The Singing Sword (©1996)
The Camulod Chronicles, Book 2
by Jack Whyte
A sequel to The Skystone, this rousing tale continues Whyte's nuts-and-bolts, nitty gritty, dirt-beneath-the-nails version of the rise of Arthurian "Camulod" and the beginning of Britain as a distinct entity. In this second installment of the Camulod Chronicles, Whyte focuses even more strongly on a sense of place, carefully setting his characters into their historical landscape, making this series more realistic and believable than nearly any other Arthurian epic. As the novel progresses, and the Roman Empire continues to decay, the colony of Camulod flourishes. But the lives of the colony's main characters, Gaius Publius Varrus?ironsmith, innovator and soldier?and his brother-in-law, former Roman Senator Caius Britannicus, are not trouble-free, especially when their most bitter enemy, Claudius Seneca, reappears. Through these
men's journals, the novel focuses on Camulod's pains and joys, including the moral and ethical dilemmas the community faces, the joining together of the Celtic and Briton bloodlines and the births of Uther Pendragon and Caius Merlyn Britannicus. Whyte provides rich detail about the forging of superior weaponry, the breeding of horses, the training of cavalrymen, the growth of a lawmaking body within the community and the origins of the Round Table. It all adds up to a top-notch Arthurian tale forged to a sharp edge in the fires of historical realism.