At the end of The Winter King, Arthur fought the battle that forces unity on the warring British kingdoms and now he sets out to face the real enemy - the English (it is one of the great ironies of the Arthur stories that he should have become an English hero when, if he existed at all, he was a great war-leader who opposed the invading Sais). First, though, Merlin leads a perilous expedition into the mysterious west to retrieve a cauldron, one of the treasures of Britain - this cauldron story is almost certainly the root of the holy grail strand in the Arthur tales. The treasures of Britain, Merlin believes, will bring the old Gods onto the side of the British in their struggle against the Saxons (and the Christians, whom Merlin hates). But the treasures will also set Briton against Briton - especially as Guinevere, now Arthur's wife, wants to make a magic of her own. "Chaos was now thick across Britain, for someone had spilt the Cauldron's power and its horror threatened to engulf us all."
©1998 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
I am a major Cornwell fan, although I don't feel everything he's done...and I've read and/or listented to 95% of his work...is worthy of high praise. As a writer of action packed historical fiction, he is peerless, in my opinion. This trilogy, the Warlord trilogy, is his best work, I think. Not only does it completely refresh the Arthurian legend and give it more credence than anything I have read before or since, but, it should rank as a honest to goodness, major "classic". It is every bit as much a real classic as Mallory's work. Cornwell exhibits as much and more wit in these 3 books than anything he's done before or since. His insights into the age and the individual lives of of the characters in that time are without parallel...no one I've ever read has done this better. Each of the books, "The Winter King", this one, and "Excalibur" is, in terms of quality, the equal of the other two.
Either reading them or listening to them being read has given me immense pleasure and
more food for thought than was easily digestible. There is no better means of immersing oneself in the legend of Arthur, the King, than reading Cornwell's Warlord trilogy. .
Cornwell does a great job with the characters and the story. The narrator is excellent. Period warfare and period lifestyles are described with detail that makes them believable
I love BOOKS and reading, listening is as good when I can't look at the book. I listen every minute driving.
As with all of Bernard cornwell books that I have read it is very good.
The author creates a new view of the Arthurian story. I thought it was going to be another rehash, but I couldn't have been more wrong. the characters for fresh both with their motivations and their flaws.
Very well done book. Well written, compelling and has the feeling historical accuracy despite its legendary topic. Well drawn characters. Wonderful narrator.
This series is unique among Cornwell's historical works in having no actual history underlying it.
Nevertheless it is a wonderful alternate portrayal of the Matter of Britain.
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