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on 5 June 1999
"Enemy of God" is the second volume in Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles trilogy, it follows directly on from "The Winter King". The story is narrated by Derfel Cadarn, one of Arthur's warriors.
If you are expecting swords and sorcery in the traditional fantasy style you will be disappointed. Cornwell excels in writing about battles and in involving the reader in the bloody horrors of war. Each sword thrust is described, his warriors bleed curse and die, and at the end of a fight, the battle field is strewn with dead and dying men.
Magic is an important part of the tale. Everyone in the book believes in it, but the magical events can all be explained. Merlin is not a supernatural being but simply an old Druid trying to collect the thirteen Treasures of Britain.
In summary, the series is the most readable and certainly the most realistic telling of the legend of Arthur and "Enemy of God" is a powerful mixture of intrigue, magic and warfare.
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on 1 September 2005
I am a fan of Bernard Cornwell's work but like the author himself, the Arthur trilogy is my absolute favourite. I must admit I am also a fan of King Arthur storiesand untill I read these novels, Mary Stewarts "Merlin" books were my absolute favouritesbut Cornwell is so vivid and realistic in his version that he puts you there.
Told by Derfel one of Arthurs warlords the story follows the years of the battles against the Saxons (the Winter King it's predecessor, followed the rise of Arthur and the way he unites the kingdoms of Britain)
Morte D'Arthur it aint, no middle age knights on horseback wearing plate armour and following the rules of chivalry. Instead, it is dark age Britain at it's dirtiest, bloodiest and liveliest. Romance, friendship, divided loyalties, no real good guys and bad guys (except the obvious traitors) and astory in which pagan and christians battle for religious supremacy to mirror the Saxon battles. Gritty realism in the shield wall and beyond.
Excellent, readit in sequence though.
Thanks for many hours of reading pleasue Bernard, I re read it often.
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on 2 December 2004
Finishing The Winter King, I already longed for to set my teeth into this volume and ordered directly from Amazon, as there is not much call for Cornwell in my country ( as yet!).
I read the book, engulfed in it for days and really really enjoyed it ! Boys like adventures, knights, swords, dragons and beautiful princesses and this is a wonderful way to turn the boyhood stories about Arthur into a novel for grown ups, with adult perspective on things.
Cornwell's bold new ideas on the old knights and their valour spice up the bokks considerably. THIS is the story to make a film about, not like in the poor earlier attempts of "Excalibur" and the latest "Arthur".

