Giles Kristian
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
Britain in the Dark Ages, roving bands of Saxons are pillaging and killing throughout the land and Arthur, the hope of England is dead. Or is he?
Lancelot fell in the last great battle and now anarchy, famine and ruin rule the land. The heroes are gone and there is no-one to unite the people, to gather warriors, to throw the hated Saxons back into the sea. Or is there?

On an isolated isle in the Avalon marshes is a monastery, the Order of the Thorn, where a lowly novitiate waits to take his vows, to join the order in a lifetime of poverty and prayer. To this lonely place comes a wild girl - Iselle - and the famed knight, Gawain. Suddenly in a welter of bloodshed and the life of the young would be monk is transformed and hope can once more be wished for.

This is a very good story, built around the Arthurian myth, as was Lancelot, and is a cracking follow up to the author's previous book. The detail is astounding, yet it does overturn some of the previous tales of King Arthur and his famed Knights of the Round Table. There is nary a table in sight, circular or otherwise, nor is there much in the way of chivalry either. Instead there is battle, violence, incest and intrigue.

Giles Kristian has written several books, including a series on Vikings, and the story of brothers during the English Civil War. His story of Lancelot was a bestseller and I predict this will be another. If you like Bernard Cornwell then you will like this.

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