Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick (Book Review)
Shared by Kristi Herbrand
Title: Pendragon's Banner (Book Two of The Pendragon's Banner Trilogy)
Author: Helen Hollick
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
First sentence: With an exhausted grunt of effort, Arthur, the Pendragon, raised his sword and with a deep intake of breath brought it down through the full force of weight and momentum into the skull of an Anglian thegn.
Once again, Helen Hollick gives us a wonderful addition to King Arthur's story. Arthur started in The Kingmaking as a teenager - not even knowing that he was the heir to the throne. In Pendragon's Banner, he is not only King, but husband and father - and battling to do justice to all those roles.
Arthur has married Gwenhwyfar and with their children they have traveled, eventually settling at Caer Cadan. The traveling and Arthur's "wandering" have taken a toll on his and Gwenhwyfar's marriage. Add to the fact that Gwenhwyfar was also very intelligent and was somewhat a warrior herself - coming from a long line of warriors - there was bound to be conflict between the two. Even though they were estranged, they manage to come back together. Arthur is also battling his first wife, Winifred, and Morgause who has cursed his children if Arthur should ever come after her.
This book covers about 6 years but it does not lack for political struggles, battles, infidelity, romance. What you will not find though is Merlin or Excalibur or the Knights of the Round Table. This is historical fiction without all the fantasy - a King Arthur we can believe might really have lived.
I enjoyed this second installment of Pendragon's Banner as much as I did the first - but I found it hard to try to sum up. Most of this information is new to me, as I was never a big fan of the King Arthur stories. I am, however, a big fan of Helen Hollick's books and am looking forward to the re-release of the third book in this series next year.
To read more about Pendragon's Banner and visit other blogs on the tour, please visit my earlier post telling about the tour. You will also find a synopsis of the book there.
***Special thanks to Paul at Sourcebooks for providing me with this review copy.***
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Landmark, Sept 2009