The Saxon Shore (A Dream of Eagles, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – May 3 2005
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The story of The Saxon Shore, the fourth novel in Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, is largely that of Merlyn, who continues his struggle to preserve the refuge of Camulod and protect the infant king, Arthur. Merlyn, in Whyte's version, is a fascinating mix of pragmatism and naïveté, blending the observational skills of Sherlock Holmes with the oratorical gifts of Marc Antony. Because he thinks a bit more deeply than most around him, thinking things through and staying a step ahead, it's easy to see how he gains a bit of a reputation as a magician. He also has his failings, most particularly an over-confidence that leads him to believe he is just as right about matters he is ignorant of (such as leprosy) as he is about things he actually understands. It's also interesting to note that Merlyn's failings are in many ways the failings of his community. Preserving Roman ways has meant preserving Roman attitudes toward outsiders and barbarians, and on a trip to Eire and a later journey through the south of Britain, Merlyn learns just how out of touch Camulod has become with its new neighbours.
Thus the story leads us inexorably to a new generation that knows little or nothing of Roman culture. In this way, The Saxon Shore continues with the same strength as preceding volumes. Jack Whyte's most splendid achievement is the creation of an historical period so well grounded in fact that the legend becomes real and Arthur lives again. --Greg L. Johnson --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The fourth book in Whyte's engrossing, highly realistic retelling of the Arthurian legend takes up where The Eagle's Brood (1997) left off. Narrated by Caius Merlyn Brittanicus from journals written at the end of the "wizard's" long life, this volume begins in an immensely exciting fashion, with Merlyn and the orphaned infant Arthur Pendragon in desperate straits, adrift on the ocean in a small galley without food or oars. They are saved by a ship commanded by Connor, son of the High King of the Scots of Eire, who takes the babe with him to Eireland until the return of Connor's brother Donuil, whom Connor believes has been taken hostage by Merlyn. The plot then settles into well-handled depictions of political intrigue, the training of cavalry with infantry and the love stories that inevitably arise, including one about Donuil and the sorcerously gifted Shelagh and another about Merlyn's half-brother, Ambrose, and the skilled surgeon Ludmilla. As Camulod prospers, Merlyn works hard at fulfilling what he considers his destinyApreparing the boy for his prophesied role as High King of all Britain. Whyte's descriptions, astonishingly vivid, of this ancient and mystical era ring true, as do his characters, who include a number of strong women. Whyte shows why Camulod was such a wonder, demonstrating time and again how persistence, knowledge and empathy can help push back the darkness of ignorance to build a shining futureAa lesson that has not lost its value for being centuries old and shrouded in the mists of myth and magic. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'll throw in that though I'm a fan of these topics, I'm not a historian on these times or peoples. I've never done a history degree, and though I touched on many historical readings of the dark ages, I have never done any thorough or academic research of the period. I don't claim to be an expert. I'll still state my observations and opinions.
There were some things about this book that I liked. I liked learning a few things about roman Britain, where the cities were, and how the military was organized and such. However one thing the author wrote into this story made me doubt the historical accuracy of the rest of the book. There is an important character who comes from the Roman aristocracy, old blue blood of Rome if you will. He's not only born of old respected ancestry but also born into great wealth. He is introduced as a general. At one point in the book he says that his son is joining the Legions as a rank and file soldier, just like he did. Not as an officer, not with special privileges... a common foot soldier. I can not swallow that both he and his son joined the Roman legions as common legionnaires.Read more ›
The Saxon Shore is the fourth book to the Camulod serious written by Jack Whyte. They all are a fabulous blends of History and Arthurian legend. In this particular book gives a detailed account of Merlyn's life and how he became the wizard we all think of him as. It is a new look at an old legend from a point of view that should have been put to use long before Whyte came along. The change in Merlyn from man of myth and legend like other Arthurian novels to a man of arms with problems and sorrows just like anyone else places this book on a level of its own. Although it is a very long book it is worth nearly every minute. It is a fantasy book, history lesson, and a great way to spend a rainy day all put into one. If you have every fell in love with knights, chivalry, or kings this book will restore that childhood dream or if it never left keep it burning bright. I know it has done so for me. If you ever just want to get away form life and find like me that a book helps this one is great for just that purpose. It has the ability to take you out of this time and to place you thousands of years ago with the characters your reading about. It makes Arthur seem like he really existed rather then just a character for our enjoyment. I look forward to reading the rest of the serious as soon as possible.
This series, The Camulod Chronicles, outlines the story of King Arthur as it might have been in a historical perspective, beginning with the end of the Roman occupation of Britain. If there were such a person as Arthur, he would have lived during this time. Most likely, he was a composite character, based on some of the more influential warlords and petty kings of the day. As an aside, I am reminded of a vacation in southern England that my family took in 1995. My sons, who were 11 and 13 at the time, could not understand my excitement in viewing the ruins of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, asking "How can this be the birthplace of someone who never was?" But, that's a different story. . .
The first two books of the series, which outlined the founding of Camulod (or Camelot) and Avalon and the forging of the sword Excalibur, were told from the viewpoint of an old Roman soldier. These last two books, which detail the birth of Arthur and his early boyhood years, are told from the viewpoint of Merlin, or, "Merlyn" in the Chronicles. As an avid reader of Arthurian legend and all its various retellings, let me tell you that the character of Merlin is probably one of the most varied of them all, probably due to the fact that he was actually a minor character in Mallory. Hence, the details are free to be filled in by the current chronicler.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Fast delivery, excellent condition. This is the fourth in a series started with The Skystone, a new and interesting look at the survival of civilized life after the Roman... Read morePublished 15 months ago by sal134
While I enjoyed book 4 in this series,I can't help but feel that this is just a bridge between the days of the colony and what is obviously about to follow in book 5. Read morePublished on May 17 2001 by Beverley Strong
This book is fun like the others but can get darned ridiculous at times (like the others), so my recommendation is read them if you want a decent yarn and can't resist Arthurian... Read morePublished on May 3 2000
I only review books that I like. It seems to me childish and petty to attack an author's work simply because you don't like it. Read morePublished on April 27 2000 by Joseph H Pierre
I have enjoyed these books although they have a recipe that is a little heavy. Anyone who is addicted to the Arthur / Merlin stories might enjoy these as well. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2000
This book isn't that bad, but it certainly isn't that great, either. Overall unremarkable next to so many other excellent historical fiction novels or just plain adventurous... Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2000