The Singing Sword (A Dream of Eagles, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – May 3 2005
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In The Singing Sword, the second book in the Camulod Chronicles, Jack Whyte's multivolume rendition of the history and prehistory of Arthurian England, the Roman Empire is nearing its end in Britain and a community of Roman colonists is attempting to create a society to outlast the difficult times they see ahead. As in its predecessor, The Skystone, the main character in The Singing Sword is Gaius Publius Varrus, one of the founders of the community. Old feuds (a vengeful senator) and new dangers (raiding Franks) make up most of the action, but much as Publius's life has moved far beyond that of a soldier's, so The Singing Sword is much more than an action-adventure novel. A sword fight is as likely to be followed by a discussion of the theology of Saint Augustine as by a consideration of the novel use of cavalry in warfare. The characters are as concerned with the philosophical basis of their society as they are with fighting for it, and the end result will be a community still legendary in our time.
The Singing Sword is an intriguing historical novel with a touch of legend, featuring characters who have a convincing knowledge of and some influence over events at the last stages of the Roman Empire. And those looking for the arrival of King Arthur will note the birth of two grandchildren with famous names and the forging of a sword that sings. --Greg L. Johnson
From Publishers Weekly
A sequel to The Skystone, this rousing tale continues Whyte's nuts-and-bolts, nitty gritty, dirt-beneath-the-nails version of the rise of Arthurian "Camulod" and the beginning of Britain as a distinct entity. In this second installment of the Camulod Chronicles, Whyte focuses even more strongly on a sense of place, carefully setting his characters into their historical landscape, making this series more realistic and believable than nearly any other Arthurian epic. As the novel progresses, and the Roman Empire continues to decay, the colony of Camulod flourishes. But the lives of the colony's main characters, Gaius Publius Varrus?ironsmith, innovator and soldier?and his brother-in-law, former Roman Senator Caius Britannicus, are not trouble-free, especially when their most bitter enemy, Claudius Seneca, reappears. Through these men's journals, the novel focuses on Camulod's pains and joys, including the moral and ethical dilemmas the community faces, the joining together of the Celtic and Briton bloodlines and the births of Uther Pendragon and Caius Merlyn Britannicus. Whyte provides rich detail about the forging of superior weaponry, the breeding of horses, the training of cavalrymen, the growth of a lawmaking body within the community and the origins of the Round Table. It all adds up to a top-notch Arthurian tale forged to a sharp edge in the fires of historical realism.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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 ›
Whyte's strong suit is his faithfulness to historical detail. From the departure of the Legions to the Pelagian Heresy, from life in a divided and crumbling Empire to the invasion of post Roman Britain by the Saxons and other "barbarians."
Once again, as in the first installment, Whyte's description and detail of adult sexual situations makes it a novel not for the young or those who easily blush. However, this isn't a condemnation of Whyte or his novel. It is simply more "adult" oriented than the average fantasy novel.
Another strong suite for Whyte is his character development. Each character grows and expands as the story evolves. Furthermore, Whyte doesn't make his characters caricatures so common to most fantasy novels. For example, Publius is certainly a flawed hero and we are shown his more "human" side.
You like Action? There is plenty of action moving the story along. Before you know it, the novel is done and you are dying to read the next installment.
This series does an amazing job bringing the world King Arthur would be born into to life. It may not be what really happened, but it is certainly possible. Just be warned, this novel will leave you hungry for the next intallment.
The first person narative is still one of the best parts of the book as it gives an intimate feel to the main character. However there are a few disappointments with "The Singing Sword". The first is the ressurection of the villian from the first story. The second and less obvious point is this: the first book told a story about a group a men and women in Britain, and the Arthurian elements seemed to fall in place around them easily. In this book the story seems to be bent and twisted in order to meet up with the Arthurian concepts.
Still, considering the great characters and quick paced story telling these points can be over looked. It still deserves a four star rating.
Most recent customer reviews
Quality of this used book was no where near what I expected based on the description.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
The saga continues. Whyte's writing is very accessible as well as being a page turner.Published 8 months ago by Mark J R Henderson
Fast delivery, excellent condition. This is the second in a series started with The Skystone, a new and interesting look at the survival of civilized life after the Roman... Read morePublished 21 months ago by sal134
I have read all of Jack Whytes' books. The Singing Sword was the only one I had not read. I was not disapointed at the conclusion. Read morePublished on July 4 2014 by jim campbell
I have never read any book(s) that totally en-captured me like this series has,this is the second time reading them and I am getting as much (or more) enjoyment out of them as the... Read morePublished on June 6 2013 by Tim Cromwell
I've loved this series for years. My Dad bought me the Skystone for my birthday a few years back and had it signed by Jack Whyte. Been a fan ever since. Read morePublished on March 27 2012 by dunson
I really loved the Skystone and that is what lead me to decide to read the next. The singing sword I was glad to see was still narrated by Publius Varrus. Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001 by R. E. Tonsing