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The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur (The Warlord Chronicles Book 1) by [Cornwell, Bernard]
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The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur (The Warlord Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 434 customer reviews

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Length: 518 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1246 KB
  • Print Length: 518 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (April 15, 1997)
  • Publication Date: April 15, 1997
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WOVK52
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have read most of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. I have mostly found them a good read being a fan of historical fiction. I was hesitant to read a book on "Aurthurian England" for I have found the hackneyed legends sorrounding Aurthur's myth tiresome. But WOW this is an incredible novel that brings to life a possible historical basis of this sparsely documented time in British history. It is a rich and exciting portrayal of Arthur and plausible explanations of the people and events that brought about the legend of Excalibur. I must say it is the best of his novels I have read so far and am excited about continueing with the series. I have found that those who have not enjoyed this book have been looking for a fantasy novel of a traditional sense about Avalon etc. This is not it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget knights in shining armor performing chivalrous deeds for damsels in distress; forget Camelot and massive castles with gleaming stone turrets and round tables. Bernard Cornwell's "The Winter King" rips a bleak and gritty tale of the legendary Arthur, a realistic rendering of life in Briton's 5th Century, a period of history described as "The Dark Ages" for good reason.

As always, Cornwell's fiction based-in-history is well researched and fast moving. And while the evidence of Arthur is inconclusive, his faithful depiction of Briton's warlords fighting each other, even while the dreaded Saxon's occupy the eastern half of the island, is fact. The ancient Pagan religion vies with the emerging Christianity for mind share of the populace, while Druids and Christian Priests intermingle with no love lost. It's been a couple of generations since the Roman's packed up and left, taking with them, it seems, any semblance of civilization, leaving the natives in awe of their knowledge. The once great Roman roads and cities have drifted into disrepair, and rival tribes raising armies and taxes to battle their brethren drain the land. In this war torn land, Cornwell's Arthur returns from service across the sea in Armorica (France). Arthur is not a king, but a noble and loyal leader sworn to protect the infant and crippled King Mordred, heir to the recently deceased Uther Pendragon, Briton's high king. While admittedly anachronisms, the author includes familiar figures from the legend: Merlin, Galahad, and Excalibur, but Lancelot is a cowardly fraud and Guinevere is a shallow and witchy seductress who inadvertently leads the courageous but naive Arthur into war that never should have been.
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Format: Paperback
I've read my share of Arthurian themed books. The first ones I read, and the ones I still maintain are the best, were those by Mary Stewart. Since reading those I really haven't found any series that I liked.
Until I read this. My freind recommended this to me, saying "The Druids hop around on one foot in this book!" And that got me. (They actually do, in parts)
This book is highly imaginative. And while it does use parts of the later legends that irritate me in books that are marketed for their historical accuracy (yeah right), there is so much creative imagination in this book. The author sticks to the legends, but not so artificially that it's the same as any other series you've read.
Example one that I love:
We know very little about the Druids. But many authors take this fact and either 1)don't include a worthwile description of them or 2)just use a few simple facts that we do know over and over.
Instead, the author uses his knowledge as a scholar to invent some really strange but wonderful things, still managing to keep it realistic.
Another thing I loved in this book was the portrayal of the main three characters: Arthur, Lancelot, and Guenievere. So often you see them as these beautiful, shiny happy people. Not so in this book. They are dynamic individuals. Arthur is still his down to earth self, but he is selfish and rash. Lancelot is beautiful but a total flake and a jerk (the way I always thought he was). And Guenievere. The most dynamic of all. All she wants is to see the world at it's most beautiful, but you can tell that underneath it all is a layer of cold intelligence, a hard iron will.
Anyway, this book was unlike any other I've read. It was completely compelling.. I read it in 3 days.
I'll definetly recommend it over Steven Lawhead, Jack Whyte, Marrion Zimmer Bradley, and most of the others.
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Format: Paperback
This is not your traditional King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur isn't a king, there are no knights and there is no round table. On the other hand, this is a well-written tale of late 5th century Britain. The Romans have gone and chaos reigns politically, socially, and religiously. What real historical record actually exists suggests that a warlord actually lived who led the fight of the celtic Britons against the invading Angles and Saxons. Was this Arthur? We'll probably never know, but Cornwell has taken elements of the traditional Arthur and combined it with what little is known of the period to produce an engrossing and plausible story. Some aspects may disappoint fans of the traditional Arthur. For example, Lancelot is not exactly the great warrior of legend. The book is a page-turner, though. It will hold your interest all the way through. It held mine, anyway. As historical fiction, this is some of the best I have come across. I recommend it highly: 5 stars.
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