Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (Book Review)

Title: The Kingmaking
Author: Helen Hollick
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical Fiction
Available: Now

First sentence: He was ten and five years of age and, for the first time in his life, experiencing the exhilaration of the open sea and, for this short while, the novelty of leisure.

So begins the book, The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick. We join Arthur at 15 on a ship bound for Caer Arfon and Gwynned - home of Cunneda and his daughter Gwenhwyfar. He has been brought on the voyage by Uthr Pendragon - much to the chagrin of Uthr mistress, Morgause. She cannot understand why Uthr favors the boy. She sees him as the bastard child of one of the servants - being raised as a foster son by Uthr's brother.

As the story unfolds, Uthr is killed in a battle with Vortigern - fighting to be the rightful King of Britain. Arthur is devastated until Cunneda announces that he - Arthur - is the rightful heir of Uthr Pendragon. His identity had been kept hidden to protect his life from Vortigern.

When I first picked up this book - I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I was not a big King Arthur fan - and knew little about that era. However, Helen Hollick's book drew me in from the beginning. I loved that she gave the pronunciation of the names and after awhile I found myself reading them "correctly". It gave me a sense of authenticity. The book was not hard to read (like I thought it would be) due to the era, but instead was very engrossing. I even carried it with me to my son's bus stop - and it is a HEAVY book at 563 pages.

This is the first book of her Pendragon's Banner Trilogy. The other two books are Pendragon's Banner and Shadow of the King!

And now - the description from the back cover:

It is the Dark Ages of Britain, 450 AD. The Roman Empire is falling apart, leaving the British under the rule of the evil tyrant Vortigern, who stole the crown years ago from Uthr Pendragon. When Uthr dies, Arthur Pendragon is left as rightful heir to the throne, if he can win it back from Vortigern.

As the men pledge an oath of loyalty to the Pendragon Banner, a feisty and beautiful Gwenhwyfar, captivated by Arthur from the moment they meet, pledges to Arthur and even greater gift: her undying love and unborn sons.

Determined to fulfill his ultimate goals of regaining his kingship and marrying Gwenhwyfar, Arthur must first endure a difficult apprenticeship in his enemy's army. When he and Gwenhwyfar become pawns in a political triangle, Arthur is put to the test: he must choose between his kingship and the woman he loves.


ibeeeg said...

I like your review. I have read several reviews of The Kingmaking and yours has given me a bit of the "flavor" of the book. I have this book on my TBR list and look forward to the read.

Staci said...

Great review and I have this on my list of TBR!!

Teddy Rose said...

Nicely done Kristi! I added a link to your review at the bottom of my review of this book.

Mari said...

I have been hearing a lot about this book. Great Review.

You won my giveaway for Skeleton Creek. Please email me your address and I will send it right out to you. Congrats!

Isabel said...

I need to read this book. I just know the bare minimum about this era, but I don't feel like reading a historical work right now.

Thanks for being in 9 for '09.

I am having a drawing in early April for anyone who posted anything from Jan to Mar.


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