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Pendragon's Banner Hardcover – December, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Camelot is less a romantic kingdom than a lusty and fragmented realm in this spirited retelling of Arthurian legend, the second novel in Hollick's projected trilogy (The Kingmaker). Over the years, Arthur Pendragon and Gwenhwyfar have accumulated a vast array of estranged relatives, rivals and half-mad adversaries. Among the most formidable of their enemies are Winifred, Arthur's embittered ex-wife, who's plotting to ensconce her son, Cedric, as heir to the throne, and Morgause, a manipulative priestess who wants to consolidate her power in the north to become queen of the realm. Hollick manipulates a large cast of characters with a deft hand. She is most successful in depicting Arthur and Gwenhwyfar not as a newly married couple but as parents who grieve as their three sons are endangered by many calamities. In an author's note, Hollick writes: "Arthur Pendragon, to those people who study him, is a very personal and passionately viewed character. We all have our own ideas, insist ours is the correct one, and argue like mad with anyone who disagrees!" Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting and well worth fighting to defend.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A vivid portrayal... A great novel for those looking for a darker alternative history of Camelot." - Hollywood Today

"This novel is an ambitious twist on the well worn tale of Arthur Pendragon, and it succeeds because Hollick has made Arthur human and accessible. Written as history rather than myth," - Historical Novel Reviews

"A vividly alive portrait of England in the Middle Ages
" - The Tome Traveller's Weblog

"Pendragon's Banner is a rich and gripping tale, but not without its light and often comical moments which the author interjects throughout the novel.

" - Enchanted by Josephine

"Hollick gave us a nitty-gritty, flawed, courageous, even - inadvertently perhaps - sexy Arthur. Perhaps, in our opinion, one of the very best portrayals of this legendary warrior King." - A Reader's Respite

"Pendragon's Banner is a story of human love and conflict" - Carla Nayland Historical Fiction

"I just love all the elements of convoluted relationships and kinships. I think that's one of the more fascinating facets of the Pendragon tales; how the characters are inter-related one way or another." - Found Not Lost

"Hollick's version brings an added dimension to the King Arthur tale and will fascinate you as well. " - Jenny Loves to Read

"I appreciate that Hollick decided to write dialogue in a more sophisticated and style." - The Courtier's Book

"Helen Hollick has an amazing ability to paint the perfect picture with her descriptive prose." - He Followed Me Home --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Pendragon's Banner (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 547 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr (December 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031214699X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312146993
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,717,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)
p.s. Why not take a look at the book trailer videos opposite?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robin on March 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hollick’s Pendragon series set out to tell a more realistic story of the Arthurian Legend and she certainly accomplished that. The downside to reading King Arthur books is that most of time, you already know what’s coming but with this series, you’re never quite sure. Hollick took full advantage of letting loose her creativity.

At the same time, there are many of the more classic elements that we all know of the legend, just not always exactly how we know them. The thing about folklore is, of course, that it’s told orally for generations, even centuries, before it’s written down so in theory, if Arthur were a real historical figure or based on one, you would actually have to assume that the legend we know today was warped and evolved over time. Hollick seems to have set out writing with this in mind, building a story where nearly all the classic elements are there but many of them are not exactly how we know them, crafting a believable idea of how this element was warped into that or that character got confused with this.

And yet the story doesn’t feel contrived or reverse engineered. The characters are fleshed out and the story is unpredictable. I can’t wait to read the final book and see where Hollick takes it next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thumper on October 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the whole series and thouroghly enjoyed the adventure. The King Arthur stories are always of interest to me. This one had a few different twists to it; kept the story line moving along but to a different 'drummer'. It was very believable; in case you had any doubts.
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By Tamela Mccann VINE VOICE on February 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pendragon’s Banner, the second book in Helen Hollick’s take on the Arthurian legend, follows closely behind The Kingmaking. Arthur has won his kingdom, but finds he must constantly look over his shoulder at the legions ready for him to lose control of his lands. Peace also eludes Gwenhwyfar as she raises her three young sons, knowing Arthur’s first wife Winifred is looming with her own son as rival heir. Mix in Arthur’s aunt, Morgause, whose sole evil purpose seems to be to bring Arthur to ruin, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a royal disaster of epic proportions.

Pendragon’s Banner gives us a very different Arthur than the one made famous by so many others. He’s not Christian, or even particularly religious; while he loves Gwenhwyfar beyond reason, he’s not a faithful husband. This Arthur is not always a good person, but he is a brilliant military commander and a man whom others will follow even unto death. There is no magic to be found in Pendragon’s Banner, no Lancelot, no Merlin; instead we are given a fallible man striving to hold his kingdom together for the sake of his people and his sons. Likewise, Gwenhwyfar is no wallflower, waffling between two men. Indeed Gwenhwyfar steals the show late in the book when she takes matters into her own hands and decisively leads a charge in the face of incredible odds.

This novel is an ambitious twist on the well-worn tale of Arthur Pendragon, and it succeeds because Hollick has made Arthur human and accessible. Written as history rather than myth, the story at times moves a bit slowly but builds very nicely toward the climax. While purists may not like Hollick’s take, I found myself enjoying the idea of Arthur as a real king facing distrust and doubt, both from himself and his vassals. I will definitely be reading the third installment in this excellent trilogy.

Thank you to the Historical Novel Society for providing a copy of this book for review.
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Format: Paperback
Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick is a continuation of The Kingmaking and another fantastic example of Helen Hollick's amazing story telling. It is the story of King Arthur and granted I loved the first book as well but picking up this one was wonderful - being able to go back in time and learn more about Arthur and Gwenhwyfar, their lives together and the times that the novel takes place in had me completely engrossed. I was sucked into Pendragon's Banner from the first page and let me just say that the 460 odd pages of this novel just fly by as you're trapped inside with battles raging both on the war fields and at home with Arthur and Gwenhwyfar.

Arthur is Supreme King for the past three years and he has been fighting battles and moving Gwenhwyfar and his three sons many times. Gwenhwyfar is plain sick of it; sick of living in tents and never having a place to call their own. Gwenhwyfar has not changed much with the years. She is still the feisty woman she has always been; a woman with her own mind and not afraid to use it or voice her thoughts. She is angry with Arthur as his need to settle is not as great as her own. Along the way tragedy strikes and Gwenhwyfar decides to take some time away from Arthur and go home to Gwynedd until finally their love wins out again and they are back together.

What I think I like best about Helen Hollick's writing is her ability to make me feel like I'm living in the pages of the novel. I'm on the battlefield seeing the bloodshed and feeling the fear. I'm feeling Arthur's fears as he tries to do his best for his men and his family and I'm feeling anger when he is unfaithful to his wife and needs a kick in the butt. I'm feeling their sadness when things go terribly wrong and their happiness and hope when they don't.
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