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Excalibur (The Arthur Books #3)

4.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,714 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews
Bernard Cornwell has been described as the author who could take the beloved King Arthur legend and make it fresh and new. In this riveting final volume of the Warlord Chronicles, Arthur, betrayed by Lancelot and Guinever, must face his Saxon enemies for the throne of Britain. Peopled by princesses and bards, warriors and magicians, Excalibur is the unforgettable conclusio ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 685 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Thorndike Press (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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StoryTellerShannon
Per my review of WINTER KING, this is a different take on Arthur, focusing on the legend and the times. And those times were when Briton was desperately fighting itself and trying to hold back the Saxon invasions. The ruins of Roman occupation still remain.

In this part of the trilogy Arthur's plans to unite Britain begin to unravel. Merlin is betrayed and former allies of Arthur turn on him or won't assist him as Mordred gathers power.

Follows the Arthurian legend in some places but in others i
...more
Daniel Ionson
I read this series years ago, but started it again to study Cornwell, line-by-line.

This book just gets so profoundly sad as you move deeper through it. There are so many things I would love to change about our history. This book makes me want to step back in time 15 centuries to stop Christianity from infecting the world, and to burn all of the Saxon ships before they sailed to Britain.

Cornwell is truly a masterful writer. I aspire to his level of skill for my own life as a writer.
Nate
Mar 29, 2013 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages, owned
I have to admit that this novel was another pleasant surprise from Cornwell for me. While I'm always entertained and informed by his books they very rarely actually move me in a sentimental way, given that they're not really sentimental books. However, this novel was really touching. Potent episodes of broken and then redeemed love, undying loyalty and sticking to ones' principles even when you have nothing to gain and everything to lose spring up everywhere during this book. It's really nice an ...more
Richard
Dec 28, 2015 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian tales
7/10

A good finale to this Arthurian trilogy but it was probably the weakest of the three overall. The pacing seemed slower than the previous novels and not a great deal happened over the duration of this book with a somewhat disappointing ending.

That being said, the characters are the usual high standard with a few pantomime style villains, the good guys who gleam and then the pagans and Christians feuding for land and people/worshippers. The main highlights of the book were the interactions bet
...more
Kate Quinn
May 14, 2010 Kate Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bernard Cornwell is one of the best writers of historical fiction out there, and the Arthur trilogy is his best work. He strips a good deal of the gloss off the Arthur legends, and what is left is a fascinating picture of the squalor, mystery, brutality, and courage of sixth-century Britain. The third and final novel, "Excalibur," brings the curtain crashing down on a scene we think we know. The baby king Mordred is now a grown man, stepping into his birthright as Arthur bows out, and horror ens ...more
Mike
Oct 24, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction, library
5 Stars without a doubt. I did not want this book and series to end. What a story! This tale of Arthur will challenge your ability to read any other Camelot story. The characters feel real, the setting believable, the political intrigues constant and the battles gory. A taste of the battle scenes:

“It is the beguiling glory of war, the sheer exhilaration of breaking a shield wall and slaking a sword on a hated enemy. I watched Arthur, a man as kind as any I have known, and saw nothing but joy in
...more
Rachel
Jun 26, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Arthurian retellings, long books, and a hint of fantasy
Recommended to Rachel by: James
It's always bittersweet reading the last book in a good series like this one. Because I came to this series so long after it was written, I didn't have to sit around and wait for the next book like a Harry Potter fan or poor tortured original devotee of Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth." So I read the series relatively fast. And maybe I didn't appreciate this third book as much as I should have. But reading it so close to the other books, I noticed a lot of what seemed like inconsistency. I r ...more
Bookworm Sean
“So now I shall write the tale’s ending with my sword beside me and I shall hope that I am given time to finish this tale of Arthur, my Lord, who was betrayed, reviled and, after his departure, missed like no other man was ever missed in all of Britain’s history.”

Wow! What a great book. The ending is marvellous and keeps with the legend but yet raises the question of, “did he live?” This is not a book the reader will soon forget. The author converged history with myth, bringing new life into the
...more
Terri
Okay now, 3 stars, it looks odd I know. I rarely 3 stars Bernard Cornwell books. This time however, I felt no connection to the book and I found it borderline uninspiring. I don't know if this is because I read it right after book 2 in this series, Enemy of God, or whether the book actually was boring and there is no excuse, but there you have it. A guilty 3 star rating. I feel dirty now.

