Read Credo by Melvyn Bragg Online


Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged. This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yetBritain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged. This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet critical period in British history....

Title : Credo
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780340667064
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 788 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Credo Reviews

  • Hilary Green
    2019-05-27 05:02

    This is a brilliant evocation of life in Britain in the 'dark ages' and gives an insight into the beliefs and life-styles of early Celtic Christians. The amount of self-abnegation and sacrifice which they believed necessary to gain salvation is hard to accept from the point of view of our comfortable modern-day lives. I had heard of the synod of Whitby, vaguely, but I had never realized it was such a turning point in the history of the church. Bragg creates a very believable heroine in Bega. I was constantly wanting her to follow her instincts and accept her lover's proposal, but at the same time I admired her selfless devotion to the people under her care and her determination to stick to her vows.Altogether, a deeply moving and involving book.

  • Luke Manning
    2019-06-09 01:56

    This is one of those books that I kept reading because I was sure it had to get better. It didn't. Maybe people really were like that back in Dark Ages Britain. I don't know. I do know that the Bega portrayed in this novel is one of the most consistently annoying and frustrating characters ever created. Well, her and God, both of whom feature heavily on every single page of this plodding dud of a book.

  • The other John
    2019-06-06 02:50

    One finds treasure in the strangest places. Take the small English library here on our small campus in the sticks of Yunnan. Compared to many libraries, it's a pitiful thing. It holds maybe two hundred books, mostly classics abridged or rewritten for foreign language students and children's books. For an adult native English speaker, it's quite boring. There are, however, a handful of grown-up books here. My wife, in her desperation for reading material has perused them. For the most part, she was unimpressed. This book, however, she enjoyed and recommended. Credo is a tale set in 7th Century England. It's essentially the story of a couple, Bega and Padric. As the story opens, Padric is a guest in the hall of Cathal, a king in Ireland. Padric himself is a prince of the kingdom of Rheged in Britain. Bega is Cathal's daughter and, at the start of the tale, Padric's pupil. Both Padric and Bega are strong, intelligent and idealistic; capable warriors and pious Christians. There's a budding romance between the two, but neither one of them has the maturity to realize it. The dawning realization of their mutual attraction permeates the background of the first section of the book, like the beginning overture of a symphony. the following book is a work of art. There's a gripping plot, compelling characters and a milieu that feels genuine. For me, the biggest appeal of the book is that Mr. Bragg captures what it's like to be a Christian. Every soul in the book, whether pious or impious, struggles with their faith. The good characters have their sinful side and the evil ones worry about facing the throne of God. Of course, as a Lutheran, sometimes I wished I could give these good Catholics a lecture on grace, but overall I identified with these characters. Credo is a great book. It's biggest flaw is that it belongs to the English library. I regret that I have to put it back on their shelf rather than my own. Ah, well, that's what bookstores are for.

  • Eric
    2019-06-07 02:38

    Excellent balance of narrative, historical evocation and characterisation. Written in a pacy style.I'm presently reading Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, comparable in some ways to Bragg's novel, but am shocked at how he litters his style with cliche after cliche. E.g. his heart was in his mouth!I may review it when I finish it.

  • Gill
    2019-06-14 03:49

    I have read this book about four times and will probably read it again... At least I've now got it in e-book format! I enjoyed the scope of the book and the evocation of early Britain and the lives of the people. I certainly enjoyed the length so that I didn't feel 'wrenched away' too soon.

