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Re: [histfict] Newbie Sticking Her Head Above The Parapet

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  • Jen Black
    Hi Anne G, I don t know why Severin s books were hailed as such bestsellers. They had eyecatching covers, but much of the story came from the Icelandic tales
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 1, 2007
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      Hi Anne G,
      I don't know why Severin's books were hailed as such bestsellers. They had
      eyecatching covers, but much of the story came from the Icelandic tales
      (Edgil's Saga, perhaps? Memory uncertain here) and they really were a
      travelogue, weren't they! I agree absolutely about book buying and I must
      come clean and admit my nearest and dearest bought me the first Uhtred as a
      present. I use the library regularly - well, I have to as an ex-library
      manager, don't I? I couldn't live without it LOL

      BTW the eldest son sent me a snippet and I think some of you might be
      interested in it, too. Here's the link:

      ** 10 ways to get you to read a book **
      As the Booker Prize looms, every competing publisher has every finger
      crossed that their book will be boosted into the stratosphere. But what are
      the reasons a book sells well?
      < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/magazine/7046677.stm >

      Jen
      Jen Black
      http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Anne Gilbert
      Jen: Severin admitted in his first book, that his Viking stories were based, in part on Egil s Saga. Which is fine, as far as it goes. I ve bought
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 1, 2007
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        Jen:

        Severin admitted in his first book, that his Viking stories were based, in part on Egil's Saga. Which is fine, as far as it goes. I've bought "clunkers", mainly because somebody recommended them, but I still, primarily use the library for fiction. Research type books are another story. I don't mind spending money on hard-to-obtain research material, or things that I will probably be referring to frequently. Your son sent an interesting "snippet", and some of the ways to get people to read books are interesting, but for some types of writing, I have my doubts. Most small book clubs and larger venues like Oprah's Book Club are skewed heavily toward literary fiction, which is fine, if that's what you like reading, or like writing. People who are doing writing of other types have a harder time, but some of the other suggestions are good.
        Anne G

        Hi Anne G,
        I don't know why Severin's books were hailed as such bestsellers. They had
        eyecatching covers, but much of the story came from the Icelandic tales
        (Edgil's Saga, perhaps? Memory uncertain here) and they really were a
        travelogue, weren't they! I agree absolutely about book buying and I must
        come clean and admit my nearest and dearest bought me the first Uhtred as a
        present. I use the library regularly - well, I have to as an ex-library
        manager, don't I? I couldn't live without it LOL

        BTW the eldest son sent me a snippet and I think some of you might be
        interested in it, too. Here's the link:

        ** 10 ways to get you to read a book **
        As the Booker Prize looms, every competing publisher has every finger
        crossed that their book will be boosted into the stratosphere. But what are
        the reasons a book sells well?
        < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/magazine/7046677.stm >

        Jen
        Jen Black
        http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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      • Julie Goldsworth
        ... may ... Helen J Nicholson is an academic researcher and has written an excellent book about the Knights Templar, called, oddly enough, The Knights
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
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          --- In histfict@yahoogroups.com, "hiraeth2" <hiraeth2@...> wrote:
          >
          > I think with all the Dan Browns etc of the writing world today, we
          may
          > never actually know what the Templers were really like.
          >
          > Tracy-Anne
          >

          Helen J Nicholson is an academic researcher and has written an
          excellent book about the Knights Templar, called, oddly enough, "The
          Knights Templar, A New History". She did actual research in the old
          world going through tax records and property records and court papers.

          She has also written dozens of other books on related subjects. If
          anyone truly wants to know about the Knights Templar, the information
          is out there.
        • daphne sayed
          There is also an excellent new book by Sharan Newman on the Templars. Daphne. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam?
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 8, 2007
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            There is also an excellent new book by Sharan Newman on the Templars.

            Daphne.




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          • carlanayland
            ... take me a ... clothes - ... lost ... of the ... couldn t warm ... Alfred was a ... don t ... Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell s portrayal of
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 9, 2007
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              --- In histfict@yahoogroups.com, "Jen Black" <jen.black11@...> wrote:
              >
              > Anita, I thought you always were here!
              >
              > I'm just back from spending most of October in France, so it'll
              take me a
              > day or two to catch up, but I'm here - drowning in washing dirty
              clothes -
              > and with the ironing still to come - argh...
              >
              > I read the the first two Uhtred novels (Cornwell) and gradually
              lost
              > interest, so I haven't bothered with the last one even though part
              of the
              > story is back in the north east again.
              > There's something very calculated about the characters and I
              couldn't warm
              > to any of them, not even Uhtred, I'm afraid. And I do hope that
              Alfred was a
              > tad more charismatic - I wondered, as I read, why men like Uhtred
              don't
              > knock him over and take his place.
              >
              > Jen
              >
              > Jen Black
              > (http://www.jenblackauthor.blogspot.com)
              >
              Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred, too -
              glad to see I'm not the only one! I don't mind Alfred being more of
              a thinker than a warrior, but he must surely have had some leadership
              qualities or he wouldn't have been able to raise an army and come
              back from defeat as he did. I've been trying to think why I've found
              this series disappointing. I really wanted to like it, because I'm
              fascinated by Anglo-Saxon England and Cornwell's Sharpe novels are
              among my favourites, but I've found it flat (read the first two and
              part of the the third so far). I wonder if it might be because it's
              told in first person so I have to see everything through Uhtred's
              eyes, and as I haven't fallen head-over-heels for Uhtred I'm not
              finding him that compelling a character. I keep wanting to see what
              everyone else thought of Alfred, and it's frustrating that I can't.
              What do you think?
              -Carla
              Blog: http://carlanayland.blogsspot.com
              Website: www.carlanayland.org
            • Jen Black
              Hi Carla, I don t mind if Alfred was both thinker and warrior - I hope he was; I think he must have been, though these novels do not portray him as such. I
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 9, 2007
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                Hi Carla,
                I don't mind if Alfred was both thinker and warrior - I hope he was; I think
                he must have been, though these novels do not portray him as such.
                I wanted to like the series, too and flat is a good way to describe them. A
                good actor would bring it to life, perhaps, but Uhtred is such a one
                dimensional character that it is hard to remember him except as an excellent
                warrior, which is all he wants to be. He doesn't seem to have much in the
                way of feelings, or they're played down to such an extent that they seem
                non-existent.
                The things he is doing don't really interest me all that much, either. I
                guess there are men's stories and women's stories and to me, Cornwell always
                seems to write for men. His attempt at Arthur is pitiful in that he's built
                a character, certainly, but one that I find is not believable when set
                against what the historical man accomplished.
                I cannot clain to have read any biogs of Arthur, but anyone who inspired the
                legends we have has got to be more than the man Cornwell gives us.

                OTOH, perhaps we are just a nation of great legend-makers. Robin Hood,
                anyone?

                Jen


                Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred, too -
                glad to see I'm not the only one! I don't mind Alfred being more of
                a thinker than a warrior, but he must surely have had some leadership
                qualities or he wouldn't have been able to raise an army and come
                back from defeat as he did. I've been trying to think why I've found
                this series disappointing. I really wanted to like it, because I'm
                fascinated by Anglo-Saxon England and Cornwell's Sharpe novels are
                among my favourites, but I've found it flat (read the first two and
                part of the the third so far). I wonder if it might be because it's
                told in first person so I have to see everything through Uhtred's
                eyes, and as I haven't fallen head-over-heels for Uhtred I'm not
                finding him that compelling a character. I keep wanting to see what
                everyone else thought of Alfred, and it's frustrating that I can't.
                What do you think?

                There's something very calculated about the characters and I
                couldn't warm to any of them, not even Uhtred, I'm afraid. And I do hope
                that
                Alfred was a tad more charismatic - I wondered, as I read, why men like
                Uhtred
                don't knock him over and take his place.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anne Gilbert
                Jen and Carla: I ve probably raised this somewhere else, but I pretty much had the same reaction to Cornwell s portrayal of Alfred as the two of you! It just
                Message 7 of 25 , Nov 9, 2007
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                  Jen and Carla:

                  I've probably raised this somewhere else, but I pretty much had the same reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred as the two of you! It just doesn't quite fit what I know about him! Not that I know all that much. Quite frankly, the way Cornwell portrays Alfred, I don't see how he could have fought his way out of a paper bag, let alone beat back the Danes. Of course, he did foster education, but that hardly means he was the wimp he was portrayed here. BTW, Sword Song is coming to a library near me in January, so I guess I'll have to read it. I do like Cornwell, generally, as a writer.
                  Anne G


                  >
                  Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred, too -
                  glad to see I'm not the only one! I don't mind Alfred being more of
                  a thinker than a warrior, but he must surely have had some leadership
                  qualities or he wouldn't have been able to raise an army and come
                  back from defeat as he did. I've been trying to think why I've found
                  this series disappointing. I really wanted to like it, because I'm
                  fascinated by Anglo-Saxon England and Cornwell's Sharpe novels are
                  among my favourites, but I've found it flat (read the first two and
                  part of the the third so far). I wonder if it might be because it's
                  told in first person so I have to see everything through Uhtred's
                  eyes, and as I haven't fallen head-over-heels for Uhtred I'm not
                  finding him that compelling a character. I keep wanting to see what
                  everyone else thought of Alfred, and it's frustrating that I can't.
                  What do you think?






