My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In a new (well, relatively – 1990s) take on the Aurthurian legend, Jack Whyte looks not at King Arthur himself, but who came before him. How did Camelot come to be in the first place? What world events allowed the fabled kingdom to be created?
Set in the dying days of the Roman Empire, Roman general Caius Britannicus and his friend Publius Varrus, an ex-soldier and blacksmith, combine forces, resources and families to found a colony. Here they strive to protect their loved ones and their way of live from the barbarian invasions they know will be coming. The end of the Roman Empire is the end of the world as they know it. Their ultimate goal is to stop Britain from falling into barbarism, to uphold loyalty, discipline and honour in their small pocket of the island.
This novel was a great start to another epic retelling of the Arthurian saga. I can’t wait to see where this series goes. There is a little too much military history/strategy for me to give it a full five stars, but the characters are well developed and the attention to detail is phenomenal. I even love the “sciency” bits where Varrus tries to work out the origin and identity of the mysterious Skystone.
“Magic, after all, is no more than the product of knowledge others don’t share.”
I keep guessing at which characters will morph into traditional Arthurian roles, but I think I am likely way off. Too early for that yet. Clearly, Excalibur will be smelted from the Skystone. But I must say that if the Lady of the Lake is reduced to a mere statue, I will be disappointed.