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Excalibur (A Novel of Arthur: The Warlord Chronicles) Hardcover – 2 Oct 1997

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; First Edition edition (2 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718100573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718100575
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 248,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

Product Description


"Medieval times burst to life in Cornwell's canny retelling of the King Arthur myth." --"People" "The action is gripping and skillfully paced, cadenced by passages in which the characters reveal themselves in conversation and thought, convincingly evoking the spirit of the time." --"Publishers Weekly "on "Excalibur" (starred review) "The best Arthurian since Gillian Bradshaw, if not Mary Stewart herself." --"The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction "on "Enemy of God" "The strength of the tale lies in the way Cornwellflesh-and-blood tells it through the creation of fesh-and-blood players who make a historical period come magically alive." --"The Washington Post "on "The Winter King" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell, bestselling author of the Warlord Chronicles and the Sharpe series, is married and lives in Cape Cod, USA. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alan on 29 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a great conclusion to an already great series. The book concludes in such a way that it makes you want to know more, even though the book has come to a satisfactory end.
I was very impressed in the way how Cornwell managed to write about a period in history where very little is known and is often associated with fantasy. Cornwell changed this and managed to write a perfectly plausible book on the events that happended, apart from the mild fantasy element.
The outline of the story is different from Cornwell's usual so it makes for orginal material if you are used to the normal Cornwell setup. The character narrates and the character has to overcome many personal challenges and tribulations.
Overall, i would say that this is Cornwell's masterpiece. I often say that Sharpe's Sword was the best but after reading excalibur, I have changed my opinion. THe state of my Excalibur book reflects this!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By led zep on 18 May 2006
Format: Paperback
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?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. Frazier on 6 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
It's a great book, and would certainly get 5 stars from me if I had the paperback version. However, I am somewhat annoyed at the poor quality of the Kindle edition, and to make matters worse, at time of writing it's nearly 40% more expensive than the physical paperback! Admittedly there is no VAT on the paperback, but it's still inexcusable.

The Kindle edition has been sloppily produced via some optical character recognition software, and clearly has never passed under the eyes of a human before being released. Don't get me wrong, it's readable, but there are enough errors to break you from the flow of the story quite often. Errors like "AH" instead of "All", etc, as well as bizarre hyphenation where the physical book has words that cross the boundary between two lines.

So... a brilliant 5-star book, but for paying 40% more for an inferior version littered with errors that could be easily corrected by the publishers at minimal expense, I only give it 3 stars. I'm yet to come across a more poorly produced Kindle edition of a book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
I haven't read any other books by Bernard Cornwell and only read these because I'm interested in this period of Britain's history. Absolutely magical, to compare it with Tolkein is perhaps irrelevant but it may help the prospective buyer so here goes... In a nutshell, where The Lord of The Rings is a fantasy story based in a 'realistic', but unfamiliar, history, the Warlord Chronicles are realistic stories based in a familiar period of history that conveniently leaves few written records. A number of the 'shock' moments in these three books simply wouldn't have happened either in LOLR or most other fiction. Excalibur ties up the story, giving it a reasonably satisfying ending but leaving you wondering what then happened in the years between the end of the book and Derfel's arrival at the monastery. These books are as near perfect as possible: pretty close to being my favourites of all time. Cornwell is a genius.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Excalibur is the last of the Warlord Chronicles, Bernard Cornwell's trilogy on Arthur the warlord who, according to the author at least, was never king. This is the volume where the Saxon (and Angle) invaders get crushed at Mont Badon. Two-thirds of the book is devoted to the build-up of this climatic event. It is also the only battle that is a historic event, since it is attested by several of the written sources, starting with Gildas who makes clear that it was a great victory for the Britons. It also seems to have postponed the Anglo-Saxon drive towards the West for about a generation, although there is no secure dating for the battle itself and historians have been furiously debating this and everything else about Arthur and his times.

The qualities that were apparent in the two previous volumes are also displayed in this one. A rather original plot for a very well-known story - the medieval mythical Arthur was about as well-known as Roland and Charlemagne across Europe. The comparison that comes to mind, although it should perhaps not be pushed too far is with the Illiad for the Ancient Greeks. I already mentioned some of the main twists: Lancelot painted as a villain, Merlin as a selfish, grumpy and rather unsympathetic old man, Arthur as a very competent but reluctant and idealistic warrior, Galahad the Christian, Lancelot's half-brother but loyal to Arthur, Derfel, the narrator and one of Arthur's warlords, and who happens to be the bastard son of a King. There are many other original twists, such as that of King Mark of Cornwall and Tristan, his heir, and Iseult, his young wide who happens to be the daughter of one of the Irish piratical Kings who had settled along the Welsh coasts. This, by the way, is historically correct.
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