If you've read anything about Arthur, you should try this series! If you like anything medieval, it's for you!
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on 5 July 2004
The second book in the trilogy of Arthur books, and it seems a lot better than the first one. I say seems because I'm not sure if it is, the first one had all the exposition, setting the scene, characters and soforth, all of which made it a bit more difficult to get into.
This book had none of those problems as it leaps straight into the plot literally minutes after the ending of the first one, and from then on it rattles along at a good pace. A pace which goes up remarkably when Derfel (the narrator and effective lead) and Arthur, learns some truths about Lancelot the hard way. Obviously anyone who knows anything about the Arthur and his Round Table bollocks, knows that Lancelot was a git, so it's no big revelation that he actually is in the book, but as part of the overall plot it works remarkably well.
I have never read any of Cornwells Sharpe series, but I would be tempted if they are as well written as these books. I love the way he debunks the early Christianity of Britain, and slyly hints at Bishop "Mouselord" Sansum buggering his young disciple. He also draws in some other invented parts of the Arthurian myths such as the Round Table-which turns out to be small stone table from Roman times, already cracked and battered, it takes more of a beating, when all of the "knights" get bladdered and roll around fighting-and Camelot-no one place but the feeling of prosperity and good times that Arthurs rule engendered during peace.
Overall, it just made me want to read the final part of the set, to find out how everyone dies, although I never like to go straight into a sequel, I prefere to read a few different styles of book in-between. Anyway, extremely enjoyable.
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on 30 November 2002
This is my first encounter with Richard Cornwell. It has definitely piqued my interest to read the other two volumes in the trilogy and to investigate other books by this author.
If you are familiar with Grail literature and with such classics as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte d'Arthur, etc., you will have certain preconceptions about the major characters that are here transmorgrified by Cornwell. The chivalrous Arthur is transformed into a more human, too-trusting, well-meaning leader of a tribe. Guenivere is a scheming, conceited megalomaniac, who mellows somewhat as the story progesses. The narrator's (Derfel's) harshest judgment is reserved for Lancelot. He is definitely not the same Lancelot-du-lac that we have come to know from Mallory. He's more like the 5th century version of a matinee idol. He's all image, no substance. He's not someone to be counted on in the heat of battle. Merlin is a rascally magus whose main concern lies in stemming the tide of Cristianity that he views as an invasion of the old order. Cornwell is obviously making judgement calls here, but he's not doing it purely for the sake of novelty. This is a thoroughly-researched, as well as an eminently well-written work.
Tolkien fans who have been turned-off by the pale imitators that have attempted to emulate the master's style will no doubt find many parallels in Cornwell. That's not to imply that Cornwell is imitative by any means. He just handles prose almost as adroitly as his predecessor. If there were a worthy Tolkien successor writing today, though in a slightly different genre, it would have to be Cornwell. Cornwell has created a truly heroic saga, and has left this reader looking forward eagerly to the other two volumes in the trilogy. Enemy of God is definitely several rungs above the mass of historical fiction being churned out today. The man can write!
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on 5 July 2007
This series of books is excellent. Much better than Sharpe (which I really enjoy as well).

The way fact, fiction and legend blend together is almost faultless. It feels 'real' and the research seems good.

The characters are well written, the battles brilliant. I wish I could go into details but I would only spoil the epic plot. Its gritty and heroic and sad all at the same time.

I've read and re-read all three books 3 or 4 times and enjoyed them each tme.

I'm really suprised there hasn't been an adaption for TV or even Film.

brilliant 99% of the time (i'd give it 100% if I there was a 4th book)
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Every now and then a book is written which is so captivating that it just cant be put down. This story is amazing, its immense and so well written. Everyone should read this series which has been so eloquently written. Well done Mr Cornwell
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on 19 January 2004
Continues straight on from the winter king.
This just gets better and better.
i love this series of books and literally didnt put thisbook down. This is the 1st series i have ever read that i actually relly cared about the characters. This is wonderufllstuff
Cornwall uses myth and magic and makes it real, the search for the lost treasures replacing that of the grail, the sneaking off in the mist, not just disappearing. Great stuff.
The focus in this book is on the sais, the saxons, and the meeting of the 2 cultures is vividly described.
Again the conflcit between the religions is brought to the fore. the conflict between the relgiions and the resulting civil unrest can be vewed as highly relevant and shows how history is founded on such revolts.
I love the way lancelot is portrayed, i dont think i will ever find the usual portrayal of him as believable again, and guineviere is a most loathsome creature.
The Ceinwyn/derfel is most touching, and arthur is such a complex character that it is very easy to pity him.
Simply brilliant and again i think its a better trilogy than lord of the rings.
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on 31 December 2005
I started this straight after finishing The Winter King and was not disappointed. This is more of the same first-rate story-telling. Granted, it's not Nobel Prize material but nobody, least of all Cornwell himself, ever claimed it was.
By the end of this second part of the trilogy you'll find yourself wishing there were another 6 parts to go instead of just one.
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I love anything to with the mystery and adventures of king arthur, In this book The Warrior King has brought peace to Britain - but for how long Following a hard-fought victory, Arthur appears to have at last won the unity of the British Kingdoms. He turns his attention towards the invading Saxons, while Merlin begins a quest to uncover the sacred Treasures of Britain, believing they will bring the might of the old Gods behind Arthur for one last decisive battle. But the quest soon unravels the fragile peace, as bitter rivalries come to the fore and threaten to undo Arthur's successes, while those closest to him move to betrayal. Great story from a great writer.
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