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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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140231861
ISBN-10: 0140231862
Format: Paperback
(181mm x 111mm x 32mm)
Pages: 512
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 5-Sep-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » There is no end to the writing of books about Arthur the King; from 9th-century Nennius to T H White and Mary Stewart, writers have been fascinated, intimidated, frustrated. Who was Arthur? What was Arthur? Did Arthur ever exist? If so - where? Bernard Cornwell, author of the hugely popular Sharpe series, sets King Arthur firmly in the traditional West Country - not a romantic King but a towering Warlord, in a realistic Dark Ages setting. It takes courage to tackle, yet again, Britain's most powerful and enduring myths. Here it works magically, seen through the eyes of Saxon Derfel in old age, after a charmed life - a monk who was there when Arthur returned from Brittany to rescue his war-torn homeland for the first time. The Winter King is the first of The Warlord Chronicles. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The author of the accomplished Richard Sharpe naval adventure novels (Sharpe's Battle, 1995, etc.) takes on Camelot in the wonderful beginning of a new series. Of course, as Cornwell acknowledges in his wry introductory note, so little is known of sixth-century Britain that "we cannot even be certain that Arthur existed," much less his knights of the round table. Cornwell is free, therefore, to present Galahad as a fine scholar, and Lancelot as a cowardly politician and pretender to Arthur's glory. But history does provide a record of the crumbling Roman Empire, the ascendancy of Christianity alongside Druidism, and a Britain besieged by invaders; and these Cornwell portrays in amazing, colorful detail. His narrator is Derfel Cadarn, one of Merlin's odd foundlings who becomes a valorous warrior for Arthur against the Saxons. Derfel witnesses an excruciating royal childbirth, strikes out in love, and embarks upon a perilous journey before the appearance of Arthur, who arrives on a black horse to turn the tide of battle. Many battles ensue, and Derfel prospers at the right hand of Arthur, but his master is the bastard son of a king and, though a hero of the common born, no sure prospect politically. Meanwhile, the aging, rather comical Merlin pursues what may be a madman's agenda on the Isle of the Dead: He hopes to coax the true, Druidic gods back to Britain and banish the silly Christians forever. His magical alliance with Arthur gives the latter the power to rid the kingdom of its enemies, yet Arthur's bravery and decency cannot conquer the whimsical, less-than-worthy Guinevere, or outmaneuver the crafty Lancelot. Great battle scenes and brilliant political intrigue swirl about a cast of legendary but very human characters. The redoubtable Cornwell strikes again. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell is the author of many historical thrillers, including the SHARPE series which was a highly successful television drama. He was born in London but now lives in America.

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