  • Ruth
    2019-06-08 04:43

    " Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction ""This novel set in Britain and Ireland during the dark ages is the tale of a young Irish princess who became a saint and of her lifelong bond with a prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged - a land of warriors and miracles, where the British people survived."" What this book is really all about "Stand fast I must" against everything that could be possible - family, beliefs, politics, language, loyalties etc. The 2 main protagonists are Brega and Padric. Bragg was born in 1939 and educated at Oxford (Wadham College). Grew up in Wigton, Cumbria. Sang in the Wadham Chapel choir, and in an extract of an interview with the Times ""(In 1959), other activities elbowed out choir practice and, regretfully, that particular pleasure of singing with others so that you are a part of a wonderful sound but you can't hear yourself was over."" Bragg was made Baron Bragg, of Wigton in the County of Cumbria and joined the House of Lords in 1998 as a Labour life peer. "

  • Eva Kristin
    2019-06-13 21:02

    First of all: This book was too long. The story could have been told, and told better I think, in half the number of pages. The theme, the meeting between the wild, personal and intuitive Celtic church and the orderly, distant and rigid Roman church, was very fascinating. The problem is the main caracters, Bega and Padric, who are static, annoying and boring. I think telling more of this story from Ecfirth’s point of view would have greatly improved it, since he was one of the few persons who caught my interest. Even though it grew on me, I’m not a fan of Melvyn Bragg’s writing style, which of course also affects my opinion of this book. To me this was an interesting glimpse into British history and the evolvement of Christianity, but not an engaging story.

  • Cher
    2019-05-30 20:54

    When I lend this book to borrowers at library I always want to yell- run save yourself! It's not worth the time the story goes nowhere and that's hard to do in over 1000 pages. This took me a year to read I kept thinking it will get better I love this genre but it never did. This book is the reason I gave up on my quest to finish every book I start life is too short.

  • Mary Lea
    2019-05-25 04:48

    This book is seriously awesome - and almost impossible to get hold of on amazon. Everybody, order this book off them so they get more stock in! It's like travelling time rather than reading a book. incredibly well researched, but never overly weighty in its academia. Well plotted, well paced, with good dialogue, and believable characters. Definitely a must read.

  • Sandy Morley
    2019-05-21 22:50

    Academically interesting, the prose is jumpy and storytelling dull. Worse, Bragg didn't get the memo that less is more, and there's more waffle than a Belgian pastry fair.

  • Martin Noutch
    2019-06-02 02:45

    Struggled to finish this. Shame. Should have been shorter and better.

  • Jenni
    2019-06-08 20:57

    Too frustrating and depressing.

  • Linda Humberstone
    2019-06-10 02:38

    Good description of the Dark Ages and the religious zeal of those wanting to convert others as Christianity progresses throughout Britain and Ireland. It includes a sad, unfulfilled, love story that has to be denied because of the vow to love Jesus above all others. It is unduly long and sometimes 'rambles' a bit too much, however, the descriptions of the beliefs and conflicts of the time are good.

  • Richard Marshall
    2019-05-25 01:40

    A sweeping narrative of the (imagined) life of Bega, an Irish princess and Celtic Christian missionary who lived in the Early Middle Ages. Her story is interspersed with that of Padric a Celtic hero reputed to be her lover. Bragg manages to convey the brutality of the times without degrading the romance.

