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Summary

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a dark age....

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian's Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.

But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world - a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde - in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.

A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of the empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul, will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon. A soldier and a thief, a cutthroat, a courtesan and a druid, even Emperor Valentinian himself - each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend...the rise of the House of Pendragon.

©2017 James Wilde (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Twisted Root of Arthurian Legend

Whatever you do don't shake your head and mutter "Oh no not King Arthur AGAIN!". Historical-based fantasy is very much in vogue within the genre and where better to start than a hundred years before the Arthurian legends? James Wilde has done just that and presented us with a Dark World lit only by the dying embers of the Roman Empire. Something dark and troubling is brewing just North of Hadrian's Wall, war is afoot, ancient magics and Gods are infiltrating the world once more and of course there is a prophecy of epic proportions about to reveal itself.

The Dark Ages are of course ripe for such novels and James Wilde is the latest author to populate a largely unknown part of our history with a quality bit of fantasy. He gives us a decent set of characters to follow and in conjunction with David Shaw-Parker treats us to a fast-moving plot of no little interest. I really enjoyed it and think it ends well suggesting this will grow into an enjoyable series as he gives us a genuinely new twist on the roots of Arthurian legend.

For me personally it didn't quite hit the heights of the very best in the genre with some of the characters feeling all too familiar and occasionally the combination of author and narrator generating the melodramatic rather than genuine excitement. It would be harsh to damn the whole thing because of that though. I got a lot out of it and I think it has real potential to develop into a very entertaining series.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Just missed the mark

Plenty of content but story just didn't hold together for me, couldn't get to know the characters quick enough so kept losing interest, sorry but not personal or gripping in either character formation or storyline.
Passed a few afternoons while it rained but easily put down.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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great story brought to life by a masterful narator

the narator has the ability to bring to life the characters but also invoke the scenes set by the author, sinister forests, beautiful countryside vistas, lively towns, barracks life. Great story very well told

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Loved this book

I loved this book. Great story, great narrator, it kept me going through many a sleepless night. Especially enjoyed the story about the Scottish Picts, its not often they are included in books. Will definately look for books by James Wilde again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Vj
  • england
  • 27-02-18

great story awaiting the next

really enjoyed this book great plotlines twists and turns you can feel the barberians breath on your neck .

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A sad way to pass time!

I was very glad to reach the end of this book. with so much available on the Arthurian legend this would need to be good to live up to it - it wasn't!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful