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Adult fiction: Myth and Legend

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Page: 123

Tales Of Cú Chulaind

Author: Jeffrey Gantz

Publisher: Penguin (1995)

The culture of ancient Ireland preserved The stories in this collection were first written down in the eighth century ad but date back to seven centuries before Christ. They centre on the deeds of Cú Chulaind, an Ulster chieftain who grew from a fearless boy to a terrifying warrior. Told in a unique style that blends romanticism with realism and heroism with humour, they are among the earliest voices of Western civilization. They are taken from the Penguin Classic Early Irish Myths and Sagas.

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The Adventures Of Robin Hood

Authors: Patricia Leitch, Peter Archer

Publisher: Fontana Books (1979)

In the cruel, dark days of King John, the poor people of England were taxed to starvation, while the rich barons lived off the fat of the land. One man was bold enough to fight back. Robin of Loxley, once a nobleman and now a fugitive in Sherwood Forest, gathered about him the finest archers and swordsmen in the land, all sworn to righting injustice. No wealthy lord or abbot who ventured through the forest was safe from the cunning of Robin Hood, and many a peasant, later finding a gold coin on his doorstep, had cause to bless him and his daring followers. But life in the forest was full of danger, for Robin’s enemies would stop at nothing to capture him ...

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The Bear And The Nightingale

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Del Rey (2017)

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church. But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods...

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The Buried Giant

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Publisher: Faber & Faber (2016)

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

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The King Must Die

Author: Mary Renault

Publisher: Four Square (1961)

Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery - can he really be the son of the god Poseidon? When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother must reveal his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begins Theseus's perilous journey to his father's palace to claim his birth right, escaping bandits and ritual king sacrifice in Eleusis, to slaying the Minotaur in Crete. Renault reimagines the Theseus myth, creating an original, exciting story.

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The Last Kingdom

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Part of a series: The Last Kingdom

Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)

Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault. The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance. The Last Kingdom, like most of Bernard Cornwell's books, is firmly based on true history. It is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants and of the enemies they faced, Viking warriors like Ivar the Boneless and his feared brother, Ubba. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most powerful and passionate novels.

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The Lords Of The North

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Part of a series: The Warrior Chronilces/Saxon Stories

Publisher: Harper (2007)

From Bernard Cornwell, the undisputed master of historical fiction, hailed as "the direct heir to Patrick O'Brien,"* comes the third volume in the exhilarating Saxon Chronicles: the story of the birth of England as the Saxons struggle to repel the Danish invaders. The year is 878, and as Lords of the North begins, the Saxons of Wessex, under King Alfred, have defeated the Danes to keep their kingdom free. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, helped Alfred win that victory, but now he is disgusted by Alfred's lack of generosity. Uhtred flees Wessex, going north to search for his stepsister, who was taken prisoner by Kjartan the Cruel, a Danish lord who lurks in the formidable stronghold of Dunholm. Uhtred arrives in the north to discover rebellion, chaos, and fear. His only ally is Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling, and his best hope is his sword, Serpent-Breath, with which he has made a notable reputation as a warrior. He needs other partners if he is to attack Dunholm, and chooses Guthred, a seemingly deluded slave who believes he is a king. Together they cross the Pennines, where fanatical Christians and beleaguered Danes have formed a desperate alliance to confront the terrible Viking lords who rule Northumbria. Instead of victory Uhtred finds betrayal. But he also discovers love and redemption as he is forced to turn once again to his reluctant ally, Alfred the Great. It is Alfred who sees opportunity in Northumbria's chaos, and Alfred who looses Uhtred and his stepbrother, Ragnar, onto Dunholm, the invincible fortress on its great spur of rock. A breathtaking adventure, Lords of the North is also the story of the creation of England, as the English and Danes fight against each other, but also find common cause and create a common language. In the end they will become one people, but as Uhtred will discover, their union is forged through the white heat of battle.

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The Odyssey

Author: Homer

Publisher: Penguin (2003)

Homer's great epic describes the many adventures of Odysseus, Greek warrior, as he strives over many years to return to his home island of Ithaca after the Trojan War. His colourful adventures, his endurance, his love for his wife and son have the same power to move and inspire readers today as they did in Archaic Greece, 2800 years ago.

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The Pale Horseman

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Part of a series: The Last Kingdom

Publisher: HarperCollins (2006)

The second book in Bernard Cornwell’s epic and bestselling series on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

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The Seven Voyages Of Sindbad The Sailor

Author: N J Dawood

Publisher: Penguin Books (1995)

This is a well-known story is taken from "The One Thousand and One Nights".

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