The Fort at River's Bend is the fifth book in Jack Whyte's saga of the creation of King Arthur's Britain
Merlyn Britannicus, leader of the colony known as Camulod, is faced with the task of educating his young charge, Arthur, future King of the Britons. Fearing for the life of his nephew when an assassination attempt is thwarted, Merlyn takes Arthur and his boyhood companions Gwin, Ghilleadh, and Bedwyr, to the ruins of a long-abandoned Roman fort far from Camulod. Once there, Merlyn realizes it's time for Arthur to become worthy of the sword he is destined to wield later in his life-the mighty Excalibur.
But beyond their idyllic hiding place, forces threaten the tenuous peace of Camulod. In Cambria, the death of Arthur's father Uther has left his people leaderless, and in Cornwall, Merlyn's enemy Peter Ironhair is gathering forces to destroy all Merlyn holds dear.
And Merlyn himself is struggling, because in order to make his dream of a united Britain real, he must put the person he loves most in the world in mortal danger-he and Arthur must return to Camulod.
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Fearing for the life of his nephew, eight-year-old Arthur Pendragon, after an assassination attempt in their beloved Camulod, Caius Merlyn Brittanicus uproots the boy and sails with an intimate group of friends and warriors to Ravenglass, seeking sanctuary from King Derek. Though Ravenglass is supposed to be a peaceful port, danger continues to threaten and it is only through the quick thinking of the sharp-tongued, knife-wielding sorceress Shelagh that catastrophe and slaughter are averted. Derek, who now realizes the value of the allegiances Merlyn's party bring to his land, offers the Camulodians the use of an abandoned Roman fort that is easily defensible. The bulk of the novel involves the growth of Arthur from boyhood to adolescence at the fort. There he is taught the arts of being a soldier and a ruler, and magnificent training swords are forged in Excalibur's pattern from the metals of the Skystone. While danger still lurks around every corner, this is a peaceful time for Britain, so this installment of the saga (The Saxon Shore, etc.) focuses primarily on the military skills Arthur masters, as well as on the building and refurbishing of an old Roman fort. Whyte has again written a historical fiction filled with vibrant detail. Young Arthur is less absorbing a character than many of the others presented (being seemingly too saintly and prescient for his or any other world), but readers will revel in the impressively researched facts and in how Whyte makes the period come alive.