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.
Whyte starts with Arthurian pre-history, so it does take its time. But you get the feeling he's laying the groundwork for some great characters and plot twists.
I've read other Arthurian legends, but none of them starts in the last days of the Roman Empire to set the stage for how Camelot was formed. The anarchy that came after the Romans left Britain must have been terrible.
He does such great character work. It's like a radio play -- you understand who everyone is.
Not really. The sex scenes were interesting...
A fun listen. I'm in for the long haul on this one. I hope the story elements pay off!
Jack Whyte has made this age become real to me.
Easy to follow and relate to.
I love the way that history can be made to come come alive this way.
I enjoyed the book very much but do find Whyte gets a little bogged down in detail sometimes. I didn't love the narrator's voice although he was very good at distinguishing characters.
This series is the best I have read, my favorite books since I read them 15 years ago
Expansive creative worlds or histories seem to be my thing these days... Too much time in a car with long drives ahead!
I knew nothing about this book when I got it on sale. I just downloaded book two and am excited to listen.
Kevin did a very good job narrating this book. He remained consistent with voices and tones.
The story is entertaining. I had no problem staying with it. In fact, I had trouble finding time to fit it in.
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).
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.
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