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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
So unbelievably happy, Ms Hume has done it again! Made a wonderful book with beautiful characters, I just can't get enough of anything she writes.
Published 5 months ago by Rebecca

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little Dragon does it again?
After a trilogy on King Arthur (that the author calls "Artor") and a prequel trilogy on Merlin which allows us to come across Ambrosius, Vortigern, Vortimer, Uther (Ambrosius' younger brother) and then Aelle and Hengist and Horsa, the author has just embarked on a sequel trilogy evocatively titled "the twilight of the Celts."
The hero is King "Artor's" bastard son,...
Published 5 months ago by JPS


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little Dragon does it again?, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I (Hardcover)
After a trilogy on King Arthur (that the author calls "Artor") and a prequel trilogy on Merlin which allows us to come across Ambrosius, Vortigern, Vortimer, Uther (Ambrosius' younger brother) and then Aelle and Hengist and Horsa, the author has just embarked on a sequel trilogy evocatively titled "the twilight of the Celts."
The hero is King "Artor's" bastard son, conceived shortly before his death and called - guess what - Arthur. The first risk was for this volume to be a bit of a "remake" and therefore to lack originality. There is, unfortunately, a bit of this. Those who have already read the previous series will be making comparisons, even inadvertently and, at times, this book may at times suffer from them (for instance, Arthur's master at arms is a Germanic mercenary, as it clearly could not be an ex-Roman soldier anymore).

Then there is the book's structure. Nothing much happens during the first 120 pages or so, and I found these a bit contrived, artificial and overly emotional. This is a matter of personal preferences, of course, but it quite not sound true to me. Moreover, it was rather generic at times and there was little context provided. Similar scenes could have happened at just anytime, anywhere (assuming a suitable forest, perhaps). The focus seems to be on family gatherings and, here again, you have parallels with three men coming to visit the Warden of Arden and his "son", just as you had three others do the same decades ago for the real father of this boy.

The second part is where the young Arthur gets his first exposure to "wicked" Saxons raiders when only seven, before becoming a young and talented warrior who fights in the same style as his natural father and is his living image at the same age. Here, there is a mixture of interesting features and episodes where it is best to suspend belief. The piece about the Saxon raiders and the seven-year old Arthur is interesting if only because it gives an idea how these could have encroached little by little on the lands of the Britons. The way in which little Arthur survives his first encounter is perhaps less plausible.

So is young Arthur's fighting style, which is supposedly identical to that of his glorious father. Since the later had been dead for a couple of decades by then, few is anyone would have still been alive to remember how he fought and none would have been able to teach his son along the same methods: sword and heavy dagger and no shield.

Another piece of somewhat implausible if not anachronistic fiction is the use of Greek fire, although I will not elaborate any further here to avoid spoilers. One feature I particularly liked was, once again, the way in which the author explains how the Saxons managed to push back the Britons and, in this volume, conquer the territory of the Atrebates, the Belgae and the Isle of Vectis. This is also fiction, of course, since there are no written sources to confirm it, although it is plausible.

I found that the author was at her best when depicting characters, or at least some of them. King Bran, living in the shadow of his glorious and more successful predecessor King Arthur, is pretty good in his mixture of despair, bitterness and jealousy. So were old Gawayne and Bedwyr (the Warden of Arden and Arthur's foster father). The best of the lot in my view was the old, cunning and ruthless Cerdic, dedicated to the end to seeing emerge a strong Saxon Kingdom, and his son Cynric, just as dedicated, even if a bit less cunning. Bors, King of Cornwall, and his wife, were also pretty good.

Other characters were more two-dimensional, or to be perhaps more fair, I found them less believable. Apart from Arthur himself, Eamonn and his capricious sister Blaise were not quite convincing, neither was the rebellious Maeve (Arthur's half-sister). The last part of the book, where you can see the premises of a romance building up, and the boys and girls gallivanting, was not very convincing either, nor was the end where his whole bunch is captured by fierce and gigantic Danes (first time I have ever head of Danes in Great Britain in the 6th century AD).

All in all, this was not a "bad" book. It does become, at times, a rather exciting page turner (towards the middle of it) but it is also at other times not very convincing or even a bot boring (the first part in particular). Three stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 4 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I (Hardcover)
So unbelievably happy, Ms Hume has done it again! Made a wonderful book with beautiful characters, I just can't get enough of anything she writes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Filling the knowlege gap, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I (Hardcover)
Hard going, not a quickly romping action story . Thoroughly informative. I loved it , however you need plenty of time by yourself in the quiet to appreciate the book. I found his Arthurian trilogy much easier to read and more gripping... Well done all the same....BUT !!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Fiction, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I (Hardcover)
Anyone with an interest in historical fiction( or indeed fact) will love this book, look forward to the follow up
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The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I
The Last Dragon: Twilight of the Celts Book I by M. K. Hume (Hardcover - 2 Jan 2014)
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