Twelve long, blood-soaked years, have passed since Artor fulfilled his destiny and was crowned the High King of the Britons. Against all odds, Artor has united Celtic Britain and with a last great campaign, has banished the Saxon scourge. The legend of Camlann has begun. But even as Artor's kingdom is at its zenith, even as he has succeeded in conquering all external threats to his rule, his kingdom is being undermined from within.
For Artor has chosen Wenhaver (Guenevere) as a second wife. Queen of the Britons, Wenhaver will always love what she cannot have and have what she cannot love, and her bitterness threatens to bring down all those around her. Not only is Artor betrayed by the one person he should be able to trust, he has also learned of appalling perversion at the heart of his kingdom. He must make a terrible choice. Does he commit a deed that leaves him open to comparison with the despotic Uther Pendragon, or does he let evil go unchecked? The burden of leadership, of power, now rests solely - and heavily - on Artor's shoulders for Myrddion Merlinus, master tactician, guiding light for so many years, has left Artor to his fate. Could all that Artor has fought for, the destiny of Britain, be lost? Will Britain be torn apart?
The second book in the King Arthur trilogy is just as good, if not better, then it's predecessor.
I was instantly hooked, especially the first half when we got to witness one of the greatest war scenes. M.K. Hume kept me on the edge of my seat throughout every bloody murder.
It's not until the second half when you start seeing the real change of King Artor, no longer the young boy called Artorex, he is now faced with the problems of court life. Especially when he takes a second wife, Wenhaver.
I've always had a fascination with the Arthurian times, especially everyone's different take of what "really" happened. And finally I have come across an author who wasn't afraid to create the beautiful Guenevere (known as Wenhaver in this story), as the evil cow that she is.
I've always had this odd feeling about her whenever she is mentioned in a story, like we are supposed to feel sorry for her because she "fell" in love with Lancelot. We are to forgive her for cheating on her husband and bringing the kingdom to ruin. I don't think so. So when M.K. Hume portrayed her as a selfish young woman, a spoiled beauty who is cruel and stupid, all I could think of was, "Finally, someone is on the same page as me."
If you are a fan of hers don't let this ruin it for you. It's just M.K. Hume's take on a fictional character, and you never know, this might give you a different view on Guenevere/Wenhaver.
I was still in love with the same old characters as the first book, Dragon's Child, Targo, Merlinus, Artor, and so on, but the one person who I fell in love with was Nimue. If you have read the first book (and so you should have), you will remember her as the infant that was saved by Gruffydd and given the protection tattoo from King Artor.
Now we see her all grown up, and even though she was brought up in the kitchens, she is smart, caring, Nimue is what every female character should be, not afraid to speak her mind, and isn't one to be easily pushed over by people higher than her.
The only problem/issue that I have is the relationship between Nimue and Merlinus. I'm not one to discriminate against age differences, I think there is nothing wrong with it actually. With these two characters though, for me it felt a little bit wrong. If you have read this book I would love to hear your opinion on this, and hopefully I'm not the only one with this problem.
Overall I really loved this book; the bloody war scenes, the political games played out in court. Not one part was boring to read. Like I said with Dragon's Child, it's great to read a different take on a great classic.
Even though I don't want this to end, I'm looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy, the Bloody Cup.