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   The Winter King

The Winter King
by Bernard Cornwell

Category: Fiction / Historical
425 pages; ISBN: 0140231862

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Rosemary Ness


The Winter King is the first of three novels which comprise The Warlord Chronicles, the story of Arthur and Guinevere, of Merlin and Nimue, and of Britain in the Darkest Age.

The tale is told, in flashback, by Brother Derfel, an elderly monk, previously one of Arthur`s spearmen. The story begins with the birth of Mordred, grandson of the dying High King, Uther Pendragon, and moves through the return of Arthur, Uther`s illegitimate son and guardian of the infant Mordred, to the great battle of Lugg Vale, and the unification of the warring British tribes.

This is not a fantasy of Arthurian legend - in fact, it took me a couple of attempts to get started, since it`s not your usual Arthur and Guinevere stuff. This is Britain in the 5th century - it`s gory, rife with superstition and strange rites, and life is very hard. But it`s a story of real people, with hopes and fears, succeeding and failing.

I loved it - it`s believeable, well written and completely gripping. I recommend you buy all three novels at once - so when you finish one and the shops are closed, you`ll be able to carry right on reading without the trauma of waiting for them to re-open!


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