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Publisher's Summary

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade.

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade.

As he struggles to unite Britain and hold back the Saxon enemy, Arthur is embroiled in a doomed romance with beautiful Guinevere.

©1995 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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  • Matt
  • 08-29-14

Simply Brilliant

Would you listen to The Winter King again? Why?

This is the kind of story you can enjoy over and over again. The Winter King boasts an engrossing, complex and compelling storyline rarely found in stories based on the Arthurian legends, which tend toward the tradition of chivalry, knights, round tables and simple good/evil battles against Mordred, Oberon and Morgan Le Fay. Bernard Cornwell has done a masterful job in The Warlord Chronicles of creating an Arthur that is believable, an Arthur desperately trying to hold post-Roman Britain together when the stabilising forces of the empire have gone and the chaotic forces of inter-kingdom warfare, religious conflict and Saxon invasions have come. This brilliant story is told by a brilliant narrator, Jonathan Keeble, whose voice and performance are absolutely perfect for this dark historical fantasy.

What did you like best about this story?

Perhaps the story's strongest aspect is Bernard Cornwell's careful maintenance of historical realism. It is easy to imagine a Britain in the grip of the early Dark Ages, unsure of itself and vulnerable in the aftermath of the departure of the Roman legions and the arrival of hordes of Saxons. It is all the more moving when you realise that history holds the eventual end of the story; we know that the Saxons succeeded in conquering much of Britain, and it doesn't matter how hard Arthur fights. The Saxons will win in the end.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Jonathan Keeble's performances of all the characters in this audiobook are brilliant - he is the perfect narrator for this story. But perhaps his greatest success is in his portrayal of Arthur himself. The voice that Keeble uses for Arthur is only slightly different than the voice which he uses to portray the main character, Derfel, but it is enough. A slight tone in Arthur's voice immediately identifies him and carries across his humanity, compassion, ambition and altruism all at the same time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The only downside to this audiobook is its sheer length. At almost 20 hours, it is impossible to listen to the whole thing in one sitting - unless you are possessed of resolute determination, an iron will, and a lack of need for sleep. I would have liked to listen to all 20 hours without a break, as I found that when I had to turn it off to sleep and resumed it in the morning the story became a little disjointed. However, this is only a minor complaint and I would much rather have a long audiobook that takes multiple sittings than a short one that's over too soon.

Any additional comments?

This is an excellent example of historical fiction and of a legend being historicised. I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough and eagerly await next month's credit so I can download the next instalment in the trilogy.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • The Wolf
  • 11-20-14

Classic

Would you listen to The Winter King again? Why?

The narrator was entertaining and brought the story - one of my favourites - to life.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Winter King?

The part where Gundlias comes to the Tor....

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I really liked his various voices for the male characters. The female characters were sometimes OTT and verging on the Monty Python, Life of Brian "He's not a naughty boy" kind of thing but, overall, Keeble was an excellent narrator.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud a few times, thanks to both Cornwell's understated writing and Keeble's acting.

Any additional comments?

I read this series when it first came out and thought the audiobook would be a good way to go through it again without actually reading it. I wasn't disappointed and look forward to listening to the next two books with my membership credits.

Steven A. McKay, author of WOLF'S HEAD.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RJB1
  • 01-08-15

The start of a great trilogy

Any additional comments?

Another excellent series by Bernard Cornwell. In my opinion this is his second best series behind The Saxon Stories. His portrayal of magic is excellent such that it becomes believable in a historical fiction setting, rather than fantasy where magic usually belongs.

As always with Cornwell, the battles are marvelously described, seeming to put you in the middle of the shield wall with the protagonist, Derfel.

The narration is superb, Jonathan Keeble has a powerful orators voice and is able to do a wide variety of accents so you immediately know the character who is speaking.

If you enjoy historical fiction, fantasy or other novels by Bernard Cornwell you should definitely try this one.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rhys Eilian Thomas
  • 10-17-17

Amazing story

I truly love these stories! it's only the pronounceation of so some of the Welsh words that lets it down. otherwise it's very well done!

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  • Darren
  • 09-01-17

Outstanding

Cornwell at his best, straight on to the enemy of god. Great characterisation, historical knowledge, plotting and action.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-17

breathtaking

The narrator was amazing. I enjoyed every second of it. Great performance. beautiful book I would recommend it too all

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  • Mrs
  • 06-02-17

Fantastic

It's Bernard Cornwall and Jonathan Keeble, the best combination the storytelling Gods ever created. What more can I say other than completely fantastic!!!!!

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  • GS
  • 04-23-17

it grew on me.

What did you like most about The Winter King?

the narration was excellent - Jonathan Keeble is the best narrator, and i wish he was doing the Last Kingdom series again

What other book might you compare The Winter King to, and why?

i can only compare to the Uhtred saga (last Kingdom) and at first, i wasnt sure about this book, but towards the end i became engrossed and now am ready to start the 2nd one.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Dervil - hearing him grow into a warrior was a fantastic journey

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The true story of Arthur

Any additional comments?

its very long, but stick with it

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  • WEStewart
  • 02-25-17

Not a patch on Simon Scarrow

Having listened to all of Simon Scarrow's books I was looking for something equally enjoyable. This book was recommended and the description looked so promising; I bought the series! However, this book is so dull, boring and dreary; you end up not caring what happens to Arthur. I won't bother with the rest of the books.

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  • Tony
  • 02-20-17

My first Bernard Cornwell and not my last.

My first Bernard Cornwell and not my last. Starts a little slowly but worth sticking with it.

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  • Lee
  • 07-30-16

Another great book by Bernard Cornwell

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Jonathan Keeble is by far one of the best narrators I have heard, and I'm nearing 200 audio books now. The book is a little slow to start while Bernard is building the characters. It has an interesting and different spin the the King Arthur and Lancelot tale. Well worth the listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Clive Batchelor
  • 09-19-16

Great book

Fills the gap between Vikings and game of thrones with English class, historically written, epic and blood thirsty. Great narration as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Victor
  • 06-18-17

Very slow start but finished very welll

Loving all of Bernard cornwells books I was excited to listen to this one.
For the first 6/20hours it was painfully slow with very few moments of excitement that kept me super engaged.
Once it got going it was good, as expected.

The later parts of the book were great and I really really enjoyed them.

The final chapter was epic and amazingly well written and worth waiting for.

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