Author: Bernard Cornwell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: +- 470
Part two of the Warlord Chronicles
The story of Arthur, the king that never was and the enemy of God, continues in the great sequel.
It finally seems like Arthur has his order. Mordred’s throne is safe and after a final battle with the Saxon’s there will be a time of peace.
But Arthur forgot that the Gods thrive on chaos and so his peace will never last.
This is the last day of the old year. The bracken on the hill has turned brown, the elms at the valley’s end have lost their leaves and the winter slaughter of our cattle has begun. Tonight is Samain eve.
Derfel continues his story about Arthur.
He recaptures the story at the end of the battle of Lugg Vale, where Arthur rescued Britain from civil war and Nimue got her revenge on Gundleus.
The king of Powys died during this battle at Lugg Vale and now his son, who’s an ally of Arthur in finding peace between the Britons, is crowned king.
But will Merlin crush this peace?
In the first part of this tale, not much is known about Merlin, except that he is looking for the treasures of Britain in order to call on the Gods to return to Britain. Now, his quest carries on because he wants to find the most powerful treasure of all: The Cauldron of Clyddno Eiddyn.
This Cauldron is told to destroy dreams, and what is this peace of Arthur but his lifelong dream?
Meanwhile, Derfel himself is very much in love!
However the woman he has given his heart to, is betrothed to another man… Lancelot in fact.
To make matters worse, Arthur wants Derfel to become Morded’s guardian and he is to marry Guinevere’s sister, Gwenhwyvach.
Though fate is inexorable.
Dreams scatter and other dreams are fulfilled when a chicken bone is snapped and two lovers run away from a betrothal. And now both lovers, a band of warriors and Merlin will travel the Dark Path, to find the Cauldron and so bring back the Gods.
The Gods have to wait though, because another problem has to be dealt with before the Gods can be called back; the Saxon’s need to be driven away from Britain, for good.
I really liked this book and I reread this book just like I did the first one.
Again I am blown away by Cornwell’s way of bringing this time of turmoil into life for the reader.
This is the second part of the story and it also feels that way. It is not like some years passed between the first book and the second book, it all fits together perfectly.
What I really liked in this book was that things change, just like humans do. Some people grow, like Mordred, into tiny devils who are possessed by evil spirits (Merlin’s words not mine!) while some grow weaker because the Gods are even further away than before.
Again I think it’s a good thing that Cornwell didn’t describe the tiniest of details about Derfel’s or Arthur’s life. He gives detail at exactly the right moment in the book.
It was near dawn and the fog lay like a fleece so thick that when we managed to descend the rocks and assemble on the grass at the top of the knoll we were in danger of losing each other by taking just one step.
This time however there’s more mystery, at least in my opinion. Also some secrets are revealed (Merlin is very fond of cheese for one thing) and there is more tension and action in this part of Derfel’s tale. For the second time he gave us history on the story, but this time to explain how the thirteen treasures came to Britain.
To round this up:
I loved it, absolutely loved it. I laughed, I cried, I got angry and I couldn’t put this book down. Like the first part of this series it is one of my all time favourites and so I give this book five stars 🙂 BAM
P.S: Read the book