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ARTHUR (The Arthurian Tales #3) by Giles Kristian

I've adored this trilogy. The best re-telling of Arthur's legend I've read, and I'd include Cornwell's in that. It's just so immersive. Giles brings Dark Age Britain to life in a way no one else could. He touches all your senses, from the sight of a rook in flight to the smell of Britain's rich earth. Every bird, tree, landmark or hilltop painted in vivid colour for the reader as they travel through the Dark Isles in the midst of legends of old.

Each is different too. Lancelot is poetic, lyrical and tragic. Camelot is the hope in the darkness, long after the fire has bled to ashes. And Arthur is the dawn, one last ray of sunshine in a land blanketed in shadow.

Arthur specifically is different to the preceding books. Told in the third person, and across two different time lines, we get to see a young Arthur on the road to becoming a warlord, and an old man, Beran, with ghosts in his past and a longing to meet them. Through Arthur we see the beginnings of a legend, and through Beran we see the lost hope of a land that has nothing else to give.

We meet further characters from Arthurian legend, Tristan and Isolde stick out for me, their tragic love story playing out as Britain dies around them. Other characters from the first two books come back to us, most notable being Gawain and Palamedes for me. Merlin too, the old Druid clinging to life, one last desperate purpose driving him on.

The ending is bloody and glorious, and very well done. One last thunder of hooves, one last trill of the trumpets. I'm just gutted it's over, I could have read on and on.


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