The Shining Company

The Shining Company

by Rosemary Sutcliff


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Life is secure and peaceful for young Prosper, second son of Gerontius, until the day Prince Gorthyn arrives with his hunting party. Prosper's unusual daring in the hunt catches the prince's attention, and he promises to make Prosper his shield-bearer when he comes of age. Two years later, three hundred princes are summoned to the king's fortress at Dyn Eidin, where they will prepare to fight the Saxon forces which are gaining strength in the east. Prosper, with Conn, his bondservant, leaves his father's lands to join Gorthyn in the rigorous training for battle. With the coming of spring, word reaches the Three Hundred Companions that the Saxon leader has taken yet another kingdom. They set out at once for the Saxon stronghold of Catraeth, where Prosper must face the greatest challenges of his life.

Adventure and heroism against impossible odds create a moving, robust tale set in Britain in the eighth century and based on actual events.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374466169
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/01/1992
Series: Sunburst Book
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,195,539
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.78(d)
Lexile: 1240L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) wrote dozens of books for young readers, including her award-winning Roman Britain trilogy, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers, which won the Carnegie Medal. The Eagle of the Ninth is now a major motion picture, The Eagle, directed by Kevin MacDonald and starring Channing Tatum. Born in Surrey, Sutcliff spent her childhood in Malta and on various other naval bases where her father was stationed. At a young age, she contracted Still's Disease, which confined her to a wheelchair for most of her life. Shortly before her death, she was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) one of Britain's most prestigious honors. She died in West Sussex, England, in 1992.

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions for

The Shining Company

Discuss the relationship between Prosper and his father. Explain what Prosper means when he says, "I have said that my father had little love for me, and that is true, but it is true also that I always had justice from him." [p. 42]

For his twelfth birthday, Prosper's father gives him a body servant. Explain the role of a body servant in Prosper's culture. What is Prosper's attitude toward the servant? How does his attitude indicate that he is not quite ready to deal with a servant?

Prosper learns that Prince Gorthyn plans to hunt the white hart. Discuss what happens on the hunt. How does Prosper change as a result of the hunt? What is the purpose of the "song"

written after a hunt? Explain what Prosper means when he says, "Gwyn will just have to change the end of the song." [p. 59]

What is the role of a shieldbearer? Compare and contrast how the training for shieldbearer is similar to the training for manhood in

Prosper's culture. Discuss how the shieldbearer training leads to cavalry training.

At the end of the training the men begin "to knit together into something whole and complete." [p. 98] What is the difference between being "whole" and being "complete"?

Locate and discuss scenes in the novel where the men appear to be both.

Explain Ceredig Fosterling's words, "To be a bard is a greater thing than to be a warrior."

[p. 224]

Discuss the circumstances that cause Prosper and Conn to part ways. How does Conn come back into Prosper's life? What is the greatest gift that Prosper gives to Conn at the end of the novel?

Cynan tells King Mynyddog that he has three reasons for wanting to leave Dyn Eidin.

Discuss each of his reasons. Why is his third reason the one that really sends him away?

What are Prosper's reasons for joining Cynan?

The Shining Company deals with the themes of man vs. man, man vs. self, and man vs.

nature. Discuss how Sutcliff develops each of these themes. Which is the most central theme

of the novel?

Customer Reviews

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Shining Company 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very enjoyable read. Not very intense or action-packed, yet well paced and precise with a good sense of direction that still doesn't give the end away. It is somewhat uneventful in the beginning, but the climactic final is what makes this story worthwhile. Set in the Dark Ages, AD 600, and based on the earliest surviving North Britain poem, The Gododdin, this is the well told tale of a brotherhood who gave up their lives for an ungrateful kingdom whom they loved. If this story fails in anything, it is in the somewhat blunt way our character, Prosper, relates it. Not that it was bad I just saw areas where the author could have 'enhanced' certain emotions and feelings. But the story mostly speaks for itself in emotion and feeling, and Rosemary does convey a good amount of thought throughout the tale. Read it.
gwernin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Y Gododdin - of the three hundred British warriors who rode from Dun Eidyn (modern Edinburgh) to Catraeth (possibly Catterick in Yorkshire) in order to fight the Saxon incomers there, perhaps a hundred years after King Arthur. Their tale survives only in the long poem, or rather collection of poems, written by Aneirin their bard. The story is told here by one of the shield-bearers - secondary fighters who supported the warriors, rather like squires to a knight. Long may they all be remembered!
HCE2 More than 1 year ago
It is a shame that a wonderful author like Rosemary Sutcliff is unknown to so many readers. I love her writing, and this story is both an easy read and an interesting view of the early years after the Romans left Britain. The author makes her characters come alive, and the story is compelling and sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story of an attempt to prevent the saxons from overwhellming the island of britain, this book is great for all who like historical fiction, or fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great Book!!!!!!!! Would reccomend to anyone 1 of the best books ive ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very intresting and i Could barely put it down. It is one of the best books i have read in very long time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Shining Company is an amazing tale of a boy Prosper, three hundred companions, and their shield bearers, who set off on a heroic tale to stop a rising Saxon threat. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
DO NOT READ can cause death from boredom. The Shining Company was the worst ¿book¿ I ever read. It is so dull I kept on drifting to sleep while reading it. The description of the settings was average and the character development was lame. Best friends the three main character promise not to separate and the next day the boys ditch the girl and leave. In the first three quarters of this fire starter nothing happen except for a menial dilemma when a prince went hunting. This problem took me twenty minutes to read, I am a fast reader, and I kept on day dreaming. I never day dream when reading good books. A fifty page essay written about two centimeter by two centimeter square is more enthralling than most of this book. The conclusion was bad ether there is a sequel or the author sucks at conclusions, because it left the reader hanging. The only action was two, yes folks I said two, battles they were lame void of good description and short, yes the action was over in a page or two. Anyone who liked this piece of¿ well I can¿t think of the word¿ 'I could if I swore' are ¿uh¿ people who like bad books. This is a great bed time story for hyper active seven year olds with A.D.D they will be sleeping in a couple paragraphs. Anyone under ten years of age reading this has a risk of death. At the age of ten to twelve could risk in brain damage, anyone older will be prone to severe boredom.