The Eagle (©2005)
The Camulod Chronicles, Book 9
by Jack Whyte
Attached here, my patient and long-suffering readers will find first-draft samples of the first couple of chapters/chunks of The Eagle, the final episode in the Arthurian saga that I've been writing now since 1975. Admittedly, I wasn't working on the piece full-time back then, because I had a living to make and a family to raise, but the understanding of the explanation of the sword-in-the-stone mystery came to me in 1975, and that's when this all started. I wrote then, in what I laughingly thought of as my "spare time" for the next fourteen years, until I had three complete novels in my collection and was nowhere near the end of the story. The first book was published by Viking in Canada in 1992, and since then, including this newest book, I have produced eight large
tomes . . . nine, if you count The Sorcerer as two books, rather than two volumes. But there are eight novels in all, where I live, and whatever way I look at it, I've been completely involved in writing them and thinking about them for thirty years. And now they're done . . . or will be, as soon as I've finished editing this last one. Viking/Penguin is still on track for having the book on the shelves by Christmas this year, and the cover art is already designed and in place . . . and I love it. I think you will, too. Anyway, two samples of the first draft text are here for your perusal. I hope you'll like them.
The ninth and final installment in Whyte's Camulod (Camelot) series offers an imaginative if rambling account of the end of the Arthurian era. Narrated by Clothar of Benwick (Lancelot), King Arthur's best friend and loyal companion, the novel is grounded in the author's "interpretation of Lancelot" as "an archetypal hero." Faced with fractious local rulers and Saxon invaders, Arthur hopes to unite Britain to fend off the invasion. But two regional kings—the treacherous Symmachus and the ambitious Connlyn—unite to frustrate, and ultimately destroy, Arthur's dream. The basic plot, however, is overburdened with a stew of subplots and backstories: Clothar's affair with a betrothed woman adds heft but not substance, and the detailed recounting of the paternity of Arthur's son, Mordred, the fruit of an unwitting incestuous affair with his half-sister, is distracting. The author also sends Clothar off on a seven-year detour to Gaul where he trains a cavalry force and saves his cousin's kingdom from the Huns. Clothar returns to Britain to find that events have taken a dangerous turn and a final showdown looms with Camulod's enemies. Fans of Whyte's exhaustive retelling of the Camelot legend will welcome this final chapter.