Expeditions Unpacked: What the Great Explorers Took into the Unknown

Expeditions Unpacked: What the Great Explorers Took into the Unknown

by Ed Stafford


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★ 2020-07-01
Murder, sex, and unholy ambition threaten to overwhelm the glimmers of light in Dark Ages England in this prequel to The Pillars of the Earth (1989).

A Viking raid in 997 C.E. kills Edgar’s one true love, Sungifu, and he vows never to love another—but come on, he’s only 18. The young man is a talented builder who has strong personal values. Weighing the consequences of helping a slave escape, he muses, “Perhaps there were principles more important than the rule of law.” Meanwhile, Lady Ragna is a beautiful French noblewoman who comes to Shiring, marries the local ealdorman, Wilwulf, and starts a family. Much of the action takes place in Dreng’s Ferry, a tiny hamlet with “half a dozen houses and a church.” Dreng is a venal, vicious ferryman who hurls his slave’s newborn child into a river and is only one of several characters whose death readers will eagerly root for. Bishop Wynstan lusts to become an archbishop and will crush anyone who stands in his way. He clashes with Ragna as she announces she is lord of the Vale of Outhen. “Wait!” he says to the people, “Are you going to be ruled by a mere woman?” (Wynstan’s fate is delicious.) Aldred is a kindly monk who harbors an unrequited love for Edgar, who in turn loves Ragna but knows it’s hopeless: Although widowed after Wilwulf’s sudden death, she remains above Edgar’s station. There are plenty of other colorful people in this richly told, complex story: slaves, rapists, fornicators, nobles, murderers, kind and decent people, and men of the cloth with “Whore’s Leprosy.” The plot at its core, though, is boy meets girl—OK, Edgar meets Ragna—and a whole lot of trouble stands in the way of their happiness. They are attractive and sympathetic protagonists, and more’s the pity they’re stuck in the 11th century. Readers may guess the ending well before Page 900—yes, it’s that long—but Follett is a powerful storyteller who will hold their attention anyway.

Follett's fans will enjoy this jaunt through the days before England was merry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781318782
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 546,949
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Ed Stafford is the Guinness World Record-holding first person to walk the Amazon River. Sir Ranulph Fiennes described his expedition as being “truly extraordinary… in the top league of expeditions past and present.” A former British Army captain, Ed filmed and blogged his deadly journey and engaged followers all over the world for almost two-and-a-half years. His footage was made into a Discovery Channel documentary and was sold to over 100 countries and he authored the best-selling book, Walking the Amazon. Ed has gone on to film seven survival series and is now an established face of Discovery Channel, and his seventh series, Ed Stafford: First Man Out, aired in late 2018 globally. 

Read an Excerpt

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, a thrilling and addictive new novel—a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth—set in England at the dawn of a new era: the Middle Ages

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.

In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined. A young boatbuilder's life is turned upside down when the only home he's ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land, but the customs of her husband's homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power.

Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Now, Follett's masterful new prequel The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 6,
Nellie Bly Round the world in 72 days, 14,
Captain Robert Falcon Scott Race to the Pole: Terra Nova expedition, 20,
Roald Amundsen Race to the Pole: Norwegian expedition, 30,
Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett Search for the lost city of 'Z', 38,
Eva Dickson First woman to cross the Sahara by car, 46,
Clärenore Stinnes First circumnavigation of the globe by production car, 52,
Amelia Earhart First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, 60,
Thor Heyerdahl Kon-Tiki expedition, 68,
Jacques Cousteau First underwater archaeology operation, 78,
Sir Edmund Hillary Everest first ascent, 84,
Tim Slessor London to Singapore by Land Rover, 94,
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston First solo-sailed circumnavigation of the globe, 104,
Robyn Davidson Trek across the deserts of west Australia using camels, 114,
Sir Ranulph Fiennes Transglobe expedition, 126,
Reinhold Messner First ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen, 136,
Jason Lewis First human-powered circumnavigation of the globe, 144,
Alastair Humphreys Cycle around the world, 154,
Rune Gjeldnes Longest solo ski journey, 162,
Ed Stafford Walking the Amazon, 170,
Sarah Outen London2London, 180,
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg First round-the-world solar flight, 190,
Fedor Konyukhov Fastest round-the-world balloon flight, 200,
Olly Hicks and George Bullard Greenland to Scotland by kayak, 208,
Laura Bingham First team to locate the source of and navigate the Essequibo River, Guyana, 218,
Apa Sherpa Twenty-one Everest ascents, 228,
Index, 234,
Picture credits, 239,

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