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                • carlanayland
                  Hi Jen I ve liked many of Cornwell s other action novels, such as the first Sharpe series, so in my case I don t think it s his focus on action that s leaving
                  Message 8 of 25 , Nov 10, 2007
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                    Hi Jen

                    I've liked many of Cornwell's other action novels, such as the first
                    Sharpe series, so in my case I don't think it's his focus on action
                    that's leaving me cold. I think you're right about Uhtred being one-
                    dimensional, perhaps more so than some of Cornwell's other male
                    action heroes. I wonder if that's because he's still an adolescent
                    in the first two books? Maybe he'll grow up a bit in the later books
                    and become less of a brat. It's also compounded for me by being
                    first-person, so I never get out of Uhtred's head.

                    Arthur or Alfred? I liked Cornwell's Arthur series noticeably better
                    than the Uhtred series - it's a while since I read it, but as I
                    remember he managed to make Derfel an important warrior without
                    belittling Arthur. Lancelot got the wimp treatment there!

                    Alfred might have spun his actual achievements up into a legend, but
                    there must have been something there to start with. If people hadn't
                    thought he was worth following, they'd surely just have ignored him
                    when he was hiding on Athelney and either tried another leader or
                    made the best deal they could with the Danes.

                    -Carla

                    --- In histfict@yahoogroups.com, "Jen Black" <jen.black11@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Carla,
                    > I don't mind if Alfred was both thinker and warrior - I hope he
                    was; I think
                    > he must have been, though these novels do not portray him as such.
                    > I wanted to like the series, too and flat is a good way to describe
                    them. A
                    > good actor would bring it to life, perhaps, but Uhtred is such a
                    one
                    > dimensional character that it is hard to remember him except as an
                    excellent
                    > warrior, which is all he wants to be. He doesn't seem to have much
                    in the
                    > way of feelings, or they're played down to such an extent that they
                    seem
                    > non-existent.
                    > The things he is doing don't really interest me all that much,
                    either. I
                    > guess there are men's stories and women's stories and to me,
                    Cornwell always
                    > seems to write for men. His attempt at Arthur is pitiful in that
                    he's built
                    > a character, certainly, but one that I find is not believable when
                    set
                    > against what the historical man accomplished.
                    > I cannot clain to have read any biogs of Arthur, but anyone who
                    inspired the
                    > legends we have has got to be more than the man Cornwell gives us.
                    >
                    > OTOH, perhaps we are just a nation of great legend-makers. Robin
                    Hood,
                    > anyone?
                    >
                    > Jen
                    >
                    >
                    > Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred,
                    too -
                    > glad to see I'm not the only one! I don't mind Alfred being more of
                    > a thinker than a warrior, but he must surely have had some
                    leadership
                    > qualities or he wouldn't have been able to raise an army and come
                    > back from defeat as he did. I've been trying to think why I've found
                    > this series disappointing. I really wanted to like it, because I'm
                    > fascinated by Anglo-Saxon England and Cornwell's Sharpe novels are
                    > among my favourites, but I've found it flat (read the first two and
                    > part of the the third so far). I wonder if it might be because it's
                    > told in first person so I have to see everything through Uhtred's
                    > eyes, and as I haven't fallen head-over-heels for Uhtred I'm not
                    > finding him that compelling a character. I keep wanting to see what
                    > everyone else thought of Alfred, and it's frustrating that I can't.
                    > What do you think?
                    >
                    > There's something very calculated about the characters and I
                    > couldn't warm to any of them, not even Uhtred, I'm afraid. And I
                    do hope
                    > that
                    > Alfred was a tad more charismatic - I wondered, as I read, why
                    men like
                    > Uhtred
                    > don't knock him over and take his place.
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                  • carlanayland
                    Anne - I generally like Bernard Cornwell s novels too, so I ll probably stick with the series (from a library!) and see if Uhtred gets more interesting as he
                    Message 9 of 25 , Nov 10, 2007
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                      Anne - I generally like Bernard Cornwell's novels too, so I'll
                      probably stick with the series (from a library!) and see if Uhtred
                      gets more interesting as he grows up, or if another main character
                      appears on the scene. I have hopes of Aethelflaed Lady of the
                      Mercians (Alfred's daughter) playing a major role later. Maybe it's
                      possible that a more mature Uhtred might give us a more plausible
                      picture of Alfred.
                      -Carla

