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Enemy of God (The Arthur Books #2) Paperback – March 15, 1998

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Enemy of God (The Arthur Books #2) + Excalibur (The Warlord Chronicles) + The Winter King (The Arthur Books #1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312187149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312187149
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cornwell furnishes a provocative look at the Arthurian legends in Enemy of God, the second book in the Warlords Chronicle. This version of the tale takes place during the Dark Ages, when even the lords of the land lived in thatched huts. Arthur, still defending Britain for his younger half-brother Mordred, faces religious uprisings, Saxon invasions, and disloyalty at the heart of the kingdom. His uncompromising belief in oaths and his optimistic blindness to human betrayal isolate him from even his closest friends. At the same time, Merlin's quest for the Cauldron (read Holy Grail) also becomes entangled in treachery.

Cornwell's writing skills have continued to evolve since his journeyman Sharpe series, and Enemy of God combines intriguing descriptions of Druidical magic with the war-ravaged landscape of Dark Ages Britain, without holding back on the brutality of vengeance and war. The Matter of Britain always commands interest, and Cornwell invests the usual splendor and tragedy with the human squalor of the times. --Blaise Selby

From Library Journal

Historical novelist Cornwell continues his lively retelling of the Arthurian legend, begun in The Winter King (LJ 5/15/96). Having secured the throne of Dumnonia for the infant King Mordred, Arthur seeks to bring peace to the kingdom by uniting the various rival Celtic factions into the "Brotherhood of Britain." Derfel, one of Arthur's warriors and the book's narrator, sardonically notes that "the Round Table, of course, was never a proper name, but rather a nickname." But Arthur's good intentions are gradually undone: by Merlin's quest for the Thirteen Treasures of Britain; by Lancelot's and Guinevere's ambitions; by Mordred, now an unpleasant young man incapable of wise rule; and by the growing conflict between the old Druid religion and the new Christianity. To the fanatical Christians, the pagan Arthur is the Enemy of God. Despite the overabundance of confusing Celtic and Saxon names (there is a list identifying characters), this is an entertaining read, a fresh look at an old story.
-?Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Well written and very engrossing with excellent characters.
D. Gowar
Enemy of God is the second book of a trilogy from Bernard Cornwall, and follows The Winter King.
Kirstin G. Larson
Cornwell blends all of these facts together with a wonderful story.
Glenn Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is my first encounter with Richard Cornwell. It has definitely piqued my interest to read the other two volumes in the trilogy and to investigate other books by this author.
If you are familiar with Grail literature and with such classics as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte d'Arthur, etc., you will have certain preconceptions about the major characters that are here transmorgrified by Cornwell. The chivalrous Arthur is transformed into a more human, too-trusting, well-meaning leader of a tribe. Guenivere is a scheming, conceited megalomaniac, who mellows somewhat as the story progesses. The narrator's (Derfel's) harshest judgment is reserved for Lancelot. He is definitely not the same Lancelot-du-lac that we have come to know from Mallory. He's more like the 5th century version of a matinee idol. He's all image, no substance. He's not someone to be counted on in the heat of battle. Merlin is a rascally magus whose main concern lies in stemming the tide of Cristianity that he views as an invasion of the old order. Cornwell is obviously making judgement calls here, but he's not doing it purely for the sake of novelty. This is a thoroughly-researched, as well as an eminently well-written work.
Tolkien fans who have been turned-off by the pale imitators that have attempted to emulate the master's style will no doubt find many parallels in Cornwell. That's not to imply that Cornwell is imitative by any means. He just handles prose almost as adroitly as his predecessor. If there were a worthy Tolkien successor writing today, though in a slightly different genre, it would have to be Cornwell. Cornwell has created a truly heroic saga, and has left this reader looking forward eagerly to the other two volumes in the trilogy. Enemy of God is definitely several cuts above the mass of historical fiction being churned out today. The man can write!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Being a long term fan of Cornwell's Richard Sharpe series didn't prepare me for how much I would enjoy the Warlord Trilogy - of which this is the second book. The main character, Derfel Cadarn, is a masterful achievement. This retelling of the 'King' Arthur story as gritty, though imagined 'history' rather than fairytale legend, creates a stunning human saga as gripping and emotionally satisfying as any piece of fiction I have ever read. Cornwell's use of language is superb and each sentence is so well crafted that I was tempted to read the book out loud. I loved the story, the characters, the sturcture of the book, the irony gained by having the book narrated by Derfel in his old age - as an unbelieving priest who is pretending to be writing a translation of the gospels while actually writing Arthur's story as an entertainment for the young queen.
This is a fabulous book - as are the other two. Cornwell obviously just gets better and better. If you haven't read any of his many books, this is a great place to start. I highy recommend it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having read Caxton's Mallory's Morte d'Arthur, and a fair number of Middle English scraps of Arthurian lore, I had been looking forward to finding a good modern retelling for quite some time. Frankly, the originals are striking conceptually, but relatively unrewarding as literature -- one keeps thinking, while reading them, that they would make a good book. But it seemed to much to hope for -- too difficult a task for nearly any author to achieve an even partial success.
Cornwell has succeeded fully.
The characters are full and real and strikingly well conceived, even while being a fair reflection (in a broad sense) of the original texts with which I am familiar. The actions of the characters make perfect sense in context, and their actions are complex and difficult to foresee, as they should be. The story is firmly grounded in the realities 5th Century Britain, which gives it a feeling of, well, realism. The author clearly not only knows his history, but his strategy and his philosophy, yet he never comes across to the reader as overbearing or heavyhanded -- these essential items for an epic like this are kept in the background, where they should be.
You get the idea. Cornwell has done it, and really done it right. It's a big story, and it hasn't been told very well for a long, long time -- and now Cornwell has retold it best of all.
Please direct comment or flames to heliwotdabny@aol.com
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eduardo Arechaga on October 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Excellent continuation to "The Winter King." Cornwell has done a really good job creating the characters for this series. They, in combination with the adventure and romance, make this book thoroughly enjoyable. I am not the fastest reader in the world and work quite a number of hours per day, but I finished this book in less than a week.
This book, as the first, is narrated by Derfel Cadarn (a forgotten personage in Arthurian legend) as a very old monk. He tells his stories of battle as one of Arthur's warlords in Arthurs quest to achieve a peaceful Britain. At the same time he tells the story of the other characters and their life goals, which aren't necessarily the same as Arthurs.
I loved the book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I liked the other two even better. This is the best series I have ever read. If you are reading this review means that you are interested in this subject -- so go ahead and buy this series, you'll really enjoy it, I promise.
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More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.

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