Monday, March 1, 2010

Shadow Of The King by Helen Hollick

In this final book of Helen Hollick's Pendragon trilogy, the reader follows the story of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar through their final years.  The book begins with Arthur and his men going to Gaul to help his allies there.  He is betrayed by them and forced into a battle where his army is massively outnumbered.  A few of his men escape and take the body of their beloved king with them.  As they are followed by the victorious enemy, Morgaine, the pagan healer who also loves Arthur and who followed him to Gaul, convinces them to move on and leave her to bury the King.

What she knows is that there is still life beating in Arthur's body.  She nurses him back to health and he then remains with her and their son, Medraut, for three years.  Arthur has lost his confidence and feels he has nothing to return for, as he believes that Gwenhwyfar had died of illness before the battle.

A Saxon slave was granted freedom by Arthur before the battle and is intensely loyal to him.  When he learns that Arthur is alive, he travels to England and tells Gwenhwyfar and her court.  She travels to Gaul to find Arthur, who leaves with her and brings his son.

But he comes back to an England where his kingdom is in tatters, with many scheming for his former position and alliances broken.  The book follows Arthur's campaigns as he once again brings England together under his rule. 

This book is recommended for historical fiction readers.  Helen Horrick has created a historical masterpiece, taking a different route with Arthur's life than that which came down through history, but with enough touchpoints that the reader will be constantly reminded of those legends.  The history rings true, and the relationships and battles transport the reader to another time. 


Dorothy said...

Hi Sandie, I've been trying to get in touch with you for awhile now...can you email me at please?

Helen said...

Hello Sandie, thank you for such a terrific review and for posting my book on your blog - your interest and support is very much appreciated.
I'm glad you enjoyed the read!

Sandie said...

Helen, I'm honored you read my review and blog. I loved this triology and plan to start the Sea Witch books soon. Thanks for writing such great books!