The Abbot’s Tale

Written by Conn Iggulden

Dunstan was an Abbot of Glastonbury, later Archbishop of Canterbury, and was probably born somewhere between AD 910 and AD 920 in Somerset (we don’t know exactly where but probably just outside Glastonbury). In his youth, he was sent to Glastonbury Abbey, with his younger brother Wulfric, to be educated by the monks there. He spent his life in the service of both Glastonbury and the Kings of Wessex, following the death of King Alfred. This book tells of the struggle to unite Wessex with the rest of the country and turn it all into one country—England—and is told through the eyes of Dunstan himself.

This is a book based totally on fact, taken from the various records of the day that still exist. The major characters really lived and only one or two are fictitious, but they blend in perfectly. We all know the story of King Alfred, but on his death the throne passed in relatively quick succession to members of his family—little of this made known in the average school curriculum. Dunstan himself was canonised in 1029.

I learned a great deal from this book. Conn Iggulden, as always, has done his research thoroughly, and the result is a book which is easy to read and very enjoyable.