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Number 3 and the last of the Arthur Sagas.Bernard Cornwell kept the bests for last This book oozes with heroes, undying love and magic most foul.This is Britain in the late 5th and the early 6th centuries When the Britain s were under siege from the marauding Saxons who were hell bent on taking as much of Britain as they could The Saxon s had to be stopped but this was no easy task Britain at this time was a land of many small kingdoms and these kingdoms have spent many generations killing each other.The land needed a hero and that hero was Arthur If Britain was to survive all the kingdoms have to come together as a whole and this was the task that Arthur gave himself.This was also a time when Druid paganism and Christianity were vying for supremacy So we have a land that is being torn apart by military warfare and spiritual warfare.Merlin is trying to bring the old Gods back but baulks at the cost of young lives needed for entice the Gods back Merlin s disciple, Nimue, frustrated at Merlin s ineffectiveness takes matters into her own hands and unleashed untold horrors upon the land.There is a lot of well researched history here and the reader will get a real insight into what life was like back then.But this is not, and never was intended to be, a history text book This is a, warts and all, folk lore fantasy minus the romance and gallantry that we normally associate with Arthur and the Knights of the round table Nobody constructs battle scenes better than Bernard Cornwell which is just as well as there are a number of horrific battles to be fought.There are characters here that will bring you to tears Make you smile Make you proud and some you will hate with a passion Highly recommended for anybody even remotely interested in historical fiction. Per my review of WINTER KING, this is a different take on Arthur, focusing on the legend and the times And those times were when Briton was desperately fighting itself and trying to hold back the Saxon invasions The ruins of Roman occupation still remain In this part of the trilogy Arthur s plans to unite Britain begin to unravel Merlin is betrayed and former allies of Arthur turn on him or won t assist him as Mordred gathers power Follows the Arthurian legend in some places but in others it is very different For instance, Galahad and Lancelot are half brothers Galahad is brave but Lancelot is a coward who had good PR people, to speak, who made him into a hero Arthur has children from a previous marriage Mordred is club footed Merlin doesn t get trapped in a tree I could go on but don t want to give out real spoilers Appreciators of an author who can blend History with legends will greatly appreciate this trilogy Enjoy I read this series years ago, but started it again to study Cornwell, line by line This book just gets so profoundly sad as you move deeper through it There are so many things I would love to change about our history This book makes me want to step back in time 15 centuries to stop Christianity from infecting the world, and to burn all of the Saxon ships before they sailed to Britain Cornwell is truly a masterful writer I aspire to his level of skill for my own life as a writer. Tell your father I said, That I loved him to the end Excalibur is the third and final book in The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell It brings about the conclusion of the best Arthurian novels I have ever read This tale of Arthur, my Lord, my friend and the deliverer of Britain Excalibur was utterly brilliant just like its predecessors It is the finale of a story that has immersed me into the lives of the characters as my feelings became the victims to the scale of emotions experienced, from euphoria to misery Only a fool wants war, but once a war starts then it cannot be fought half heartedly It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy, and it is that savage joy that inspires our bards to write their greatest songs about love and war Excalibur contained the largest scale conflicts of the trilogy, with Arthur and his warriors forced to repel a Saxon invasion that far outnumbers them One of the best duels I have had the pleasure to read was in this, and it was mesmerising, the tension and description moulding together to make the scene truly incredible, I will remember that duel for many years to come.So many acts of heroism were performed that had me physically grinning and then there were the despicable actions that had me weeping as the characters I have so grown to love fell victim to those whose ambitions are insatiable Some of my most loved characters and most hated were in this trilogy, Derfel and Arthur being two who I will genuinely miss While Excalibur had its fair share of tragedy to say the least, it was also complete with moments of bitter satisfaction, that softened the blow slightly, but not enough to stem the tears view spoiler FINALLY LANCELOT hide spoiler ( Kindle ) ☮ Excalibur ♸ In The Winter King and Enemy of God Bernard Cornwell demonstrated his astonishing ability to make the oft told legend of King Arthur fresh and new for our time Now, in this riveting final volume of The Warlord Chronicles, Cornwell tells the unforgettable tale of Arthur s final struggles against the Saxons and his last attempts to triumph over a ruined marriage and ravaged dreams This is the tale not only of a broken love remade, but also of forces both earthly and unearthly that threaten everything Arthur