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red snow

Bernard Cornwell - warlord chronicles and beyond

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1 minute ago, SeanF said:

Come to think of it, Rosemary Sutcliffe wrote an excellent story about Arthur, Sword at Sunset.  Like the Warlord Chronicles, it's intended as a realistic depiction of Britain in the late Fifth Century, although she has no magic at all in it.

I'll have to look into that.

I read "the wake"  by Paul Kinsnorth in between warlord chronicles. It actually fits quite well. Obviously it has invented olde English in it but it also captures the "out of time" aspect with the people having different attitudes. It sort of has magic but more in the way of visions which could just as easily be the ravings of a madman.

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3 hours ago, Spockydog said:

I am so happy. I have just discovered that book eleven of the Saxon Stories was recently released.

*does Snoopy happy dance*

Yep, finished it a few days ago. A quick read as the previous two.

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4 hours ago, red snow said:

I'll have to look into that.

I read "the wake"  by Paul Kinsnorth in between warlord chronicles. It actually fits quite well. Obviously it has invented olde English in it but it also captures the "out of time" aspect with the people having different attitudes. It sort of has magic but more in the way of visions which could just as easily be the ravings of a madman.

The period has the advantage for a novelist that it's almost a completely blank canvass.  I imagine that Britain between 450 - 600 AD must have been like the world of Mad Max.

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12 minutes ago, Zorral said:

I didn't know -- so thank you -- book on order!!

Heh, I had no idea it was due out either til i saw workers putting it on the shelf Monday night before release. I was like WHAT? GIVE IT TO ME!

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Sounds like the publisher needs to improve their promotion when this is where most people hear about a new book. Guess they are saving money though :)

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19 minutes ago, red snow said:

Sounds like the publisher needs to improve their promotion when this is where most people hear about a new book. Guess they are saving money though :)

It is weird. Usually i know well in advance about a new Saxon book, but this one seems to have dropped with very little fanfare. It doesn't even have a section on the new books table at B&N.

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Mary Stewart Arthur novels, or rather Merlin novels are magic lite also, most events has a reasonable explanation, with a few that are ambiguous, they are my favorite Arthurian novels.. Warlord Trilogy run them very close though.. 

 

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Oh yes - a Bernard Cornwell thread!

I'm an Arthur nut and I LOVE the Warlord Chronicles.  I love how Cornwell gives the legends back to Arthur - in other legends, particularly Malory, Arthur takes something of a back seat to Lancelot, the love triangle, and the Grail Quest.  The Warlord Chronicles are about Arthur, and give reasons why his name would be remembered forever, whilst also making him very human.

I love Guinevere, Ceinwyn, Morgan and Nimue - all story-shapers in very different ways.  I wish we could have had Morgause - but for some reason Cornwell omitted all of that - I guess to keep the focus on Arthur v Mordred.

I love that Derfel adores Arthur, and Arthur is totally worth it. 

Spoiler

I think this is why the Uhtred/Alfred is so different - it couldn't mirror Derfel/Arthur.  

What Cornwell did with the characters of Arthur, Mordred, Lancelot and Galahad was just brilliant.  And I enjoyed the way he wove the Celtic Arthurian legends with the more familiar Frenchified versions everyone knows.

The story starts with the birth of Mordred another inspired move:

Spoiler

All the omens are bad, and everyone knows that the little brat should have been killed, but Uther was having none of it.  Arthur breaks every oath he ever made, but is determined to keep the one made on his behalf - to put Mordred on Dumnonia's throne - until it is too late.

If you haven't already, go on to read the Saxon Chronicles.  Uhtred is a coarse successor to Derfel.  I love the parallels between the two, and between Arthur and Alfred, and their respective relationships.

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One book that comes to mind is a new release, Lancelot by Giles Kristian.

Published a few months ago and seems very well received, it s a large standalone book.

Kristian said he was inspired by Cornwell many years ago.

Another Arthurian series I am enjoying is "Dark Age" by James Wilde , first book is called "Pendragon".

It is set in the period before Arthur, so far.

Edited by Calibandar

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On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 7:39 PM, Calibandar said:

One book that comes to mind is a new release, Lancelot by Giles Kristian.

Published a few months ago and seems very well received, it s a large standalone book.

Kristian said he was inspired by Cornwell many years ago.

Another Arthurian series I am enjoying is "Dark Age" by James Wilde , first book is called "Pendragon".

It is set in the period before Arthur, so far.

Thanks for some other Arthur novel tips! I'd actually like a book where Lancelot isn't a weasely coward now. Oh, it' only 99p for kindle edition. Bought. I'll probably allow some time before starting though as it does sound similar in approach.

