King Arthur: The Bloody Cup (King Arthur Trilogy 3) Paperback – 30 Sep 2010
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The final part of an epic trilogy charting the legend of King Arthur, sure to appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden.
About the Author
M. K. Hume is a retired academic, who is married with two grown-up sons and lives in Queensland, Australia. Having completed an MA and PhD in Arthurian Literature many years ago, M. K. Hume has now written a series of magnificent novels about the legend of King Arthur. For more information visit: www.mkhume.com.
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Top customer reviews
Once again I like to say that the tale is told in a very dedicated and passionate way by the author, and that it pictures Celtic Britain in a most remarkable fashion.
All the characters within the book come vividly to life yet again in this heartfelt story while the atmosphere of the times really comes of the pages.
The story itself is about King Artor, High King of the Britons, who's now weakening with age and who's now threatened from without as well as from within his Kingdom.
From without dissenters and believers of the pagan faith will try to steal the ancient cup of Bishop Lucius of Glastonbury, an act that will unleash a force for evil from which murder and mayhem will finally unsue.
But the ultimate threat to Artor's rule comes from within when Artor is betrayed by kin, and so Celt will slay Celt in the end.
This is a fantastic heartfelt tale of a thrilling trilogy, one that will end with "A Truly Fascinating Finale"!
One of the most interesting feature of this book, and of the previçous ones, is the author's take of the well-known characters of the Arthurian legends:
- unlike in Cornwell's books where he is both a coward and the arch-traitor, Lancelot is absent, because he was a latter addition.
- Gwaine is the philandering son of King Lot of the Otadini (historically Votadini, situated originally just North of Hadrian's walls) who has all of Lancelot's martial qualities but cannot resist a pretty face. His son is a self-rightous, prude, cruel and fanatically Cristian Galahad, a mighty warrior
- The twins, Balan and Balyn, are presented as Arthur's grandchildren, with Taliesin being Merlin's eldest son with Nimue (who is all-good and perfectly well-balanced, unlike in Cornwell)
There are however a number of elements that are a stretch and difficult to believe. Here are a few:
- If Arthur did have some 20 years of peace, it is unbelievable that he would not have done something about producing (and designating) his heir during all that time
- if his relations with his wife were as atrocious as described in the book, and she had failed to produce that heir while dragging into her bed numerous lovers, it is simply unbelievable that Arthur would have nothing to dispose of her, perhaps brutally and permanently, especially since nowhere in the trilogy is he presented as being in love with her. His fears of getting to ressemble his father are unlikely to have swayed him.
- the role ascribed to the "bloody cup" is interesting. Inferring that it was the cup used during the Last Supper is likely to have been a latter addition, just like the claims surrounding Glastonburry and regarding Joseph and early Christians that would have arrived in Britain during the first century AD: extremely unlikely
- the relations between Church, King (or warlord, rather), tribes and Roman settlements are hardly mentioned in any detail at all. Cornwell does a much better job and more credible here
- it is also very unlikely that Artor, once knowing what Modred was up to, would have failed to execute him and let him escape to lead his uprising. Such a blunder is hardly credible from such a caracter that had survived so long against all odds
- another element: the final battle pits Modred's Brigantes, the Picts and King Mark's troops against Artor's men, together with the Ordovices, Cornovii and a few others. Although presented as vastly outnumbered, this may be a bit of an exaggeration since Artor would have had no qualms in drawing troops from all of the forts and from the South after beating the Saxons...
What occurs within is not only a fitting tribute to perhaps the reality of Arthur (as MK Hume sets the tale in Roman times) but perhaps a great example of an author who loves her work so much that she'll go the extra mile to make sure that it will please the reader. The prose are ideal, the writing crisp and above all the characters feel real enough for the reader to greet in person. Not only are they likeable but they also have issues that need dealing with emotionally as well as physically. It's a great offering and whilst some will think that this sees the end of the road, remember that MK has the first novel in her Merlin series out in October for readers to travel a more unfamiliar road. A truly great series in the historical fiction world and one that I really can't recommend enough.
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