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Publisher's Summary

Everyone knows the story-how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, how Camelot came to be, and about the power struggles that ultimately destroyed Arthur's dreams. But what of the time before Arthur and the forces that created him?
How did the legend really come to pass?
Before the time of Arthur and his Camelot, Britain was a dark and deadly place, savaged by warring factions of Picts, Celts, and invading Saxons. The Roman citizens who had lived there for generations were suddenly faced with a deadly choice: Should they leave and take up residence in a corrupt Roman world that was utterly foreign, or should they stay and face the madness that would ensue when Britain's last bastion of safety for the civilized, the Roman legions, left?
For two Romans, Publius Varrus and his friend Caius Britannicus, there can be only one answer. They will stay, to preserve what is best of Roman life, and will create a new culture out of the wreckage. In doing so, they will unknowingly plant the seeds of legend-for these two men are Arthur's great-grandfathers, and their actions will shape a nation . . . and forge a sword known as Excalibur.
©1996 Jack Whyte (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 07-10-15


I like Historical Fiction and I hate History texts. This book can not decide what it wants to be. It has some interesting characters and some interesting stories, but it is mostly lectures. It is long detailed descriptions of Roman Warfare. What they wore, full descriptions of most of the weapons they used and how they used them. A lot on tactics, etc. There are lectures on Smithing. There is even lectures on slavery. These lectures often add little to the story. It is a real shame, because when Jack is not lecturing, his well developed characters are doing interesting things. I did not sign up for a Great Courses on Roman Warfare, so six hours in, I called it quits.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jim R. Whitt Jr. on 08-27-13

Fascinating new series

I am no expert on Arthurian history. I did see "Sword in the Stone" when I was a kid, sang songs from "Camelot", saw that movie, and have watched a lot of documentaries on the History Channel (some of them questionable). Just so you know...

There is a lot to like about this book. The author has created some interesting characters, and it will be interesting to see how they fare. The pacing is good, and the story is not so complex you can't figure out who's who and what's what. The narrator does an excellent job.

It has violent stretches, some much too graphic, but you don't feel like you need to wash the blood off you after hearing them. The sex scenes would get a movie version a definite "R" rating. This is a dilemma I find myself in more and more as the years pass. The price of admission for interesting or challenging fiction is enduring more graphic sex and violence than my tolerance. (I’ve been married for 36 years and we raised three boys, so it isn’t like I’m a prude or a bachelor still living with my parents.)

If you have a passing interest in the King Arthur legend, or if you’re interested in a story that takes place in Britain during the last days of the Roman Empire, or you want to try a story that’s just different, this book will satisfy.

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23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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