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Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Eagle's Brood - Jack Whyte

The Eagle's Brood is the third book in the Camulod Chronicles (Camelot), leading up to the Arthur legend.

The story's point of view changes in this book to Caius Merlyn Brittanicus, son of Picus and grandson of his namesake, Caius, of the first two books. Merlyn is half Brittish-born Roman and half Celt, a product of cooperation between two peoples. He becomes a thoughtful leader of his people. His cousin, Uther, on the other hand, is a powerful warrior, often bloodthirsty and cruel. Because of his cruelty, his relationship with Merlyn is permanently damaged.

This book tells of life in the Brittain as the Colony at Camulod struggles to maintain against powerful foes that come seemingly in waves. The Saxons are a real and sometimes perceived threat but the biggest threat is from Lot of Cornwall, whom Merlyn and Uther hate from boyhood.

Another, new threat, is the threat of religious change. The author spends lots of paper on discussing historical moments in Christian history from the 5th century, regarding Pelagius and Augustine. I think that this subject will come up again in subsequent books, due to it being unresolved in Brood.

While I enjoy the author's craft of writing, I found some of the setting and content to be overly sexually graphic. The story could not have gone anywhere, as it was created, if not for the sexual situations involved, but I found that word choices, depth of the description of the scenes, and the amount of times that he mentions Uther's "manhood" to be too much. While I understand that a book about this subject and time period will have these situations, this book spent way too much time with graphic sexual scenes for good taste.

Overall, the story is a bridge between setting the environment of Brittain at that time and the coming of Arther. As such, there are many ideas thrown into the story, seemingly at random, although the reader probably knows that some of these ideas will come up again in later books.

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