                      --- In histfict@yahoogroups.com, "Anne Gilbert" <avgilbert@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Jen and Carla:
                      >
                      > I've probably raised this somewhere else, but I pretty much had the
                      same reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred as the two of you!
                      It just doesn't quite fit what I know about him! Not that I know all
                      that much. Quite frankly, the way Cornwell portrays Alfred, I don't
                      see how he could have fought his way out of a paper bag, let alone
                      beat back the Danes. Of course, he did foster education, but that
                      hardly means he was the wimp he was portrayed here. BTW, Sword Song
                      is coming to a library near me in January, so I guess I'll have to
                      read it. I do like Cornwell, generally, as a writer.
                      > Anne G
                      >
                      >
                      > >
                      > Jen: I had a similar reaction to Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred,
                      too -
                      > glad to see I'm not the only one! I don't mind Alfred being more
                      of
                      > a thinker than a warrior, but he must surely have had some
                      leadership
                      > qualities or he wouldn't have been able to raise an army and come
                      > back from defeat as he did. I've been trying to think why I've
                      found
                      > this series disappointing. I really wanted to like it, because
                      I'm
                      > fascinated by Anglo-Saxon England and Cornwell's Sharpe novels
                      are
                      > among my favourites, but I've found it flat (read the first two
                      and
                      > part of the the third so far). I wonder if it might be because
                      it's
                      > told in first person so I have to see everything through Uhtred's
                      > eyes, and as I haven't fallen head-over-heels for Uhtred I'm not
                      > finding him that compelling a character. I keep wanting to see
                      what
                      > everyone else thought of Alfred, and it's frustrating that I
                      can't.
                      > What do you think?
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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                    • DynamisImmortal@aol.com
                      I see that most of you have read the second book. Congratulations, you have more fortitude than me. I read the first one, and have not picked up another.
                      Message 10 of 25 , Nov 10, 2007
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                        I see that most of you have read the second book. Congratulations, you have
                        more fortitude than me. I read the first one, and have not picked up
                        another. Alfred was a strong man, a strong king, and must have been
                        extraordinarily charismatic. He brought Wessex back from the brink, sponsored the
                        promulgation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and patronized other writers. Remember,
                        he is the only English king to earn the nickname "the Great." Even Elizabeth
                        I didn't do that. I've read that he has a very sensitive stomach and may
                        have suffered from migraines, but he overcame his physical ailments and
                        persevered.

                        Okay, stepping off my soapbox.

                        I liked Cornwell's Arthur series, but the battle details in the Sharpe books
                        are just a bit too tedious for me.

                        Becky



                        ************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com


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                      • Anne Gilbert
                        Carla: Maybe you re right. Maybe Cornwell will grow Uhtred more mature as the series continues. I hope so. I m going to read Sword Song. But I m going to
                        Message 11 of 25 , Nov 10, 2007
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                          Carla:

                          Maybe you're right. Maybe Cornwell will "grow" Uhtred more mature as the series continues. I hope so. I'm going to read Sword Song. But I'm going to have to wait until at least January to do that, because Cornwell is not, for me, a "buy" author. So I'm going to get the rest of this series out of the local library, where they won't be stocking it till January.
                          Anne G



                          Anne - I generally like Bernard Cornwell's novels too, so I'll
                          probably stick with the series (from a library!) and see if Uhtred
                          gets more interesting as he grows up, or if another main character
                          appears on the scene. I have hopes of Aethelflaed Lady of the
                          Mercians (Alfred's daughter) playing a major role later. Maybe it's
                          possible that a more mature Uhtred might give us a more plausible
                          picture of Alfred.

                          .




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                        • carlanayland
                          There s a medical theory that Alfred suffered from Crohn s Disease, which I find persuasive. I will probably keep reading the series to see what happens next,
                          Message 12 of 25 , Nov 14, 2007
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                            There's a medical theory that Alfred suffered from Crohn's Disease,
                            which I find persuasive. I will probably keep reading the series to
                            see what happens next, just in case the portrayal of Alfred starts to
                            become more credible. I generally like Bernard Cornwell as a
                            storyteller. The battle scenes are certainly a bit on the lengthy
                            side (!) but with the Sharpe series his knowledge of the battlefields
                            and tactics of the Peninsualar War is evidently encyclopaedic, and
                            that attracts me (I have a long-standing interest in Wellington as a
                            commander).
                            -Carla


                            --- In histfict@yahoogroups.com, DynamisImmortal@... wrote:
                            >
                            > I see that most of you have read the second book.
                            Congratulations, you have
                            > more fortitude than me. I read the first one, and have not picked
                            up
                            > another. Alfred was a strong man, a strong king, and must have
                            been
                            > extraordinarily charismatic. He brought Wessex back from the
                            brink, sponsored the
                            > promulgation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and patronized other
                            writers. Remember,
                            > he is the only English king to earn the nickname "the Great."
                            Even Elizabeth
                            > I didn't do that. I've read that he has a very sensitive stomach
                            and may
                            > have suffered from migraines, but he overcame his physical
                            ailments and
                            > persevered.
                            >
                            > Okay, stepping off my soapbox.
                            >
                            > I liked Cornwell's Arthur series, but the battle details in the
                            Sharpe books
                            > are just a bit too tedious for me.
                            >
                            > Becky
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ************************************** See what's new at
                            http://www.aol.com
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
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