Dunstan lived in the 10th Century and was later canonised – the patron saint of blacksmiths. Conn Iggulden gives us a version of Dunstan’s life that is far from saintly.
Dunstan and his brother Wulfric joined the monks at Glastonbury from an early age to receive an education. Dunstan was immediately interested in engineering, medicine and other fields and was also quite brilliant. But he was also very ambitious and extremely ruthless in getting his own way.
He worked his was to the royal court where he served 5 different kings. His conflict with one of them was so severe that he was banished from England. He saw the creation of a united England under King Aethelstan.
He also became Abbot of Glastonbury and designed and built it’s Cathedral. He was Archbishop of Canterbury and for a while he was the King’s treasurer.
But in this version of his life, we see a man so ambitious that he will do anything, including murder, to achieve his goals.
Conn Iggulden is one of the best writers of historical fiction that I know and he has made it easy for us to believe that this is an actual account of Dunstan’s life. I would prefer to believe that he was a bit more saintly.
As always with Iggulden’s novels, this one was a pleasure to read and I look forward to his next novel.
Book Published 2017