Shadow of the King
Book Three of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy
They knew what was coming.
Man and beast knew what lay ahead.
After the war cry.
Bitter the grave.
At long last, the peace King Arthur was born to usher in has settled over the realm. But Arthur was also born to be a warrior… and all true warriors are restless without a fight. Yearning for battle and ever-loyal, Arthur is easily deceived into setting sail for Gaul to defend its territories—leaving his country vulnerable and leaderless.
A beacon of hope in a land of desolation, he was to be the Lord of the Summer Land for now and forever. But first, the Pendragon must face the ultimate test, one that will take all his courage, strength of will, and honor to survive.
Because once destiny is fulfilled, can you ever truly win again?
“Helen Hollick has it all. She tells a great story…” —Bernard Cornwell
“Hollick’s interpretation is bold, affecting, and well worth fighting to defend.” —Publishers Weekly
Bringing her praised Pendragon's Banner trilogy to a close, Hollick maintains the high standards of The Kingmaker and Pendragon's Banner in this last glimpse of the passions and chaos of Arthur Pendragon's fifth-century court. Although Britain is nominally at peace under Arthur's reign, the king chafes at inactivity and agrees to take his handpicked fighters, the Artoriani, to Less Britain (northwestern France) to help the Romans fend off invading barbarians. Queen Gwenhwyfar is left to protect the throne as Arthur's ambitious uncle Ambrosius, his ex-wife Winifred and others scheme to take it. After muddled communications give Arthur the impression that Gwenhwyfar has died of a fever, he himself is wounded in battle. While the surviving Artoriani carry home word of his death, Arthur's old lover Morgaine saves him and nurses him back to health. Although Hollick departs from traditional Arthurian legend by leaving out any hint of magic or the supernatural, she juggles a large cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill. Fans of Arthurian legends, whether readers of genre fantasy or historical fiction, should enjoy this spirited retelling of the final days of King Arthur's court.