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.
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.
The plotline is interesting, the Roman point of view is a new take that I hadn't encountered previously. Unfortunately, the writing leaves something to be desired. While there is tremendous detail, Whyte has a tendency to be unnecessarily verbose and include many ideas/details through dialogue that could easily be inferred by adept character building. The fact that the book was written in first person only exacerbates this issue, allowing the author to drag on with unnecessary, uninteresting information. The dialogue and use of modern idiomatic expressions also seem to be occasionally misaligned with the time period. Finally, the sex scenes were obviously the product of a man writing because he likes to talk about sex - not necessarily to forward the plot in any meaningful way. I was very disappointed in this text, and was surprised to see the number of positive reviews it received.
poorly written, time period and characters did not match, couldn't listen for more then 30 minutes before turning it off and wishing for a refund
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.
The writing was cliched and anachronistic, the dialogue wooden and the delivery, plot and action was tedious. There were few surprises that the reader could not guess well in advance of their "discovery". The book was too long - needs a good editor.
The narrator - Pariseau is just not in the same league with the other narrators I have heard through Audible. His delivery is monotone and sounds as though he is reading the book for only the second time.
Simon Vance is one of my favorites, as is the narrator for Heresy, but I would have chosen Christian Rodska, narrator of the Lindsey Davis Didius Falco series. He would be very suited for the military nature of the book and the main character 1st person narration
The historic time period was interesting.
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.
worst narration I have ever heard. I cannot understand what happened here.. Sincerely,did anyone listen to this first?
I will read nothing else by Jack Whyte. The Skystone started out as an average work of fantasy - perhaps even a bit above average due to the historical detail he provided for the period about which he was writing. But I quickly became weary of the redundant profanity. Seriously, how many times per page should a good writer use the word "whoreson"? But what finally put an end to my listening experience was the bigoted way he treated homosexuality. Introducing a criminally insane and apparently gay character, making sure the reader realized his homosexuality was part and parcel of his evil and hateful nature, was simply too much. I don't expect fantasy writers to utilize human sexuality in ways that our culture currently understands them (though some fantasy writers have done precisely this), but to use one's writings to reïnforce hateful stereotypes and promote one's own bigotry on the subject is unacceptable. Is Mr Whyte free to spread misunderstanding through the books he authors? Sure. But I also have the freedom to avoid him in the future. His treatment of sexuality did nothing to advance the story or help the reader understand the historical era. It simply added to misunderstanding and hate.
Kevin Pariseau is technically a good reader, but his normal reading voice is a bit prim. Unfortunately he over-compensated when changing voices, making many characters sound rather goofy.
This story is supposed to take place in Roman Britain and is told in the first person, however it is narrated by an American. The story is written in a series of short sentences making it sound like a police report and uses many modern phrases. I feel that the setting could be changed to any era without much change. It's a total waste of money
I would not listen to this author again as I found the writing style to be lacking.
Again, the accents do not match the location of the story. I would listen to this narrator again, but not in a British story.
I am very disappointed and plan on trying to return it.
I really enjoy the historical fiction approach to the Arthurian legend, as opposed to magical realism. Whyte's writing is solid. I got the feeling at many points in the book that he was stretching things out MUCH longer than necessary. Maybe he was trying to make the book a certain length. It showed.Pariseau's character voices were very good but the odd, smug, flat, formal tone of his narration (aka Publius) really made it difficult for me to embrace Publius as a character. Also, I have yet to hear a male narrator do a female character voice in a way that is not obnoxious.
Obviously written with male readers in mind. Which is fine. But trim the fat!!!
Someone younger sounding.
Yes. It's obviously a story that is meant to be continued with future books (and it is).
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