stands for Peopled by princesses and bards, by warriors and magicians, Excalibur is the story of love, war, loyalty, and betrayal the work of a magnificent storyteller at the height of his powers. Book 1 3 sBook 2 3.5 sBook 3 4 s If you like the tales of Arthur this series is a must and each book gets better It is probably the darkest and least romanticized version I ve read The endings for a lot of our characters of myth are much less glorious as well then other versions of the tale This makes them no less compelling and even so in the realistic gloom of 6th century what would become England It s somewhat amazing with all the hatred across kingdoms they ever did manage to unify. I have to admit that this novel was another pleasant surprise from Cornwell for me While I m always entertained and informed by his books they very rarely actually move me in a sentimental way, given that they re not really sentimental books However, this novel was really touching Potent episodes of broken and then redeemed love, undying loyalty and sticking to ones principles even when you have nothing to gain and everything to lose spring up everywhere during this book It s really nice and so bittersweet.That s not to say it s like a novel length Hallmark card, however This is probably the most violent and bleak Arthur book All of the wounds and rivalries and in fighting boil of the past books boil to the surface and the pages fly by in this kind of blur of utter turmoil and strife I don t think it s a spoiler that Arthur has to confront the Saxons and deal with their shit for good in this novel and boy, does he ever The series of engagements that makes up the event we call Mount Badon is really given the full Cornwell treatment It s long, gory, exhausting, tense, and full of memorable scenes that run the gamut from terrifying to funny to heartwarming.Also, so much magic Whereas Enemy of God concerned a particular kind of intense and overzealous Christian fervor gripping the countryside, in this book the pagans are even worse I m not really sure if Cornwell just completely makes all these bizarre rituals and superstitions up or he consults some source or a mixture of both, but he pulls out a huge arsenal of them and many of them impressed me with their sheer gross paganiness One bizarre thing that always stuck out with me was the druids insisting on shaping their hair into spikes with dung I m not sure if Cornwell ever mentioned a particular reason for that or if it was just a cosmetic thing popular among fifth and sixth century druids Either way, it s stuff like this that really brings the unique and enthralling Britain of these books to life A fun thing is that Cornwell really leaves it kind of ambiguous as to how much of the magic is real A cynic like myself will probably leave with the idea that everything that transpired in this book could well have happened but others may not be so convinced Most of the characters in the book whether they d like to admit it or not believe in it and that s enough for it to take on a reality of its own regardless of what the reader might personally believe This kind of thing will be utterly familiar to people that have read the Saxon Tales, but in this one it was a lot harder for me to just dismiss the pagan magic as interesting superstition I m not sure why I just harped on the magic thing for so long.And the characters Man, it s really hard for me to really dig the guts out of why I found them so engaging We certainly don t get into their heads and souls like we might with other characters in other books, but the way we see them was kind of novel for me Although I was familiar with the perspective from the Saxon Tales, it certainly had a different flavor to it I suspect that Cornwell planned to use Uhtred in a role similar to Derfel that of the observer and limited participant, with the main character of the story being a person that this character hangs out with and observes However, Uhtred is just so arrogant and likable that for me he kind of broke free of Alfred s shadow and just fucking ran off with the story I mean, view spoiler Alfred died in the last book and the series is still going hide spoiler Arturus Rex Quondam, Rexque FuturusArthur, our Once and Future KingWhat an amazing retelling of the legend, I think I m a believer The book has a great ending, but I wasn t ready for the story to end I hate it when I get closer and closer to the end of a book and just know that not everything I want could fit into the remaining pages Its heartbreaking to keep reading then, but what a great series I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell Thats the 9th book of his I have read in less than two months How can I read anything else Another great book by Bernard Cornwell So now I shall write the tale s ending with my sword beside me and I shall hope that I am given time to finish this tale of Arthur, my Lord, who was betrayed, reviled and, after his departure, missed like no other man was ever missed in all of Britain s history Wow What a great book The ending is marvellous and keeps with the legend but yet raises the question of, did he live This is not a book the reader will soon forget The author converged history with myth, bringing new life into the old tale with a fresh take upon Arthur We finally get to see how Derfel became a monk, which seems outlandish at first but then when the explanation is given, the reasoning is clear This is a MUST read with lots of emphasis on the MUST