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Being a long time fan of everything related to the King Arthur legend, I was anxious to read this story, which promised to be about the "heir to the throne of Arthur". I was very pleased to see that this was more than just a retelling of the old King Arthur stories and instead featured a whole new set of characters. The two primary characters are Cade, the grandson of the legendary Arthur, and Rhiann, a woman who would love him, even if the fates would not allow it.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book for me was the way the author alternated each chapter from the perspectives of these two star-crossed lovers. It was something completely different to be allowed to get so deep into the thoughts of the two main characters, even as they related to one another. The author did an excellent job of giving each of them their own, unique voice and made it easy for the reader to relate to the different emotions that each experienced.
Of course, there were a number of other characters in this story as well, and the author did a great job of weaving them into the story along with Cade and Rhiann. There were different chapters where each of these two primary characters interacted with the same supporting players at different times, and it helped to give this reader a more well-rounded view of the supporting characters, certainly more so than usual in most books.
Naturally, this tale would not be complete without a sizeable portion of magic, demons, and swordplay. "The Last Pendragon" delivered nicely on all counts. I would have liked to have seen perhaps a little more magic from the wizard, but the little he did was instrumental to the story. I thought his character overall could have used a little more development, but the rest were very well done.Read more ›
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Sarah Woodbury weaves a tale of Myth and Magic in "The Last Pendragon: A Story of Dark Age Wales." The author brings together the Arthurian and Welsh myths, while adding her own style to this story. As a lover of historical fiction and fantasy genres, I quickly found myself immersed into the story that contains a bit of both. We see Cade the last of the Pendragon line trying to take hold of his destiny as King. The theme is non traditional and sets it self apart from most Arthurian legends and stories.
The plot is well written and moves at a pleasant pace, while bringing together a core group of characters. With the threat of the sidhe, demons, hell hounds and the Welsh Gods who try and control the outcome at every turn, the characters are tested. I found myself getting caught up in the feelings of brotherhood, loyalty, friendship and the longing of love, all while facing the knowledge that they might not make it in the end. I could not put this book down and read every chance I had, even losing sleep to finish the story.
The amount of historical research that went into this book was evident throughout the story. The author's knowledge of life during dark age Wales and the history of Wales gave believability to this story. I found myself once again on the Isle of Anglesey, seeing it from a different perspective all while reliving my own journey through the rugged country side of Wales.
All in all this was a great story to read. I felt my love for the Arthurian era come alive again. I would recommend this book for anyone who would like to venture out of the norm when it comes to the tales of King Arthur and his descendants. I for one am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. This book is worthy of 4.5 Stars! The Last Pendragon: A Story of Dark Age Wales
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The title of Sarah Woodbury's The Last Pendragon intrigued me because of my long interest in King Arthur's descendants, although the title character is actually Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, the last of the Welsh kings, as mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain. Cadwaladr is not actually a descendant of King Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Woodbury does not make him such in her novel, although he is continually referred to as Arthur's heir and compared to Arthur in greatness.
I assumed Woodbury would not make Cadwaladr Arthur's direct descendant, but I was still interested in the novel because few authors have tried to treat the Welsh version of Arthurian times, save for people like Nikolai Tolstoy in The Coming of the King. Woodbury does not try to recreate the Welsh world to the extreme level of authenticity Tolstoy attempted, but she introduces the Welsh gods who rarely make it into Arthurian legends. As she notes in her afterword, the conflict between pagans and Christians was more commonly a medieval issue, and I found her Welsh world and their gods a refreshing change in Arthurian fiction.
The gods play a major role in this novel. Cadwaladr, more commonly called Cade in the novel, is the son of the late king Cadwallon, who was killed by his enemy Cadfael, who then married Cadwaladr's mother. Taliesin, the bard, took Cadwaladr to safety as a child, but now Cadwaladr is grown; he has just done battle with his men against Cadfael and lost. He is imprisoned at Cadfael's court but is rescued by Cadfael's bastard daughter Rhiann, and together they escape the castle.
Following the escape, the gods enter the picture.Read more ›
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With two historian parents, Sarah couldn't help but develop an interest in the past. She went on to get more than enough education herself (in anthropology) and began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded she let them out. While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time while in college. She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names.
With over 300,000 books sold, Sarah is the author of 19 novels and 2 novellas, all set in medieval Wales. She makes her home in Oregon.
Please follow her online at www.sarahwoodbury.com or https://www.facebook.com/sarahwoodburybooks
Sarah's books include:
The After Cilmeri Series: Daughter of Time (prequel) Footsteps in Time (Book 1) Winds of Time (novella) Prince of Time (Book 2) Crossroads in Time (Book 3) Children of Time (Book 4) Exiles in Time Castaways in Time Ashes of Time Warden of Time Guardians of Time
The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries: The Bard's Daughter (novella) The Good Knight The Uninvited Guest The Fourth Horseman The Fallen Princess The Unlikely Spy The Lost Brother
Arthurian and Paranormal Historical Fantasy: Cold My Heart: A Novel of King Arthur The Last Pendragon The Pendragon's Quest