Everyone knows the story-how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, how Camelot came to be, and about the power struggles that ultimately destroyed Arthur's dreams. But what of the time before Arthur and the forces that created him?
How did the legend really come to pass?
Before the time of Arthur and his Camelot, Britain was a dark and deadly place, savaged by warring factions of Picts, Celts, and invading Saxons. The Roman citizens who had lived there for generations were suddenly faced with a deadly choice: Should they leave and take up residence in a corrupt Roman world that was utterly foreign, or should they stay and face the madness that would ensue when Britain's last bastion of safety for the civilized, the Roman legions, left?
For two Romans, Publius Varrus and his friend Caius Britannicus, there can be only one answer. They will stay, to preserve what is best of Roman life, and will create a new culture out of the wreckage. In doing so, they will unknowingly plant the seeds of legend-for these two men are Arthur's great-grandfathers, and their actions will shape a nation . . . and forge a sword known as Excalibur.
©1996 Jack Whyte (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Author, "Princess Lily & The Great Cookie Mystery"
I am no expert on Arthurian history. I did see "Sword in the Stone" when I was a kid, sang songs from "Camelot", saw that movie, and have watched a lot of documentaries on the History Channel (some of them questionable). Just so you know...
There is a lot to like about this book. The author has created some interesting characters, and it will be interesting to see how they fare. The pacing is good, and the story is not so complex you can't figure out who's who and what's what. The narrator does an excellent job.
It has violent stretches, some much too graphic, but you don't feel like you need to wash the blood off you after hearing them. The sex scenes would get a movie version a definite "R" rating. This is a dilemma I find myself in more and more as the years pass. The price of admission for interesting or challenging fiction is enduring more graphic sex and violence than my tolerance. (I’ve been married for 36 years and we raised three boys, so it isn’t like I’m a prude or a bachelor still living with my parents.)
If you have a passing interest in the King Arthur legend, or if you’re interested in a story that takes place in Britain during the last days of the Roman Empire, or you want to try a story that’s just different, this book will satisfy.
I could only complete half of the book. While I liked the story, I could not listen to this narrator any further.
I liked the historical aspect as I have not seen anyone write about this time period of British history before.
I have listened to many, many books since I joined Audible and I knew I would run across a book that I wanted to like, but whose narration would prevent it. This is that book. The narrator's timing is choppy at best, just plain off at worst. He seems to be trying so hard to enunciate each word that, to me, it sounds as if an elementary school child is giving a speech. I tried to continue, hoping that perhaps I could get used to the rhythm and cadence but I just could not. If I want to continue this series I'll have to read it. I can not listen to this narrator any further.
Great interweave of history and myth.
Yes. To see if the series grows as the story here did.
Not sure sounded like an ad man delivery.
Way too much gratuitous sex and poor female character development relegates this very good work to high school boys. But for this kind of old adolescent, a fun listen.
I didn't want to hear just another Arthur story. This is a Roman to Britain transitional story. I very much enjoyed the flow of the story. I enjoyed the historical detail. When places and buildings are described I recognized them from accounts of archeological diggings.
The flow and it's ties to historical accounts and legends.
I love Kevin's performance. All of his performances are his best!
I quickly got into the story and found myself sitting in my car or driving around the block one more time to hear what happened next. It was like reading a book you couldn't put down. The detail in the first person narration painted a graphic detailed story that I found fascinating from the first chapter
I'm an avid listener. Audio books are a mini-vacation for me. They fill my "need to read" when I don't have time - which is most of the time. Great element of multi-tasking!
This book is billed as a prequel to the legends of King Arthur, and there are references at the end of the book that refer to parts of the legend of the Lady of the Lake and the sword in the stone, but this is an extremely minor aspect of the story. It is more the story of the Roman Legion in Britain and how the collapse of the Golden Age of Rome affected the rest of the Empire. The author and narrator do a great job of creating believable people with complex lives and relationships in their own times - no fairy tale view of the past.
I am a lover of fantasy novels with exciting action, complex plots, and unforgettable characters.
After reading this novel I wasn't sure what to think for a while. My conclusion is it was a decent book, but the entire book lacks a flow or a pace. There are large patches of slow almost development and suddenly there is brutal action for a short time. The action is so vicious that it is somewhat shocking in my opinion. The action does not fit the style of book that I believe the author is trying to write. Also, th e sex scenes are some of the most graphic I have ever read, and they are a bit too numerous for my taste. The story is just too jumpy, it has no consistent clean flow to it. The other problem with this book is that the characters especially the narrator are frequently put in situations that don't match the person he is supposed to be. The narrator is portrayed as an intelligent, thoughtful military veteran, yet he frequently lets his anger and hate get away from him, and does things that can only be described as incredibly stupid. The third problem with this book is the way a lot of stuff seems to go unexplained. For example, after the fight scenes the author seems to go on with the book as if nothing happened, there is no so-called clean up period, where everything is explained. The final problem with this book was the fact that there are large sections where the author tries to explain things and the story limps along for a while. There are good things about this book though, the characters are interesting and decently developed, the author's knolidge of old Britain is excellent, and the overall premise of the series seems interesting. The narrator did a fair job, but seemed to read the book more than act it out. I think this book is worth reading if you are interested in reading pre King Arthur myths, and I may get the next novel because I am curious to see if the author can fix some of the problems with the first book.
A re-reading of Dorothy Dunnett's 'Niccolo Rising'. A masterclass in substantive and entertaining historical fiction.
This book should never have found a publisher let alone made it into the hands of an editor. But to answer the question: large chunks of the artificial, stilted dialogue.
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