 

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On 10/21/2018 at 2:39 PM, Calibandar said:

One book that comes to mind is a new release, Lancelot by Giles Kristian.

Published a few months ago and seems very well received, it s a large standalone book.

Kristian said he was inspired by Cornwell many years ago.

Another Arthurian series I am enjoying is "Dark Age" by James Wilde , first book is called "Pendragon".

It is set in the period before Arthur, so far.

I read Wild's The Time of the Wolf, and am trying to get through the follow-up, The Winter Warrior.  I should love these books, as they are set in the dreadful, warring, violent, starving years after Hastings -- told from the POV of a Briton / Saxon.  While the first one was OK, this one is a real slog.  Maybe it's because I know there is no winning in this one for our narrative side, I probably won't finish it?  Bad on me, then!

About to begin Excalibur, Cornwell's third Warlord / Arthur trilogy.  Ya, a lot of structure here that Uhtred's Saxon Stories follow, including the central conceit of the protagonist a champion for the side that he wasn't born into.  But Uhtred has the added twist on that conceit, of being born Saxon and Christian, adopted and become Dane and pagan, and then champion for the Saxons and Christians. Derfel is born Saxon and pagan, brought up Briton and pagan, and though a champion for Arthur, ends up a Christian whether or no -- and in the real world Roman Church, a saint!  A long about way of saying that Cornwell's protags here don't like Christians (though Uhtred does have friends among them).

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I think Starbuck's is the only series I havent picked up. Sharpe's grew on me, took me through the Napoleonic wars in quite en entertaining manner, but my favourite was my first - probably for the novelty- 1536 and onwards on the grail quest series.

 

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Ah -- someone else weighing in on the Wilde book(s) which I ain't able to read at all.

Cornwell's Sharpe was way too formulaic for me to read.  Or to watch, for that matter.  Give me Patrick O'Brian for Napoleon's wars!

Cornwell's US Civil War series was unreadable, because, to start with, as with so many Britons, he doesn't get what the US War of the Rebellion was really about, and continuing with not getting that this war continues to this very minute here in the USA, unlike the wars of Cromwell and the Stuarts back in the good old UK.  Nor could I buy into his Independence novel.

Mostly, really, the only books of his I really liked were the Uhtred books.  Also, they are very short!

Edited by Zorral

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11 hours ago, Zorral said:

Cornwell's Sharpe was way too formulaic for me to read.  Or to watch, for that matter.  Give me Patrick O'Brian for Napoleon's wars!

I do sort of see this.  But moments like Badajoz and the Forlorn Hope make up for it.  And Sharpe's Waterloo is just brilliant.

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On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 1:42 AM, Zorral said:

Ah -- someone else weighing in on the Wilde book(s) which I ain't able to read at all.

Cornwell's Sharpe was way too formulaic for me to read.  Or to watch, for that matter.  Give me Patrick O'Brian for Napoleon's wars!

Cornwell's US Civil War series was unreadable, because, to start with, as with so many Britons, he doesn't get what the US War of the Rebellion was really about, and continuing with not getting that this war continues to this very minute here in the USA, unlike the wars of Cromwell and the Stuarts back in the good old UK.  Nor could I buy into his Independence novel.

Mostly, really, the only books of his I really liked were the Uhtred books.  Also, they are very short!

The Sharpe books are formulaic, but mostly very enjoyable.  And, while plenty of authors can describe a battle well from the point of view ordinary soldier, Cornwell's the only writer I know who gives a really good overview of a battle.  His factual account of Waterloo is outstanding, and very clear.

 

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3 hours ago, SeanF said:

The Sharpe books are formulaic, but mostly very enjoyable.  And, while plenty of authors can describe a battle well from the point of view ordinary soldier, Cornwell's the only writer I know who gives a really good overview of a battle.  His factual account of Waterloo is outstanding, and very clear.

 

It is indeed!

BTW. re King Alfred and Uhtred, there's a new history available about the Viking wars --

THE VIKING WARS: War and Peace in King Alfred’s Britain, 789-955 (Pegasus, $29.95), by Max Adams. 

included in a round-up of new military histories in today's NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/09/books/review/nathaniel-philbrick-in-the-hurricanes-eye.html?

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I just finished the Warlord trilogy, a few days ago. The best Author story I've ever read. Derfel is one of my favorite characters in literature, period. Loved what happened to Lacelot, wanted that to happen from the moment Derlel met him. Galahad, Aelle, Issa, Merlin and well I could go on and on were all excellent characters. Nothing I didn't enjoy about these books at all.

Going back to some scifi/fantasy for a bit, but which of his other series would you guys recommend the most? I'm leaning towards the Saxon chronicles. I trust advice here, as this is where i got the itch to try out Warlord. 

Edited by Esmenet

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