The Winter King

The Winter King

A Novel of Arthur

Book - 1995
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There was snow when Arthur's tale began. It was a lifetime ago, in the last year of High King Uther's reign ... However you count the years it was long ago, once upon a time, in a land called Britain, and I was there.

Derfel, once a captain in Arthur's warband, recalls the dramatic days of wilful Guinevere, arrogant Lancelot, abstracted Merlin and intolerant Bishop Sansum, vying for mastery amid faction and bitter chaos. But, above all he tells the story of Arthur, royal bastard, unwise lover and inspired warlord, the only man who can hold Uther's throne for its infant heir and unite Britain's squabbling kingdoms against the enemy at their gates.

Evoking the human realities behind the legends of romance and chivalry, Bernard Cornwell weaves a brutal, magnificent epic of war and love, magic and politics, as the old gods retreat before the spread of Christianity, and the Saxon invaders reach deeper into the heart of Britain ...

Publisher: London : Michael Joseph, c1995
ISBN: 9780140231861
Branch Call Number: CORNWEL
Characteristics: 434 p


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Apr 23, 2018

This is my favorite series of all time. I think people have their own thoughts about Arthurian Legends. They might come into this liking or disliking certain characters which might set them on a pre-decided opinion, but to me this became my only Arthurian legend. Seeing all the old characters from an outsider's eyes, and even better; I came to care about the narrator so much. It's just a great book, with intense emotions and epic battle scenes. It's been great following these characters across their lives and three books. It's a series I continue to revisit.

Aug 19, 2015

I really enjoyed this whole series. It does a really good job of making the dark ages seem dark. Everything and everyone (for the most part) is dirty and and disgusting and horrible.

I also really appreciate the way magic is treated in the series. Cornwell never lets magic unequivocally be real. However, nor does he delve into scientific explanations which might spoil the mystery. This is complicated by the fact that not all the characters believe in all the magic all the time, and yet it is a very important plot device. There is a wonderful balance between reality and superstition.

The story, however, is not a happy one. It covers basically all of Arthur's life, and throughout the series, there is a strong sense of loss, from the abandonment of England by the Romans to the encroachment of Christianity to the eventual conquest by the Saxons.

It's not an uplifting story, but it is enjoyable and very well told.

Jul 25, 2011

I like Bernard Cornwell as a writer. This one took a little while to get going but a good read.

cloudni9e Jun 04, 2011

Warlord Chronicles series:

1. The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur (1995)

2. Enemy of God (1996)

3. Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur (1997)

Classic Cornwell. One of my favourite series. Historically accurate, descriptive, and gory at times.


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FavouriteFiction Oct 01, 2009

In this tale Mordred, Uther's infant grandson, is the rightful king and Arthur is merely one of his guardians, sworn to hold the kingdom against the Saxon warlords.

Book #1 in the Warlord Chronicles

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