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The Pagan King Paperback – January 1, 2001

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edison Marshall (1894-1967) was born in Indiana and as a teenager moved to Oregon. He studied at the University of Oregon before joining the U.S. Army in 1916 and attaining the rank of second lieutenant. After his marriage in 1920, he settled in the Augusta area of Georgia. Because of his avid interest in hunting and outdoor life, he travelled widely throughout the world, and his experiences provided source material for may of his short stories and novels. Most are historical novels, and several were made into films. Among the most successful were YANKEE PASHA (1947), THE VIKING (1951), THE CONQUEROR (1962), and THE LOST COLONY (1964). He once observed, "I write precisely what I want to write with no thought of audience. My first obligation is to tell an exciting story, and if I can instruct and inspire as well, all to the good."
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Product Details

  • Series: Pendragon Fiction, 6209
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Impressions; 1 edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1928999174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1928999171
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,532,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a good book. I had to debate long and hard over that statement. It's great adventure and intrigue, quite realistic for the most part, I was impressed with the fact that this in not Fantasy. The problem with it is how much licence the author took with Arthur's rise to power and his reign, as compared to most other versions. Of course that's good and bad. If you like Jack Whyte, you'll like this book, if Marion Bradley wrote your favorite version, you probably won't.
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I'm rather enamored of adventures and historicals and, among my favorites, are tales of the Dark and Middle Ages. So when I noticed this one, a re-print of a book by Edison Marshall, who wrote many tales in this vein back in the fifties, I rushed to order it. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. It's a decent enough interpretation of the Arthurian legend, offering a realistic reconstruction of how the tale might have originally arose, based on the older Welsh elements. And the prose, especially at the beginning, really wowed me as it seemed rolling and poetic and fresh. But the tale, itself, finally bogged down, being laden with flat and lifeless characters and a predictability which, combined with the dull players, caused me to want to give up on the book half way through. But I didn't surrender to that impulse, primarily because I wanted to do this review (not a great reason to finish a book, I'll grant you). In the end this tale did not soar as I'd hoped it would and the lively, fresh writing with which it began became staler, along with the tale it was telling. Even the Arthur character never fully became clear, remaining a somewhat unsympathetic bumbler to the end, not at all convincing as king or hero. If you like adventure or Arthurian material you might find that this one suits you. But clearly it didn't work for me though I must admit, I'm a harder sell these days than I used to be. Three stars for the workman-like quality of the prose. Othwerwise I'd have rated it lower.

SWM

The King of Vinland's Saga
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Format: Paperback
...while the info on this book seemed interesting, it was, unfortunately not. The premise for the book is Arthur, or Artyr, is a Welsh rustic, who with Merlin's, or Merdin's help struggles to attain the throne of his father, King Vortigern. It had a very good plot and surprising twists to the story, with occasionally some good dialogue between the major characters. In this rendition, Mordred, or Modred is not Arthur's bastard son born of incest with his sister, instead Modred is Arthur's half brother and not at all a bad sort of guy.
However, the text tended to run on and quickly became tedious. Some sentences comprised entire paragraphs and frequently made the storyline hard to follow. The action scenes were few but those were the best parts of the book, numbering about three to four in total. I wanted to give the book a fair chance and stuck with it till the end. I would not advise it for those who like an interesting and fast paced King Arthur novel.
To quote the author, Edison Marshall, at the end of the book, "I write precisely what I want to write with no thought of the audience." Perhaps he should of thought of the audience and gave us something more palatable...
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Format: Paperback
I read this book many years ago as a teenager, and as an "earthy" version of the legend, I found it an interesting point of view. But make no mistake that this is a realistic, more historical account. Marshall makes very free with his story line, with little or no attempt at historic accuracy. He doesn't seem to like the title character very much, and makes him a shallow, self-centered and easily led pawn of others. I later read another book of Marshall's called The Conqueror that featured a very similar re-telling of the life of Alexander the Great. Again, he is an obnoxious, unbelievably (literally) hubristic character whose accomplishments are all due to the actions of others. I got the feeling that the author was actually jealous of these figures and wanted to drag them down to less-than-lifesize. For those accustomed to treatments by historical-fiction writers like Mary Stewart and Mary Renault, you probably will be disappointed.
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