Ok, I know that this is supposed to be a review for 'excalibur' but im going to write this in the context of the other two books. I first got the winter king when i was 12 and have since read all three books at least 200 times. The artistry and skill whith which cornwall casually emits is staggering. I think the reason why i love this trilogy so much is because of the charcters. all of them are idosyncratic, loveable and three dimensional. Having read the books as much as I have you come to think of them as old friends, ready to take you on an epic quest of adventure and fantasy. It was these books that inspired my love of the arthurian legend and i think it is the way the charcters progress throughout the novels, that makes these works truly epic. As a reader, you have the sense of a greater period of time passing, from the turbulent stages of Arthur's early rule, the chaos of civil war, to the final battle in which civilisation is pitted against savagery. Therefore you, as the reader, feel like you have lived the lives of these characters; experienced their happiness, despair, avarice, and courage.
Cornwall himself has admitted that these three books are his favourite and upon reading them it is not difficult to see why. Although i have followed his work in the 'holy grail' series and most recently, the chronicles of 'alfred the great', the arthurian saga stands as his magnum opus. Within these pages a whole world has been created, which as any enthusiastic writer will tell you is extremly difficult process to achieve and can only convincingly be done by a true professional. I know this sounds like a patronising eulogy, but the engagement with which these books are able to draw the reader in is spectacular. I can only hope that this, along with J.R.R Tolkiens the 'lord of the rings', will eventually become texts that are studied in school, as a testment to ingenuity and artistic creativity.
So what are you waiting for?