The Dark Ages: a time of chaos and bloodshed. The Roman legions have long deserted the isles and the despotic Uther Pendragon, High King of Celtic Britain, is nearing death. As the tyrant falters, his kingdom is being torn apart by the minor kings who jostle for his throne. But only one man can bring the Celts together as a nation and restore peace - King Arthur.
We meet Arthur first as a shy, subservient twelve-year-old living in the home of Lord Ector, who took in the boy when he was a babe to protect him from murderous kin. One day, three influential men arrive at Ector's villa and arrange for Arthur to be taught the skills of the warrior: blade and shield, horse and fire, pain and bravery.
When they return years later, the country is in desperate straits, for the great cities of the east are falling to the menace of the Saxon hordes.
In spite of Uther, Arthur becomes a war chieftain and wins many battles to earn him the trust of his Celtic warriors and prove that he alone can unite the tribes. But if he is to fulfill his destiny and become the High King, Arthur must find Uther's crown and sword.
The future of Britain is at stake.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Arthurian scholar Hume blends historical details and Arthurian legends to create a scrupulously researched image of Arthur's Britain as it might have been: desperately threatened by Saxons, abandoned by Rome, and only tenuously united under a dangerous and half-mad king. As the kingdom of Uther Pendragon weakens, a new hope arrives for the people of the West in Artorex, the boy fated to become high king. Fostered to a Roman family, Artorex knows nothing of his parentage and would be content to live the life of a villa steward. But Myrddion Merlinus, a healer and scholar, has other plans, for he believes that only through Artorex's claim on the throne can Britain be saved. In a story no less fantastic for its lack of magic and its disavowing of the more mythical elements of Arthur's story, Hume uses the heart of those legends to reveal a truly human Arthur in a richly crafted and fully realized fifth-century setting. The two sequelsfollow closely on this installment's heels, and fans of Arthurian legend will be eager to see how Hume navigates Arthur's kingship. (Oct.)