With Excalibur, Bernard Cornwell draws his Arthurian trilogy to an exciting close that will have listeners gripping their headphones.
If Arthur existed (and I am quite certain he did), then he was probably the great British war leader who won the battle of Mount Badon. No one knows where it was fought, or how it was fought, but we do know that the battle took place and it was the one great defeat inflicted on the English invaders of Britain. In Excalibur, we follow Arthur and Derfel to that enormous struggle and incredible victory. It not only throws the Saxons back, but reunites Arthur and Guinevere. He might hope now to be left alone, to have a time of peace after gaining a great victory, but new enemies arise to destroy all he has achieved. First is Mordred himself, the crippled king who owes everything to Arthur and now tries to kill his benefactor. Mordred's ally is Nimue who has come to hate her mentor, Merlin. And so the story ends as it has always ended, at Camlann... "and so my lord was gone. And no one has seen him since."
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An Original Story from a legend?
- Laurel "I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!"
A modern masterpiece -- the definitive Arthur tale
Derfel and Merlin -- incredibly nuanced characters brought to life by the uncanny narrative abilities of Jonathan Keeble
Merlin -- absolutely brought to life by the narrator
The Lords of War
I have been an avid reader of Cornwell's Saxon Tales for the last decade, and while waiting for the latest entry in that series, I was hesitant to try this earlier trilogy, expecting to be disappointed simply because Uhtred's saga seemed almost impossible to top. Boy, was I wrong. By the end of The Winter King, I was craving more. At the end of Enemy of God, I applauded to an empty car. I am not an emotional person, but at the conclusion of Excalibur, I teared up. This is the greatest piece of modern fiction I have read. Jonathan Keeble is just as much a reason for that as the author; his unique narration of dozens of characters left me in awe. I believe this is the greatest written tale of Arthur, and with Keeble reading, it is also one of the greatest artistic performances I have ever experienced. Simply amazing.