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Kingmaking: Book One of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy; Bk. 1) [Kindle Edition]

Helen Hollick
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Who was THE MAN

Who became THE LEGEND

We know as KING ARTHUR?


"You are the Pendragon, rightful Lord of Dumnonia and the Summer Land; Lord of less Britain. By all that is right, you ought be seated where Vortigern sits…You ought to be King."

Here lies the truth of the Lord of the Summer Land.


This is the tale of Arthur flesh and bone. Of the shaping of the man, both courageous and flawed, into the celebrated ruler who inspired armies, who captured Gwenhyfar's heart, and who emerged as the hero of the Dark Ages and the most enduring hero of all time.


This is the unexpected story of the making of a king — the legend who united all of Britain.



  • Book One of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy

  • Includes bonus reading group guide


PRAISE FOR THE KINGMAKING


"If only all historical fiction could be this good."

Historical Novels Review


"Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story…"

Bernard Cornwell


"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting, and well worth fighting to defend."

Publishers Weekly


"Compelling, convincing, and —ultimately-unforgettable."

Sharon Kay Penman, Bestselling Author of Devil's Blood



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this first volume of what promises to be a monumental historical trilogy, rookie British author Hollick depicts Arthur's rise from A.D. 450, when he was a 15-year-old boy of hidden parentage, to A.D. 457, when he took his place as the King Arthur of legend. The story combines private emotions and public statecraft as marriages, alliances and enemies are made and unmade to suit the politics of the era. Hollick mixes elements from fifth-century history, myth, early romances, contemporary fantasy and other novels about Arthur, adding her own inventions for good measure. The treatment of Gwenhwyfar and her love for Arthur (depicted here as star-crossed even without Lancelot's help) is especially vivid. Though the novel contains no supernatural aspects, with its exotic setting, passionate characters and epic battles and intrigue, it still should appeal to the fantasy fans to whom most Arthurian adventures are addressed. The language, too, is influenced by genre fantasy, especially in its dramatic descriptions and reliance on archaisms; but this big-hearted novel's historical speculations alone should make it of interest to the non-fantasy reader as well.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As the rightful son of Uthr Pendragon, Arthur dreams of uniting the warring kings of Britain. Gwenhwyfar's hope, as the only daughter of Cuncedda, the Lion Lord of Gwynedd, is to join Arthur's cause. Hollick's first novel re-creates the uneasy political climate of fifth-century Britain, a land suffering under the rule of the tyrant Vortigern. Stripped of its medieval trappings, the story of Arthur's rise loses none of its legendary power. Most libraries will want to add this well-researched, skillfully constructed trilogy opener to their collections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2428 KB
  • Print Length: 595 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402218885
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003H29CA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,649 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Arthur - legend or real? December 29, 2003
By chwms
Format:Hardcover
Many reviewers of this book center their review on their previous encounters with Arthur. Since most of us learned about Arthur via the legends - Morte d' Arthur or even Disney's Sword in the Stone - we had the picture of Arthur as the legend.This legend of King Arthur, as ingrained as it is in our culture is not real. It's myth. Historians are just now beginning to debate the idea of the 'real' King Arthur. Who would he have been? Where would he have travelled? What would his culture have been. And we know that the culture of these dark times after Rome left Britain is indeed, dark and fearful.
This book, The Kingmaking, looks at Arthur through that historical eyeglass. What would he have been like as a real, breathing human being? His strength of will, body and spirit are all shown here as well as his human failings. Ms Hollick draws characters who are completely human - with all that that entails...including being inconsistent. I found Arthur and Gwenhyfr to be excellent characters and enjoyed their firery encounters immensely.
There is no need for amazon.com reviewers to blame the author for typos and copy mistakes. Write the publisher!
Read this book as the great historical fiction it is. Dump your preconceived notions of the legendary Kind Arthur and just sit back and enjoy a good read!
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127 of 148 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kingmaking Fell Far Short of Expectations January 30, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first in a series of three books, "The Kingmaking", English writer Helen Hollick's maiden novel, is an historical romance set within the legend of King Arthur. Presented as an attempt to separate the historical Arthur from the many myths that have grown out of this period in British history, this effort is part generic period drama and part erotic fantasy, without any inspirational value (unless you happen to be Bob Guccione). Without sufficient knowledge of the historical period, very little awareness of the warrior culture of which she would write, possessing unrefined writing skills, but with an apparently strong desire to explore the love story of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar (that's Guinevere to most of the rest of us), an inexperienced author bit off more than she was ready to chew. The result, unfortunately, was "The Kingmaking".

This novel opens with Arthur, in his sixteenth year, voyaging to Britain with Uthr Pendragon, an exiled claimant to the British throne who is preparing to fight another campaign for his birthright. Unknown to Arthur, he is Uthr's illegitimate child and heir. Also unknown to Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, a spunky tomboy, is waiting in Britain with her nine older brothers and their father, an old ally ready to help Uthr claim his crown. In a pattern that will repeat itself many times over the next seven years (and five hundred and fifty-five pages) of narrative, Arthur and Gwen immediately find themselves in conflict. She dislikes him intensely, soaks him with a bucket of water for his insolence, he kind of likes her spirit and then tries to help her, she resents it but is intrigued by him, then she helps Arthur and finally falls madly in love with him.

