Customer Review

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted, 19 July 2010
This review is from: The Winter King (Paperback)
The Winter King is the 1st of Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy & his re-telling of the King Arthur legend makes it all too clear why this period of British history is known as the Dark Ages - dark indeed by his reckoning. I've not read all his works, by any means, but this is comfortably the best of those I have read; head & shoulders above his Sharpe series & on a par with the best authors in this genre. Indeed, in some ways it reminds me of Mary Renault's Theseus books - The King Must Die & The Bull From The Sea - in both it's aims & execution; trying to untangle a mass of often implausible & sometimes contradictory tales about a semi-mythical hero & weave them into a wholely convincing narrative that gives the reader at least a feeling of authenticity. Cornwell does not pretend that what he describes actually happened but you are left with a powerful evocation of life in 5th century Britain, warts (& blood & guts) & all. Life was undoubtedly hard back then & he pulls no punches in depicting it thus. However, there are a few lighter moments & he uses a neat trick with the narrator which, whilst acknowledging some of the more preposterous myths surrounding Arthur, neatly explodes them - very clever. As I've already said, this is as good as he (Cornwall) gets & is amongst my favourite historical novels (as are the other 2 of the Trilogy), & I can give them no higher praise than to say that they are up there with anything by Mary Renault or Patrick O'Brian.
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4.5 out of 5 stars (129 customer reviews)
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Location: Portsmouth England

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