  • Victoria Young
    2019-06-16 01:42

    I had high hopes for this book and they were, unfortunately, not met. In summary - I wouldn't bother.I began with the assumption that this novel was a piece of historical fiction; that it would be well-researched, intelligent and offer an interesting perspective on the expansion of Christianity in the British Isles in the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman Empire. I don't really think Credo fulfils those objectives particularly well, and I'm quite tempted to tag it fantasy or magical realism. If I was less preoccupied by a sense of lacking historicity I might have disliked the book less, but as it was this is the closest I've come to completely abandoning a book in a long time. I had to really push myself to finish.I have a long list of frustrations with Bragg's writing but here are the main ones:1) The lack of distance between the narration and the Catholic themes in the plot. This factor really makes this story feel very dated or 'out of step' for me. The reader is asked to suspend their disbelief for an array of miracles, saints, visitations, epiphanies etc that become the pivotal moments of the plot and determinants of the unfolding of Bragg's history of the dark ages. There isn't any ambiguity written into these events that would allow a modern rationalist reader to view the 'miracles' as non-religious phenomena that are, in the context of the 7th century, understood as miracles. These 'signs from God' aren't problematized at all, and although the characters spend hundreds of pages agonising over God's will, there is a surprising lack of in-depth analysis. A further gripe was that Bragg never questions the 'why' and 'how' of the shift from paganism to Christianity, and there seems to be an implicit assumption that this was indeed a positive and inevitable step in the teleology of human society.2) The protagonist, Bega, is a bit of a trusting fool. She's really foolish for a good 300 pages, but most of that can be forgiven as the folly and naivety of youth- the foolishness that continues into her adulthood is less easily forgiven. The male protagonist, Padric, had much more potential but was given a disappointing amount of narration space.3) The politics of the growing church and doctrinal differences are pretty inadequately covered. For the majority of the book, all religious figures speak with a single voice and the same legitimacy and authority. The best Bragg manages to do is create a pretty superficial divide between the 'true-Christian' Britons and the 'false-Christian' Northumbrians which was just silly.4) I was pretty uninterested by what was supposed to be the main plot tension in the book - Bega and Padric's supposedly grand and (sort of ) unfulfilled love epic. There's only so many times you can watch the main characters allow opportunities to be together pass by before you start to think the burning passion isn't quite what the author is trying to make it out to be.If you want to read a great book about Christianity, monks and the history of Catholicism, go and read Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose - now that is a truly brilliant piece of literature.

  • Anna
    2019-05-21 04:52

    I read this novel a couple of years ago.I'm really interested in the England of the 'Dark Ages' and also the development of Christian belief in this country. The book started off well and even now I can vividly remember the scenes around Bega's (the main protagonist) wedding, especially the violent rape of her maid by her prospective bridegroom and his subsequent demise...However, once Bega and the love of her life, Padric, make it to England, I found myself increasingly irritated by the overly saintly heroine and her determination to live a celibate life. She is probably one of the most infuriating characters I have come across in an otherwise interesting backdrop. Why on earth couldn't she live a good Christian life while married to the man who loves her and while raising their children?! Silly, silly girl.I also think the book could have been a LOT shorter; it dragged on far too long.

  • D.A. Cairns
    2019-06-09 22:02

    I really really admire quality historical fiction like Credo. Spanning decades, this epic story of eighth century saints and warriors is beautiful and brutal. Themes of love, devotion and sacrifice dominate this tale of the battle between good and evil. Wonderfully written, powerful, shocking and moving, Credo is a book which took me a long time to read, courtesy of losing it, but worth every hour I spent in this ancient and foreign land.At times, I was a little impatient with the slow speed of the narrative but it entirely suited the nature of the story which is characterized by spirituality. I got a little confused at times with all the characters as well, but the plot was well drawn and entirely believable. Credo was at times unpleasant, even disturbing, while at other times, it was inspirational.

  • bkwurm
    2019-05-23 01:01

    This is a fictionalized biography of Saint Bega, who may or may not be a real person. Set in the Northumbrian and Cumbrian region of England in the late 600s CE, the story starts with Bega’s flight from an unwanted marriage in Connaught to the British kingdom of Rheged. She finds sanctuary in a nunnery in Whitby in Northumbria which is ruled by invaders from Norway who extract tribute from RhegedThe story revolves around Bega’s love for Padric, a prince of the kingdom of Rheged who is trying to free Rheged from Northumbria rule and her desire to obey God’s will. An interesting depiction of life in the Dark Ages and how natural phenomena, together with hallucinations brought on by fasting, shaped religious beliefs.

  • Jane
    2019-05-18 21:38

    I started off really liking this book, but I didn't like the directions the characters took. The battle scenes were good, but there weren't many, and a lot of time is spent just wondering when they will get on with it already. All the Christians seem a bit mad and obsessed with relics and miracles, and I really wasn't convinced by the main character's faith, so it just seemed like it came out of nowhere when she rejected the love of her life to go and live in a convent for a while. To top it all off, the ending was a very WTF moment. Some good scenes hidden in there, but all in all not worth reading 900 pages for.

