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Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Saxon Shore - Jack Whyte

Book four of The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte continues the story of Camulod from the point of view of Caius Merlyn Brittanicus. Half Roman noble stock and half Celt of Brittain.

Merlyn has found Arthur, son of Uther, his cousin. Arthur is heir to the throne of the Eire (Irish) and also the rightful heir to the Celtic leadership also, in addition to his importance to Camulod (Camelot). Merlyn takes on the responsibility to be in charge of making sure Arthur is raised noble, educated and strong.

Merlyn is also beginning to seed his reputation as a sorcerer. There were a couple of situations in the previous book, The Eagle's Brood, where Merlyn does some simple trickery. He doesn't think much of it, but it lay the foundation for more seeming magic in The Saxon Shore. One thing that helps this along is his new-found half brother, Ambrose, who could be his identical twin brother, instead of a half-brother only a few months his younger. Ambrose is also instrumental in subtly fanning this growing reputation.

As the title suggests, the continuing Saxon invasion is always a subtext in this story, although, as he has done previously, the author doesn't usually focus his story on the subject of the title. In fact, very little words are wasted on the Saxons. There are many threats to the safety and growth of Camulod and to the general status of Brittain as a whole.

This was a really good book, a bit slow at times, but generally more wide sweeping than the previous book. We begin to see the legend of Merlyn beginning to take shape and Arthur begin to learn and grow to his coming legend.

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