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The Skystone (The Camulod Chronicles, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 15, 1996
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“From the building blocks of history and the mortar of reality, Jack Whyte has built Arthur's world, and showed us the bone beneath the flesh of legend.” ―Diana Gabaldon
“Jack Whyte is a master storyteller . . . . Wyte breathes life into the Arthurian myths by weaving the reality of history into them.” ―Tony Hillerman
“I loved the book. It was an extraordinary story, totally original and clearly there is a lot more excitement to come in the upcoming volumes.” ―Rosamunde Pilcher
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Top Customer Reviews
Jack Whyte presents Caius Brittanicus and Publius Varrus, the Roman forbearers of King Arthur and founders of Camulod. the novel starts off with the penetration of Hadrians wall by the Barbarian Hordes and takes us up to the end of the 4th Century. In it you will meet Picus Brittanicus, father of Merlin, and learn how Excalibur came to be. The characters are totally believeable and real. Each one has his/her faults as well as his/her strong points.
What I loved about this book is the fact that Whyte took his time and painstakingly recreated the Roman World. His description of the battles, the Roman Army, Roman life... It was all fantastic. This is more of a historical fiction than a fantasy novel, so if you are looking for wizards and warlocks, you will be disappointed.
I must say that some parts of this novel, and certainly in the ones that follow, contain "adult" themes. You might want to consider this before allowing young adults to read it.
Finally, the true measure of the first novel in a series is it's ability to get you excited about the next installment. As soon as I finished book one I immediately picked up book2, so it's a hit!
Having read just about every version of the Arthurian legend, I picked up Jack Whyte's book: The Skystone, hoping to find something more definitive and less magical. What I discovered, was an extremely well written and historically fascinating look at 5th century life in Roman occupied Britain.
Whyte did his homework, and it shows in so many ways. Not only does he evince a formidable knowledge and understanding of Rome's military men, but also of the impact the Empire had on the entire known world.
His explanation for the sword Excalibur's beginnings makes sense, and includes magic-if only for the way it appeared to primitive eyes. Whyte, like another author, Colleen McCullough, takes no shortcuts, nor opts for facile answers to the legend of Arthur, and the birth of Camelot.
Instead, he patiently builds, step by step, a plausible yet highly entertaining historical setting.
General Caius Brittanicus is a brilliant and highly decorated Roman man, who was born in Britain. A man of deep insight and wisdom, he forsees the collapse of the Roman Empire. When not on campaign for Rome, he lives with his wife, children and widowed sister Luceia.
Publius Varro is General Brittanicus' Primus Pilus, or senior aide. Their fortunes are inextricably entwined, and how the two of them grow deep in love and respect for one another, is the main thrust of the first book.
Varro, has a blade fashioned from what his grandfather described as a skystone. This sword has a sheen, and luster ordinary iron doesn't possess, and is much stronger than even bronze.Read more ›
The novel, which is the first in the epic series the Camulod Chronicles, by the way, is told in the first person through the eyes of Publius Varrus. Varrus is a Roman soldier and "The Skystone" tells his story during an important historical time for Britain. The book opens up with a raid against the British, and Varuus befriends military general Brittanicus. With a group of soldiers they are on the run and get into many brawls. Varrus then takes his own path and goes to his hometown to take over his family business of metal working. Varrus is then on the move again and eventually falls in love with a woman. From the beginning to the end "The Skystone" entertains.
The greatest aspect of this whole novel is the realism of the events. Similar things did take place back during the ages when Rome was in control of much of Europe and this historical novel, or historical fantasy if you will, holds up to the first part of it's name in being historical. The reader will learn much on the Roman army and how it functioned and much about Britian during this fascinating time in history.
The major thing that I didn't like about the book were the characters. I found most of the characters to be one dimensional, and while likeable, I couldn't care for any of them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read a number of Arthurian stories. But I have never read one as great as this. The word great does not do this book justice. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Jodhan Ford
An amazing story of early Britain in the hands of Rome. Rome who conquered the known world at the time, corrupt at best, produced men willing to risk all to carry on the values... Read morePublished 1 month ago by RoseZ
One of, if not the best, historical novels I've ever read. I became so involved with the characters that I felt as though I'd received this story in the form of a letter from my... Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. L. Bray
King Arthur's life is part legend and Whyte shows us, definitely based on a pre-historic Britain and Roman Brittanica full of threads from which the legend, poems, musicals are... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Hugh Oliver