uhtred to discover his true allegiance -- and to rise to his greatest challenge.

In Uhtred, Cornwell has created perhaps his richest and most complex protagonist, and through him, he has magnificently evoked an era steeped in dramatic pageantry and historical significance. For if King Alfred fails to defend his last kingdom, England will be overrun, and the entire course of history will change.

**This book was chosen by a precise and complicated system. My son pulled this slip of paper from a coffee cup. :-)



Last Edited on: 6/16/08 1:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/16/2008 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Awesome!

I'll get a copy.

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,892
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Splendid.  I have this one already so I'm all set :)



Last Edited on: 6/16/08 2:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/16/2008 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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Yay! I just got this whole series a few weeks ago, so I'm set!

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Cool!  My library has this. I'm no. 2 on the waiting list, but I would think I'd have it by the end of the week.  When is everyone going to start reading, and what's the plan?  We just read at our own pace and pop in here to discuss? I've never done this before, so please enlighten me!  Thanks!

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I loved this book. But I'll withhold comment until I see others starting the discussion.

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,493
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I had this one in both hardcover and paperback (I think Holly got my hardcover) so I am ready to go!

 

Cheryl

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I loved this book too! I'm going to do a re-read. I like to re-read anyway if it's been a while, and there has been a new book in the series released.

Shelley, I haven't really got the how we're going to do this figured out yet. You have good questions!

So, how are we going to do this? Read at our own pace? Comment when you choose, and use a "Spoiler for Chapter Whatever alert? Or, would you rather read a certain amount of chapters or pages each week? What do you guys think would work best?

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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I wish I could join.I not sure I could kept up with all the work I have to do for school.

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell does anyone know what all the titles in this series?

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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Anne, the series is as follows:

The Last Kingdom

The Pale Horseman

Lords of the North

Sword Song

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Valli - Personally (and please don't make up the rules on my account, LOL!) I would like to see something where we read X number of pages or chapters or whatever and then discuss.  I realize that means that we HAVE to read, and some may prefer to go at their own pace.  I'm thinking though that if we said "read chapters 1-3 this week" or whatever (1-5, 1-8, whatever works for everyone or maybe break it down by the number of chapters we'd have to read to get the book read in 3 weeks to a month - how many chapters is it, anyway?  how many pages do the chapters average?), that's do-able.  People can feel free to read ahead as long as they keep comments/discussion to the chapters that have already been read.  I'd probably do the number of chapters we decide on and then read another book at the same time if I find I have more time for reading.  I was just thinking we should keep it on the lower end of reasonable as we don't always have the  time to read that we'd like.  I'm thinking this would make it like a book club - although I've never actually been a part of a book club, so I'm not sure how many chapters they read at a time.  LOL!  Someone help me out here.  I'm just throwing out ideas to get us started on thinking about this.  The amount of reading at a time doesn't matter to me - I'll make the time to get it in - I just love the thought of discussing as we read, and I feel like I'll miss some good discussion if we're all reading at our own pace, you know?  If I skipped a post because there was a spoiler alert, I'd be all paranoid that I missed some really good commentary. 

Okay, I'm being a dork!  Someone else throw out some ideas or tell me I'm crazy.  LOL! 

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2005
Posts: 1,080
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Thanks Jennifer  you are always a big help.

Date Posted: 6/16/2008 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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You're welcome Anne!

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Shelley, I like the read as you choose idea, but, you're right, it's not a great way for discussion. The spoiler alerts would really break up the discussion. Assigned weekly chapters would work much better.

This book has eleven chapters, but we could say 12 if we count the prologue as a chapter. If we start reading July 1st, we'd need to read 3 chapters per week. The book is only 330 pages long. We could do it like this:

  • Week One - Read chapter's 1 - 3 ( about 114 pages)
  • Week Two - Ch's 4-6 ( about 97 pages)
  • Week Three - Ch's 7 - 9 ( about 73 pages)
  • Week Four - Ch's 10 - 12  (about 48 pages)

Those page number's per chapter may not be perfectly accurate because I was adding in my head, and it's really too early for me to be thinking, but it should be pretty close. Since the chapter's get shorter as the book goes along, you guys might want to break the chapter's up differently. What does everyone think about this? We could try it this way, and then change it if it doesn't work for everyone next time we choose a BOM. Nothing is set in stone!

Also, if we want to try to do this monthly, someone should start taking nominations for August's book on July 1st to get a good schedule going. I may be looking too far ahead for you, but I thought I'd throw that out there. Michelle, isn't this how they do it at the HF boards? It seems to work pretty well there.

Anne, You could try to read along, but put the book aside for your schoolwork. That is way more important. Between your full-time job and school, I don't know how you have time to read at all! I do hope you can join in though!

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,493
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Valli, I think your breakdown of reading by chapters is just fine.  People can read ahead if they choose, but let's not comment on other chapters till we all get to them.  That way everyone can join in the discussion and people can still read more or less at their own pace around their own schedules.  I was also starting to think ahead to August and what we might want to read so everyone has a little more time to find the book chosen.

 

Cheryl



Last Edited on: 6/17/08 9:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/17/2008 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 2,940
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I have the first 3 books in the series.  Now I just need to find them...  :-)

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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The Chapter plan sounds good.

Is there a wishlist on the book so we can glut the system at the end of July? Grin!

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Valli - Yeah, that sounds great!  Totally do-able.  Like you say, we can try it and tweak and fine tune as we go.  Thanks for coordinating this!  You're right to already be looking ahead to August.  I'm staying out of all nominations as I'm relatively new to HF.  I'll just go with the flow! 

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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I guess we need to start taking volunteers for August's BOM so we can start nominating books and stuff, huh?

 

I will volunteer.

 

Also, someone mentioned themes earlier, and I think that is a good idea. Maybe August can be Egyptian HF month, September can be French HF month, and so on. At least, it sounds good to me.



Last Edited on: 6/17/08 1:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/17/2008 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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This all sounds great! I like the theme idea. The person that volunteers to do the nominations can choose a theme, or not, if they don't want one. We should leave it up to each volunteer for the month.

We already have a volunteer for August! This is gonna be fun!

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
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There are short wish-list lines for  "The Last Kingdom" - 5 for the hardcover and 6 for the trade paperback.

I'm excited about this choice. I've been wanting to get to this series for awhile. I read Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy when the books first came out and loved them.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,493
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Hurray Jennifer!!  I was hoping someone would want to do an "ancient" theme book.  Do we want to try a new publication or an old one?

 

Cheryl

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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Well, I would have chosen an "ancient" themed book this month, but I couldn't find one under 400 pages. And also, it seems that most people on here read mainly Medieval/ European HF, so I didn't know if people would like something like that. I think it would be interesting to read a few HF books that aren't in the mainstream, like China or India.

Date Posted: 6/17/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Does it have to be under 400 pages? I suggested a short book this time because I thought it would be easier for our very first book of the month. 

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