Arthurian Theme read w/**SPOILERS**

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Arthurian Theme read w/**SPOILERS**

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Mar 29, 2008, 5:36 pm

**SPOILERS**Since nobody else has started one yet thot i'd do it! I'm still reading The Skystone by Jack Whyte the first volume of The Camulod Chronicles. It seems to me that a lot of Whyte's emphasis (in this volume any way) is on the technologies & crafts in which processes which had formerly been called magic are being referred to as things as yet unknown & or understood at this point in history. While the word-science is never used but you have the sense that it is what looms on the horizon for the wiser heads of the day. The main character/narrator Gaius Varrus is a highly skilled iron smith & a character who has just come into the story is an accomplished worker of wood. The fact that they are both men of means who practice their crafts out of a love for the work & the objects which they create is indeed a different sort of slant on this Roman occupied Britain period of history. There is a very wise woman whose curiosity about things goes way beyond the usual in "womanly concerns' is a character I'm also especially relishing. I'm enjoying these particular aspects of the book especially just because of this emphasis as well as the unmistakable impression that the older generation of Romans in Britain are despairing over the capabilities of the younger generation who are soon to take over the task of keeping Britain Roman. In short they believe the youngsters to be soft, spoiled & totally not up to the task! As noted by others reading in this series Whyte puts in plenty of violence, in great detail yet! But the other stuff is outweighing that for me & i'm sensing how these things are leading the tale toward the Arthurian connection. It's just that Whyte takes us by way of the 'scenic route'. 8^)

Mar 29, 2008, 5:51 pm

That's interesting Vanye. In The Crystal Cave which is more the story about Merlin than Arthur, he studies extensively with engineers, doctors - soaking up knowledge like a sponge, while with his father in Brittany. Then later when he applies that knowledge to erect the standing stones and other wonderful things, many people attribute it to magic. And there's a significant Roman influence too. I've resisted reading the Jack Whyte books because I've always loved Mary Stewart's interpretation of the Arthur story and haven't really wanted to look elsewhere, but it's sounding from your description that I might like Whyte's books, despite the violence.

Mar 29, 2008, 8:25 pm

There is a very wise woman whose curiosity about things goes way beyond the usual in "womanly concerns' is a character I'm also especially relishing.

Is that Luceiia? She only gets better as the story goes on. She's one of the best female characters written by a man I've read.

Mar 29, 2008, 8:43 pm

I am reading The Winter King and it too is a nice combination of relatively realistic descriptions of what living on the british isles might have been like while spinning a bit of a "yarn" about the sterling character of Arthur. He does cast him as grasping power but in a way which makes it seem as if he really is a hero, and mostly the others support him because he is so good a "ruling" the realm, such as it was (small, poor, and under attack).

The narrator is a young man who is becoming a warrior and who idealizes Arthur. The young man also has a liaison with a mistress of Merlin's and she works some magic through him. Clever plot line to have her working thru the young man parallel Merlin working thru Arthur.

Mar 29, 2008, 11:00 pm

Yeah, Will, it is Luceiia & i am pleasantly surprised to find Whyte capable of writing such a great female character. When Varrus first meets her i keep expecting the relationship to develop in the 'standard' fashion but i'm glad to be wrong. Am looking forward to what ever comes next! 8^)

Mar 30, 2008, 6:18 am

I quite like most of Whyte's women characters. I do have a hesitation in that it almost seems like there are no women in Camulod who aren't beautiful, talented, intelligent, etc. It makes for a good story, but loses out on the realism. In the same way, almost all of the male characters seem to be strong, handsome and good fighters, and utterly clueless in the ways of women, who know all that goes on in men's minds. Again, perhaps lacking on realism (some women are like that, but not all, and same for the men), but it adds a mythic quality to the story, so I can understand it in a way.

Mar 30, 2008, 10:50 am

Thanks for starting the thread, Vanye. I'll be back when I have more time, and my brain is not in 'morning' mode. ;o)