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Stonehenge is a novel in which historical novelist Bernard Cornwell imaginatively reconstructs the events of forty centuries ago, when the prehistoric site of what is now called Stonehenge was ambitiously rebuilt, with stone monoliths replacing wooden poles.
The plot, from beginning to end:
The main characters of the novel are Saban and Camaban, the young sons of Hengall, tribal chief of Ratharryn. They both outsmart their enemies and survive attempts to kill them. Their main enemy is their older half-brother, Lengar, an ambitious and bloodthirsty man. When an outsider rides into the Old Temple of the tribe, Lengar mercilessly murders him and steals his gold. Lengar then attempts to also murder his younger half-brother Saban, so there will be no witnesses to Lengar's theft of the gold. Lengar plans to use the gold to raise an army and make himself into a power in the land. However, the quick-witted and quick-footed Saban outwits and outruns his brother. Hengall forces Lengar to give up the stolen gold. A disgruntled Lengar defects from the tribe with most of his friends, plotting to return to kill his own father and attack his own former tribesfolk.
Before he is killed by Lengar, Hengall invests some of the gold in rebuilding and improving the Sky Temple. All three of his sons get a turn at reshaping this famous center of worship.
The monument is called "The Old Temple" in the novel. Indeed, at the time of the events, it was already a thousand years old, having been created c. 3000 BC as a circular ditch and bank, with 56 wooden posts.
Lengar becomes chief and sells Saban into slavery. Camaban frees his brother and tells Saban about his plans for a new temple. Saban marries the Sun Bride, but because of their different opinions and status, they slowly fall apart. Together they replace Lengar. Camaban becomes chief, but Saban kills him to protect his daughter. But Saban's daughter gets sacrificed and the Sun Bride, who became Camaban's lover, dies. Saban remarries again, but he still visits his first wife before Lengar killed Hengall. Saban becomes chief.
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