The Perfect SWORD - Forging the Dark Ages
Perhaps the very best book I have read and subsequently offered to customers for many years. Certainly the first book we have offered that dives deep into the Dark Ages and reveals so much.
The book's starting point is the discovery of three much corroded but seemingly high quality weapons during excavations at Bamburgh Castle during the 1960s & 70s. Subsequent detail analysis suggests that one sword was 'The Perfect Sword', and from this springs this story of the sword - of how and why it was made, who made it, and what it meant to the warriors and kings who wielded it over three centuries. It is also the story of the archaeologists and swordsmiths who found, studied and attempted to recreate the weapon using only the materials and technologies available at the time.
Along the way, this story expands to the history of what is now Britain as it was in the Dark Ages, to trade routes, to miltary details - the long sword featured in films was not used by most in battle, as they were on foot and there was no room to swing a long sword, as an example - and a huge amount more.
This is a learned book, but wears its learning lightly, and is a pleasure to read; if you enjoy any of the many TV programmes on archaeology, I guarantee you will enjoy this book. 15 colour photos, some maps and drawings. 264 pages. Hardback.