NB: this was also a reread. Read many years ago and I couldn't recall any of it. I think perhaps I was bored
...more
Ensiform
Feb 01, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
The third and possibly final novel of Arthur. The threat of the Saxons is dealt with in the hugely dramatic battle of Mynydd Baddon (Mount Badon), where the Britons win an unexpected victory against all odds (Cornwell loves those situations). Treachery is again an integral part of the story, as Mordred now becomes an efficient soldier and leader of men, and moves to take what is his, while the mad wild witch Nimue uses Merlin’s secrets to attempt to bring the old Gods back to Britain.

Another exc
...more
Billy
Jul 04, 2012 Billy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An EXCELLENT ending to a good trilogy...,

This was a very good trilogy, but the finale, this book, was by far the best. The Winter King, book 1, and Enemy of God, book 2, were both well written, entertaining and interesting (I gave both 4 stars as they were good but not great), but this book finishes off the trilogy with war, carnage, destruction and misery; it had its good things too, but we are talking about dark ages England and what else would you expect of Arthur. This was definitely a 5 sta
...more
Magdalena
Jul 10, 2012 Magdalena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
At times, this volume feels rather anticlimactic to the previous books in the Warlord series, The Winter King and Enemy of God. That’s probably to be expected, as the highlights of Arthur’s career were told in those books. But his story wasn’t over, nor was that of Derfel Cadarn, our narrator who is one of Arthur’s most trusted men.

Loose ends are tied up, storylines come together so that Derfel can rest. There are even still some surprises and twists that we don’t see coming. The tragedies in th
...more
Dark-Draco
The last book in the trilogy is definitely the best one.

Arthur is still trying to consolidate he kingdom for Mordred, but all he wants is to retire to a farm with Guinivere. Derfel still fights for the King and for his Lord, but he prefers to spend time with Arthur and his family. When Mordred gets the taste for battle, he decides to wrestle power back from Arthur, who has few friends left alive and able to come to his aid. Meanwhile, Nimue, angry that her plans were foiled when Arthur's son was
...more
Leninha
Sep 10, 2015 Leninha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
As pessoas não desistem da esperança por causa do desapontamento, Derfel, elas só redobram a esperança. Merlin, pág. 98
Sean
Oct 27, 2015 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those rare books that pained me to let go. I did not want it to end, and when it did it felt like I had lost a good friend. This trilogy was an amazing retelling of a well known story, one of the best, I should add. Really, the best storytelling I have experienced in a long, long time.
Alex Telander
Apr 25, 2012 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles is all about confrontation and final showdowns, whether it be in battle, against matters of faith, or between the wants of certain people. Readers familiar with the Arthurian saga know of Arthur’s inevitable end, but Cornwell has created and developed a number of interesting subplots and characters that the reader has been following since the beginning of the trilogy, which are all resolved.

Guenevere’s infidelity with Lancelot has been reve
...more
Paul
This, the final installment in the Warlord Chronicles, can be summed up pretty well as 'more of the same'.
It's a solid, well-written novel as you would expect from Bernard Cornwell but, like the preceding books in the series, it's a little underwhelming to anyone that will have read the Making Of England series Cornwell went on to write.

I think my biggest problem with the overall story is that where the tales of Uhtred Of Bebbanburg were first-person epics, this tale of Arthur is told from the p
...more
fiacha
Jan 31, 2014 fiacha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Opinião:


Já gostava de Bernard Cornwell mas, após a conclusão da leitura desta trilogia, passo a olhar o escritor com outra admiração, compreendo agora porque muitos dos seus admiradores consideram este o seu melhor trabalho.

As qualidades que admiro no escritor, bem como o que tanto me agradou nesta trilogia, no fundo já foram todas elas referidas nos comentários aos primeiros dois volumes que foram comentados aqui no blog: Rei de Inverno e O Inimigo de Deus. De forma resumida, pode-se dizer que
...more
Jack
Feb 25, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am genuinely sad to say goodbye to these characters. I could read another 3 books about them.
Mayank Agarwal
The first half of the last book in the trilogy is in keeping with much of what we have seen in previous two books – realistic history with over detailed narration. There is real tension in the arc where the pagans are preparing to call back the gods which is followed by the conclusion to the Saxon threat with a massive battle scene. Although it’s lengthy, I for one enjoyed it, finally Cornwell makes his characters likable and inspiring. The book should have ended there.

Instead we get the second
...more
Peggy
First let me say that 3 stars does not mean that I disliked this last book in Cornwell's Arthur Trilogy. 3 stars for me usually means that I liked the book but it just didn't stand out.