When Uthr dies in battle, Arthur is advised of his status and acknowledged as Uthr's heir.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all fans of Arthurian fiction! December 29, 2003
Format:Hardcover
I am an avid collector of Arthurian fiction and Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner trilogy is one of the best fictional accounts of Arthur in Roman times that I have ever read. Her storytelling and characters are first-rate. Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner trilogy is comparable to Bradley's Mists of Avalon , Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset, and Stewart's Merlin trilogy. I highly recommend all the books in the trilogy- The Kingmaking, Pendragon's Banner, and The Shadow of the King. Read these books and you won't be sorry! These books have also been highly recommended by the famous historical fiction novelist, Sharon Kay Penman.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'd give this 0 if I could. November 21, 2011
Format:Paperback
If this is 'Arthur as you've never seen him before', or some other similar superlative, that's spot on.

An utterly unlikeable Arthur, as despicable as the rest of the equally (save one) scheming warlords, who hasn't managed, in the first third of the book, to distinguish himself from the others in any way.

He has, however, managed to beat and rape his (admittedly scheming) politically-wed Saxon wife, and have her like it. And no little 'love tap' either - he punches her full in the face, then beats her with his belt till she's bloody. THEN he rapes her. After which he gropes her, then insults her, and then she wants him back.

More disturbingly, all the women save for Gwynhwyfar (Guinevere), are apparently bitches, sluts, whores, and so on and so forth.

But hey, since ALL the men do it, and all the women accept it without comment (or overmuch comment), I blame the author more than her poor written Arthur.

Apparently Hollicks' idea of gritty realism is to render all women either madonnas or whores.

The issue isn't that Hollicks' Arthur is a brutal, despicable bastard. I recently read a book that did precisely that with Robin Hood, and it worked. Why? Context! *That* Robin was robbing *everyone* - none of this stealing from the rich to give to the poor stuff. But in context it made sense, because the peasantry hated the lords more than they hated Robin. He was viewed as one of their own - albeit a crazed and fearsome own. That, and the narrator was posited as the person who started the whole Robin Hood legend in the first place, telling the 'true story' later on. Robin is never portrayed as a hero. Hollicks' Arthur *is* the hero. That's the key difference.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another awesome story
I love Helen because she always portrays her women as strong independent females and her characters run the gambit of human emotion and character. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrscompton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Really engrossing book and looking forward to Books 2 and 3 shortly.
Published 2 months ago by Alistair Griffith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
part one of the trilogy, haven't started reading it yet!!!
Published 4 months ago by Gussy1947
3.0 out of 5 stars This is just the first of three
At 555 pages, this is a big book by any standards, but this is just the first of three novels by Helen Hollick on the legend of Arthur Pendragon. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Georgia Hiesterman
5.0 out of 5 stars Pendragon
Good take on the legend of Arthur. Seems plausible and realistic. A good read by one of my favorite authors.
Published 7 months ago by Debs
5.0 out of 5 stars Had no expectations....
This book has been in my elibrary for some time, and I finally read it just because nothing else I had looked appealing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lv2Read
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
The tale has many twists and turns, very exciting!
Once I started reading it I found it hard to put down. It was quite a lengthly read though. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sarah
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, but stiff in all other respects
This telling of the King Arthur story has some neat plot details that present the story in a new and pleasing way, but are not held up by much. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joshua Cannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Kingmaking King Arthur
I was pleasantly surprised by this take on the legendary King Arthur. I fell in love with the strong woman that was Gwen, although Arthur was not all I expected, he was very crude... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
this is a great series. I could not put it down. im dislexic and i got through it soo fast i was amazed.
Published 9 months ago by Janine Hynes
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More About the Author

I have always loved reading - and writing. I wrote stories as a young teenager, never believing I would one day be a published author.
I just so love bringing my imagined characters alive - to me they are very, very real - especially my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne!

'Helen Hollick has it all! She tells a great story, gets her history right and writes consistently readable books!' (Bernard Cornwell)

My Lost Kingdom Series - I AM THE CHOSEN KING (HAROLD THE KING is the UK title of the same book) and its prequel, The FOREVER QUEEN (A HOLLOW CROWNis the UK title of the same book) tells the story of the twilight years of Anglo Saxon England before the Norman Conquest.
Stripping the Norman propaganda from what we think we know of that most famous date in English history - 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, my novels portray all the honour and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.

I am also co-scriptwriter for the UK movie 1066 which is in development.

To balance the serious books I have my SEA WITCH VOYAGES: pirate-based adventure fantasy. A fine blend of Sharpe, Hornblower and Indiana Jones all stowed in the one boat.
Voyage One - SEA WITCH
Voyage Two - PIRATE CODE
Voyage Three - BRING IT CLOSE

"In the sexiest pirate contest, Captain Jesamiah Acorne gives Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow a run for his money" (Sharon Penman)

Charismatic and a charmer of a rogue, trouble follows Jesamiah Acorne like a ship's wake. His "girl" Tiola, is a white witch, one of the Wise Women of the Old Ones of Light. She is loyal and faithful to Jesamiah - but does he deserve her?

If you liked the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and enjoy a good sailor's yarn, then in the words of author Elizabeth Chadwick "You'll love this to pieces of eight".

Browse my books and 'Lege Feliciter' (read happily)
Helen
p.s. Why not take a look at the book trailer videos opposite?

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