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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite superb!
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...
Published on 29 Jan 2005 by Alan

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Kindle edition costs more and is full of errors
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...
Published on 6 April 2011 by Dr. R. Frazier


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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite superb!, 29 Jan 2005
By 
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Kindle edition costs more and is full of errors, 6 April 2011
By 
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars words fail me.., 18 May 2006
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding conclusion to a brilliant series, 12 Aug 1999
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The last of the Warlord Chronicles, 27 Aug 2012
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. Throughout the 3rd to the 5th centuries, war bands of Irish pirates attacked all along the western coast of Britain and founded several kingdoms. Those in Wales, which are mentioned in this book, were ultimately eliminated, but the Dal Riata who settled on the western part of what was to become Scotland and took over the whole country in the end.

As also already mentioned in my previous reviews, one of the greatest qualities of this book is to make the characters credible, whether the "goodies" or the "baddies". This is partly because the former are not flawless heroes whereas the latter are not dark arch-villains. It is also, and perhaps mostly, because the characters evolve over time, with some tending to move from one category to the other. Guinevere, for instance, becomes more sympathetic than in the previous volume, as opposed to Nimue who loses it completely and becomes quite atrocious. Above all, what makes this book a delight to read (and re-read) is that the characters appear to be human, with all their qualities and defects.

Finally, there is the historical context, which Cornwell has carefully researched. As the author acknowledges, no one can identify the location of Camlan, Arthur's last battle in which he was allegedly so grievously wounded. It is has been located on Salisbury Plain, in Wales, on Hadrian's Wall and in East Anglia (near Walton Castle). Cornwell has chosen another location, in South Devon, which fits better with his story but in reality we simply do not know. Another point we know little about is what gave the Britons - and Arthur in particular - a military edge over the Anglo-Saxons. We know the latter had no cavalry whereas the Britons did at least have light skirmishing cavalry equipped with javelins. We also know that among the units of the Roman Army in Britain there was at least one (and probably initially several) units of heavily armoured Sarmatian cavalry equipped with lances. So Bernard Cornwell's choice, to make Arthur's horsemen into heavy armoured cavalry of the cataphract type is both possible and plausible.

A fantastic read which would be worth seven stars (just like the two previous volumes) if this was possible.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine farewell to a rare trilogy, 14 Jun 2000
Yes, it has finally happened. Derfel Cadarn's tale of his Lord Arthur has finally ended, Excalibur has been laid to rest, and the Last Enchantment has been cast. Giving the previous two books 4 stars, I look upon this book, and noting the fact that it had me gripped for longer than the two preceeding books, I feel that I must justly award this book a full pledged 5 stars. This book is filled with battles, which some may say drag on for too long, but they replace the long drawn out 'empty' scenes which were to be found throughout the previous two stories. But, the battles are good, and enchanting, and purely exhillerating. I found that I could not put the book down towards the end, and feel rather empty now I have read it. Truelly marvellous, slightly better than the previous two, and not at all dissapointing. Onto Stephen Lawhead...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written? I think so., 28 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Having read the first two books I was eager to start this and was very happy when it was released. the winter king and enemy of god are excellent but this leaves them trailing in its wake, i don`t think that 5 stars does it justice. From the moment i first picked it up i was engrossed in the story, Cornwell writes so well that you feel that you are part of it. The novel is written so vividly and graphically that you don`t even need a good imagination to feel like you are there watching the story unravell infront of you. Somehow cornwell manages to get you to feel certain emotions towards the charachters which i rarely do when reading and it gave me a completely new reading experience. I would reccomend this book to everyone because it gives a different and very realistic impression of the story of King arthur, and it is so well crafted that you can`t put it down without waiting to pick it up again.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Phenonemenal, 1 Jan 2005
By 
M. Ferdinand (NY, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've never been a fan of the historical genre, but on having this series recommended to me, I decided to take the plunge - and I am very glad I did.
The series is not just for fans of the genre - it is for any that appreciate a brilliantly written series; who want to really get involved in a plot; and who want to understand and love the characters they are reading about. I can't extol its virtues enough and though Lee Child, Harlan Coben et al are generally more my speed, I would recommend even just the first of the WarLord Chronicles, The Winter King, to anyone who likes to read something consistenly engaging and on top of everything else, historically fasicnating.
I guarantee, once you've read that, you'll have to read the other two - I had to go and buy them the day I finished the first!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but not great, 8 Nov 2013
By 
3turn (Rayleigh Essex) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Too heavy on the battle descriptions, got angry with the behaviour of some of the characters, but that is the writers choice. Too much honour and oath for me at times. Beautifully written though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excaliber, 16 April 2012
If you haven't read either of the first two books The Winter King and Enemy of God then you should do so before reading this one. The trilogy works well as separate books but you should read them in order if you want to understand what is happening. This book is a rather depressing one. The high point arrives in the middle with the Battle of Badon Hill and the rest of the book is the fall from that state of grace. Derfel must watch as everything that they achieve slowly decays and collapses without the guiding hand of Arthur around.
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Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur
Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur by Bernard Cornwell (Paperback - 7 July 2011)
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