Also, I've read all of his Richard Sharpe books and a few of his stand alones and feel that the character development in those books was of a much higher quality.

This book was some what of a let down for me since I really did enjoy #1 & #2. In my opinion the ending fell flat. I also felt that Lancelot came of
...more
Denise
NOTE: This is book #3 of a 3-book series. For best effect, read in sequential order.

We've all heard the mythical story of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere. But Bernard Cornwell has taken what what we may believe about the story and given it a fresh twist. He's scraped away the fairy tale and woven a story that shows us real humans with all their quirks and frailties. In my opinion, a much more believable story with many levels that was a real page-turner for me.

The story is done as a narrat
...more
Joana
Before writing anything about the Warlord Chronicles (or the Arthur Books), I must clarify my background on the Arthurian legends. These theme isn’t completely alien to me - during my early teens (in which I’m surely stuck), I devoured anything I found about it, from films to books, and thus I came upon “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley and “The Elf Trilogy” by Jean-Louis Fetjaine. At least, these were the most remarkable works I recall from those times. Although I suffer from an un ...more
J.
Mar 07, 2012 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a tricky thing to end a series. To give a story a definitive finale that fulfills the expectations of the reader that have been built up since the first line of the first book. Questions have to be answered and satisfaction has to be meted out or the whole of the series can crumble under the weight of its own ending. With Bernard Cornwell's Excalibur, we come to the end of Arthur's tale and while it is a well written book and just as good as the first two installments, there are many questi ...more
Gerald Matzke
Excalibur is the final book in the Warlord Chronicles series. It is a story within a story because it follows the writing of the story while the main story is being told. Along with the captivating battle accounts with all of the sights, sounds and smells which are a staple of Cornwell's novels, the author develops the characters so well that you know them so well that you can anticipate their next move. You rejoice with their victories and mourn their losses. This was one of my favorite Cornwel ...more
Sandra Grauschopf
Apr 04, 2016 Sandra Grauschopf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
I think this might be my favorite series of books ever. I just set it down, and am heartbroken that I can't read more about loyal Derfel and his adventures. I don't think I can even summon up words to describe it, it's simply fantastic. If you like historical fiction, gripping battles, unexpected twists on old stories, and rollicking reads you won't want to put down, this don't let this series pass you by.
Torben
Jan 31, 2011 Torben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gutes Buch, interessanter Ansatz zur Artus-Sage, da historisch und realistisch erklärbar. Macht sicher mehr Spaß, wenn man etwas Artus-Sagen-Vorbildung hat. So ganz ist bei mir der Funke beim Lesen der Trilogie nicht übergesprungen. Vielleicht war mir die Charakterisierung der Figuren etwas wenig, die Story überschlug einerseits Jahre, andere Teile waren wieder zu genau, vielleicht lag es am Ich-Erzähler oder am vorgegebenen Handlungskorsett. Sicher zählen die Romane zu den besten historischen u ...more
Abraão
Sep 26, 2015 Abraão rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Com mais guerra, menos truques e mais magia termina a narração da lenda de Arthur, por Derfel. Finda também a vinda dos deuses - sejam eles quais forem - para a Bretanha. Resta-nos as lembranças vívidas de Derfel, sua esposa e de lanceiros distintos defendendo ideais. Excelente final da série.
Lena
Jan 22, 2014 Lena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first half of the book but I thought the other half was not as interesting as it could or perhaps should be. I enjoyed the Merlin/Nimue staff and Taliesin was an unexpectedly good character addition. The focus on this final installment especially on the last part of the book is not so much on Arthur and the plot seems a little forced. Also it seemed out of character to me how (view spoiler) ...more
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The end (spoiler) 6 40 Apr 18, 2016 08:41PM  
2016 Reading Chal...: Excalibur - A Novel of Arthur by Bernard Cornwell 1 15 Apr 01, 2015 01:46PM  
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  • In Winter's Shadow
  • The Eagle's Prey (Eagle, #5)
  • The Knight of the Sacred Lake (Guenevere, #2)
  • Sword at Sunset
  • Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4)
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, C ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

The Arthur Books (4 books)
  • The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1)
  • Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2)
  • Il cuore di Derfel

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“Only a fool wants war, but once a war starts then it cannot be fought half-heartedly. It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy, and it is that savage joy that inspires our bards to write their greatest songs about love and war.” 20 likes
“She is a woman, and what women want, they get, and if the world and all it holds must be broken in the getting, then so be it.” 1 likes
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