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 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 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.
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.
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.
It's like being transported back to the Roman Empire, but with the light touch of the great narrator.
It reminds me of the style of Ellis Peters in Brother Cadfael for the ability to make you live the historical period and entertain you at the same time.
I definitely like the protagonist Publius Varus
Of course Caius Britannicus is very impressive
I have been waiting for this series to be available since I first joined Audible. When I first read this series in hard cover it became my favorite interpretation of the Arthurian legend. It became the one I compared all others to after reading it, and it still is. Jack Whyte set the bar high for any other "King Arthur" stories that I read. It was great to be able to listen to the story again during my daily commute.
Jack makes it easy to get vested in his characters. You grow and develop with them as the story progresses.
Before the "Once and Future King"
A must read for any Arthurian Legend Fan!!
Caius Brittanicus strength, integrity and the ability to see a plan through to the end, even in the face adversity. All qualities the world could use more of.
At the end of the book one of the main characters dies, and you feel the loss of a friend, a loss that maybe did'nt have to happen except for choices made in the heat of the moment.
This is my favorite author, he is a mason with a strong moral character. He is not preachy in the least rather leading by example through his characters, most of whom you will become quite fond of. Even thevillians have many layers as you peel the onoin that is this series.
I loved history of Britan from the Roman occupation and the story of a warm and loving family.
Cius Britanicus as he is the catalyst that sets things going.
All of his voices for each character is incredible he even handles the womens voices ok a tough thing to do in Audio books If I have any criticism it would be that he reads a little too slowly but as I got into the book i got used to it.
I loved Lucia with all her strenght of character and determination
I am an avid Jack Whyte fan and have read every one of his books but I am reliving them now in his audio books and it is a thrill. Just started the singing sword and can hardly wait!
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