Barry Unsworth Books In Order | Update 03/2024

Barry Unsworth was a renowned English author known for his exploration of historical themes in his novels. Throughout his career, he wrote a total of 17 books, many of which delved into the complexity of the human experience within different historical contexts.

Barry Unsworth Books in Order

  1. Sacred Hunger (Sacred Hunger #1)
  2. Morality Play
  3. The Quality of Mercy (Sacred Hunger, #2)
  4. The Ruby in Her Navel
  5. The Songs of the Kings
  6. Land of Marvels
  7. Stone Virgin
  8. Losing Nelson
  9. Pascali’s Island
  10. After Hannibal

Overview of Barry Unsworth Books in Order

Sacred Hunger (Sacred Hunger #1)

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Morality Play

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The Quality of Mercy (Sacred Hunger, #2)

“The Quality of Mercy” is the second book in the Sacred Hunger series by Barry Unsworth. The novel continues the story of the characters introduced in the first book, focusing on the themes of greed, power, and the cruelty of the human spirit. The story is set in the 18th century and follows the lives of a group of characters as they navigate the complex and often brutal world of the transatlantic slave trade.

The novel delves into the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by the characters as they grapple with their involvement in the slave trade and the consequences of their actions. The narrative explores the complexities of human relationships and the ways in which individuals are shaped by their circumstances. Unsworth’s rich and evocative prose brings to life the historical setting and vividly portrays the characters’ struggles and triumphs as they navigate a world fraught with moral ambiguity and social injustice.

“The Quality of Mercy” is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the darker aspects of human nature and the enduring legacy of the transatlantic slave trade. Through his compelling storytelling and vivid characterizations, Unsworth offers a compelling examination of the moral complexities of the era, inviting readers to reflect on the consequences of greed, corruption, and the quest for power.

The Ruby in Her Navel

“The Ruby in Her Navel” by Barry Unsworth is set in 12th-century Sicily and follows the story of Thurstan Beauchamp, a young Englishman who becomes embroiled in the complex political and social dynamics of the Norman court. Thurstan is employed as a servant to a high-ranking official and becomes entangled in the power struggles, romantic entanglements, and cultural clashes of the court. As he navigates the treacherous political landscape, Thurstan uncovers the significance of a valuable ruby and the role it plays in the court’s intrigues.

The novel delves into the themes of love, power, and honor in a richly detailed historical setting. Unsworth skillfully explores the conflicts between different cultural and religious groups, as well as the tensions between tradition and progress. Thurstan’s journey is one of self-discovery and moral awakening as he grapples with his own role in the complex web of relationships and power dynamics.

Unsworth’s evocative prose brings the medieval world to life, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and smells of 12th-century Sicily. “The Ruby in Her Navel” offers a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of historical fiction, combining political intrigue, romance, and cultural conflict in a compelling narrative.

The Songs of the Kings

“The Songs of the Kings” by Barry Unsworth is a historical novel set in the ancient world, specifically in the late Bronze Age. The story follows the journey of three extraordinary characters – a Mycenaean prince, a scribe, and a female slave – as they navigate the complex and dangerous political landscape of the time. The novel is rich in historical details and offers a vivid portrayal of the ancient Mediterranean world, its customs, and its people.

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The narrative is propelled by themes of power, betrayal, and the struggle for survival in a world where alliances are constantly shifting. The characters encounter a range of challenges and obstacles as they strive to achieve their goals, and their experiences shed light on the complexities of human nature and the dynamics of ancient societies. Unsworth’s skillful storytelling and evocative prose bring the ancient world to life, drawing readers into a captivating and immersive tale.

Through the characters’ interactions and the events that unfold, the novel delves into timeless themes such as love, loyalty, and the search for identity. “The Songs of the Kings” offers a compelling exploration of the human experience and the enduring impact of the past on the present. With its blend of historical accuracy and compelling storytelling, the novel is a thought-provoking and immersive read for fans of historical fiction and ancient history.

Land of Marvels

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Stone Virgin

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Losing Nelson

“Losing Nelson” by Barry Unsworth is a historical novel that tells the story of Charles Cleasby, an England-based Nelson enthusiast who becomes obsessed with the past. Cleasby is an insurance adjuster and a bit of a loner, and he finds solace in his obsession with Admiral Horatio Nelson. As he delves deeper into Nelson’s world, he becomes increasingly disconnected from his own life, finding it difficult to connect with the people around him. Cleasby’s fixation on Nelson forces him to confront the realities of his own life and consider what he has lost along the way.

The novel interweaves Cleasby’s narrative with excerpts from Nelson’s own letters and documents, creating a multi-layered exploration of history, obsession, and personal identity. Unsworth’s writing is rich and textured, and he expertly evokes the atmosphere of both Nelson’s time and Cleasby’s contemporary world. Ultimately, “Losing Nelson” is a complex and thought-provoking meditation on the nature of obsession and the ways in which individuals can lose themselves in the pursuit of something greater.

The novel offers a compelling exploration of the intersection of past and present, as well as the ways in which individuals can become consumed by their own passions. Through Cleasby’s story, Unsworth delves into the complexities of identity and the ways in which people can lose themselves in the pursuit of an idealized version of the past. With its vivid historical detail and nuanced character development, “Losing Nelson” is a powerful and engaging novel that will appeal to readers interested in history, psychology, and the human condition.

Pascali’s Island

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After Hannibal

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Biography Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth, born in 1930 in a mining village in Durham, had a varied career that included teaching and writing. He attended Stockton-on-Tees Grammar School and Manchester University, earning a B.A. in 1951 before serving in the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals from 1951-53. Unsworth had a long list of teaching positions, including a lecturer in English at Norwood Technical College, and serving as a writer in residence at several universities. He was twice married, and lived in Umbria, Italy in his later years. Some of Unsworth’s notable works include “The Partnership,” “Mooncranker’s Gift,” “Stone Virgin,” “Losing Nelson,” “Pascali’s Island” and “Morality Play.” He won the Booker Prize in 1992 for “Sacred Hunger” and received numerous other awards and honors. Unsworth’s style evolved from a more flamboyant and baroque style to a more precise and restrained approach as he continued to write.

Author Barry Unsworth

Frequently Asked Questions about author Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth novels conversions to the film

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What types of books does Barry Unsworth write

Barry Unsworth writes historical fiction and novels.

How many books has Barry Unsworth written

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What was the first book written by Barry Unsworth

The first book written by Barry Unsworth is “The Partnership,” published in 1966.

Published at 10:24 - 04/02/2024
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