Jules's Reviews > The Winter King

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Rate this book
Clear rating

F 50x66
's review
Sep 05, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: arthuriana, historical-fiction, 2009
Read in December, 2009

4.5 stars

Cornwell's take on Arthurian legend feels like a very... natural one to me. His descriptions of life in the sixth century don't gloss over the less glorious things like bloodshed and hygiene. It's a huge plus! I also like that magic is present, but where it's real to Derfel, the narrator, it's not necessarily so to the reader.

Actually I really need to compliment Cornwell on his tale-shaping at whole. The narrative situation is fabulous; I always enjoy the beginnings of each part immensely, when we switch to Derfel-the-monk. Derfel connects the different plot strands together, and he does a perfect job of telling us what we need to know without getting confused at all. For once, I even enjoyed the quite detailed battle at the end: where usually I get lost in the sea of happenings, Derfel's narrative had me clear of what was happening when where and why at all times. I love it when that happens.

If I have any critique at all, it's that maybe the novel was a bit too slow to start off, with quite the lengthy exposition of the people of the Tor (yes, introduction of those people was necessary; no, I did not quite enjoy myself through that part and kept wanting it to be over). And then there is the matter of Derfel, a seemingly simple warrior of Arthur's, suddenly being praised as a mighty fighter. That was a bit of a rough inconsistency of characterisation - it might have used a bit more smoothness.

Other than that, I loved reading this. Quite a clear-cut, intelligent, well-researched retelling so far, with three-dimensional characters that seem very real. Can't wait to tackle the next book of the trilogy!

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Winter King.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

12/11/2009 page 391
78.99% "So much love for the narrative situation and the way Cornwell weaves the tale together. Lovely."

No comments have been added yet.