Friday, March 14, 2008

23. The Kingmaking

By Helen Hollick
Rated 5 Stars+

I ordered this book from Amazon's marketplace solely because I enjoyed Hollicks A Hollow Crown and Harold The King so much. I certainly wasn't all that interested in another take King Arthur since I have already read so many different ones that my eyes threatened to glaze over a little at the thought. But I do love Hollick's take on historical characters so I took the leap. Boy am I glad I did. Hollick is going to be an automatic must read author for me from here on. Below is a blurb from amazon. It pretty much agrees with my assessment:

"In this first volume of what promises to be a monumental historical trilogy, rookie British author Hollick depicts Arthur's rise from A.D. 450, when he was a 15-year-old boy of hidden parentage, to A.D. 457, when he took his place as the King Arthur of legend. The story combines private emotions and public statecraft as marriages, alliances and enemies are made and unmade to suit the politics of the era. Hollick mixes elements from fifth-century history, myth, early romances, contemporary fantasy and other novels about Arthur, adding her own inventions for good measure. The treatment of Gwenhwyfar and her love for Arthur (depicted here as star-crossed even without Lancelot's help) is especially vivid. Though the novel contains no supernatural aspects, with its exotic setting, passionate characters and epic battles and intrigue, it still should appeal to the fantasy fans to whom most Arthurian adventures are addressed. The language, too, is influenced by genre fantasy, especially in its dramatic descriptions and reliance on archaisms; but this big-hearted novel's historical speculations alone should make it of interest to the non-fantasy reader as well.
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