  • James Hockey
    2019-06-11 22:06

    This book was a doorway into an area and feature of the Dark Ages that was previously closed to me. Fascinating details about the critical differences between the Catholic and matriarchal Celtic churches concerning subjects as momentous as the date of Easter(sic) which led to the destruction of the native home grown church and its replacement by a patriarchal alien power structure.It is also brave enough to tackle the internal mental landscape of those charismatic leaders of the time, destined for Sainthood. A fascinating book shedding light on an obscure but critical time in the history of post-Roman Britain.

  • Vedu
    2019-05-24 03:59

    Clearly, the author is a great storyteller, and it is hard to find a good novel set in early middle ages England : for that, I appreciated the book. But I also got disappointed because the action happens mostly in the spirit of the protagonist : it is a story about faith. If you don't believe in God, the miracles, heaven and hell and all that, you might find (as I have) that it's difficult to read pages after pages on a character who thinks fasting until on the verge of dying is what God wants us to do, and who proposes prayer as the best solution against the plague.But it does give you a good insight into what Christians of the time might have thought.

  • David
    2019-05-24 22:50

    Somewhat overlong, but very enjoyable book concerning Celtic development of religion set around 650. Very much a religious book, dealing with the lives of people, especially the nuns and monks of the time which were all equally bleak, but also a romantic novel, which to my surprise I enjoyed, as well as a good description of living at that time. Very well researched and written and the novel slowly became very enthralling. A good read but you really have to be interested and to have some familiarity with the places mentioned.

  • Helen C
    2019-05-24 02:44

    This dramatic, far-reaching tale brings to life a land of warring kings, Christians and pagans, and tribes divided by language and culture, illuminating a little-known yet critical period in British history. Britain during the Dark Ages is the setting for the fascinating story of Bega, a young Irish princess who became a saint, and her lifelong bond with Padric, prince of the north-western kingdom of Rheged.

  • Revd Lee
    2019-05-19 03:00

    Some of the descriptive writing and characterisation is very well done indeed, even if that sometimes veers away from traditionally accepted views of figures such as St.Cuthbert, and these help paint a realistic image of the setting even if it isn't always 100% accurate. Bragg's pro-Celtic bias can at times be grating and it is a pity he took a blindingly obvious course with one of the minor plot-threads in the later part of the book.

  • Hayley
    2019-06-15 22:54

    This book started off so well. A great strong female protagonist and an interesting historical plot. If I had known the overly religious nature of the plot I would not have wasted so much time on reading the whole thing. Although well written and I believe historically articulate this novel is ultimately unbelievably frustrating.

  • Aravind
    2019-05-20 00:54

    I don't know anything about the history of "Dark Age". I read this book just as a fiction and wasn't let down by Mr. Bragg. Yes, the book is very long. But, it has given him ample space to build his characters and describe the places and events in detail. There are a few places where the narrative gets repetitive, though. In a nutshell, I quite liked it.

  • Susan Roach
    2019-05-30 01:52

    Quite the epic story. The main character is as strong as she is weak; a strength that comes from adversity. I enjoyed the history telling of the cultures, the church and the land. Thorough in detail, and engaging in the passing of the time to tell the story. Yep, a good read.

  • Wayne
    2019-06-16 02:58

    The bits i like in this novel,i really like-the celts,the saxons,the battles,but when the religion comes into it,shit,it drones on.I know thats mainly what its about,but it goes goes on for tooooooo long.Still the good stuff is great.

  • Maz Raz
    2019-05-24 02:54

    A good story line but full of self indulgent waffle by the author. I think it would make a good mini series for TV surprised it hasn't already been done.

  • Rosslyn
    2019-06-18 04:58

    An epic in the true sense of the word. Brilliantly written, full of insight and incredibly moving.