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Enemy of God: A Novel of Arthur

(The Warlord Chronicles #2)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  19,829 ratings  ·  708 reviews
The balance of King Arthur's unified kingdom is threatened by Merlin's quest for the last of Britain's 13 Treasures; by the conflict between the ancient religion and the new Christianity; and by Britain's war with the Saxons. A master storyteller continues his retelling of the Arthurian legend. ...more
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published March 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1996)
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Judith Zaffirini Although each book in this trilogy can be read independently, reading the three in order will make the most sense and ensure the most enjoyment and be…moreAlthough each book in this trilogy can be read independently, reading the three in order will make the most sense and ensure the most enjoyment and best understanding.(less)

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction & Arthurian fans
Recommended to Petrik by: John Gwynne
Shelves: favorites
4.5/5 Stars

Enemy of God, the second book in 'The Warlord Chronicles' trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, and the series so far, has truly been serendipity for me.

As I mentioned in my previous review, I’ve never bothered to start Cornwell’s work, it brings me joy when someone, a friend (even better again when it’s from one of your favorite authors) recommended a book/series to you and you loved it. That’s truly how I feel about the trilogy so far, Cornwell again compelled me with his original and haunti
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book of the Warlord Chronicles, Enemy of God takes this epic Arthurian story up another notch. The political manoeuvrings, personal quests, mix of diverse personalities, and the unpredictable relationships between male and female characters, makes for captivating reading.

The compelling feature of this novel is the extent and depth of how characters are developed and how the plot is full of unique twists and surprises. Within this environment of hidden machinations and power st
Scott  Hitchcock
Book 1: 3*
Book 2: 3.5*'s

This darker and less romanticized view of Camelot picked up speed in book two. I've grown to enjoy more and more this version of the characters and especially the view of Lancelot and Guinevere who definitely don't come out smelling like roses.

The clash between the Britons and the Saxons also escalates as does the pagans vs the Christians which in some ways the story starts to form if not a prelude at least a precursor to the Saxon Stories series.

This series is being don
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second novel in Bernard Cornwell's "historical fiction" series about the Arthurian legend continues. While it was just as entertaining as the first novel, I had to deduct a point. Why? Arthur is an absolute idiot. Consistently making the wrong choices, supporting the wrong people, and honoring the wrong oaths. While he is quite good at swinging a sword and riding a horse, he is very dense.

It could be said, all of it from the betrayal by Lancelot, the Christian uprising, Bishop Sansum's maneu
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Bernard Cornwell does not disappoint and once again I enjoyed his book immensely. The way he connects myth and fiction in this book is astonishing. I applaud his singular storytelling skills and I cannot wait for next (and unfortunately final) book in this series!
William Gwynne
Just placed my expanded review of this wonderful nook onto

“So many dead. Their footsteps will not stir a rush on the floor nor frighten the mice that live in the monastery’s thatched roof.”

Enemy of God is the second book of The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It continues the unique historical perspective about the origins of Arthur and his band of loyal warriors.

“For t
Back-2-back with a series which Ive not done in eons!

We pick up directly from the end of the prior book, the aftermath of the battle of Lugg Vale. Derfel is again front & centre retelling his story as an old monk. Merlin is at the centre of the politics, others think they control the kingdom but in reality it is the druid & his accolade Nimue that pull the strings in the background & it’s a grand characterisation of the mystical pair.

We start with an adventure, as is oft the way with second boo
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A slight improvement on the previous novel but definitely a feel of a second book in a trilogy. I enjoyed the first book but it took some time to get into and there were a hell of a lot of names to take on board (only for the majority of them to die or no longer be involved after 50 pages). This one was a little slow at the start and it took me a while to get back into the flow of the style and era but when things got going then the pages flew by.

Derfel and Arthur are two very well rounded c
So,an escape from more formal literary pursuits.Cornwell is a consummate storyteller.He distills history,religion,myth,legend,magic and fable.This predates Game of Thrones but is a marvellous re imagining of the Arthurian legends.This is a story of Britain with religious persecution and invasion and immigration and clashes of Kings and clans.A version of the Arthurian saga was filmed in Ireland in or about 1980 by John Boorman.Two of my classmates had small parts so from then the legends always ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number two in the Warlord series.
This is the warts and all story of Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot and the rest of the round table knights.
There is nothing cosy and romantic about this tale. Lancelot is a narcissistic pig. Guinevere has delusions of grandeur and Arthur wants nothing more than to be a farmer.
The usual suspects, greed, power, sex, revenge and religion, keep getting in the way of Arthur's aspirations of becoming a farmer.
The game's afoot so unleash the dogs of war. And nobody does
5 Stars (Incredible)

Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2) is an incredible continuation into the life and story of Britons and their most heroic leader Arthur, and it is an incredible effort by Sir Cornwell!

There's really not much critique to say about a book that is so polished, so well written, so entertaining with delightful and memorable characters! In this latest effort, Cornwell improves in nearly every single aspect of the storytelling! The characters are more aptly developed, the s
Sean Barrs
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this, I have decided I don’t want to read the third book in the series because if I do, it will end. But no seriously, I will read it but I won’t be happy to finish it; it’s just one of those epic series’ that you come across every so often that is that good you don’t want to read it because when you have you can never read it again for a first time.

This novel is fantastic, the character development strong and the plot action packed. It’s just great! For fans of Arthur and his knig
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, library, history
Enemy of God Enemy of God (The Arthur Books, #2) by Bernard Cornwell is a solid 4 stars, maybe even 5 stars. I took a little away because I wanted Arthur to be a little more cunning and realistic. He comes across too naïve in areas where he should not be. The portrayal of Christianity and how it spreads conflict is a major theme and isn’t pretty. But it is probably realistic. While this Arthurian tale is not like any others, if you are looking for a “Grail” quest, you will find it here…kind of. This part of the tale is told in the warm summertim ...more
Wick Welker
Masterful characterization and brilliant thematic craftsmanship.

This second installment in Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy stands up to the brilliance of the first book, The Winter King. Cornwell succeeds in advancing the plot while providing well conceived characterizations, relationships and very strong themes.

These books are highly thematic and the characters weave seamlessly into these themes. The hubris and folly of idealism is probably one of the strongest themes presented. This theme is pers
Kate Quinn
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cornwell's splendid trilogy of King Arthur continues in the second novel, "Enemy of God" - and it's altogether a darker, dirtier, more brutal world than the Arthur myths most of us remember growing up, with new twists to many familiar characters. Lancelot in this setting is a preening poser, Merlin is a teasing prankster as well as a powerful wizard, and the seasoned Derfel is Arthur's greatest warrior. Arthur now rules as regent for the child king Mordred, his enemies subdued - but chaos is alw ...more
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This was a reread for me after having read it first over a decade ago. Wow time flies.
I couldn't really remember the book and as I read it, it didn't look familiar. only had the occasional de ja vu. I am wondering if that is because it can be a little boring at times and therefore it never stuck in my head all those years ago.
A 4 star rating for it. I dropped a star because while at times it was a 5 star read, there were other times when Bernard Cornwell needed to stop over writing and get on
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Want an Arthurian legend with grit? With raw human emotion? With unexpected betrayals and intrigue? Here you go.

This is the second in the Arthur/Warlord trilogy and keeps the same momentum started in The Winter King.

It could almost have ended here. You could stop after this and have a satisfying saga.

But who would want to? There's still one book to go.
Allow me to open this review by apologizing to my friends on Goodreads for spamming so many reviews of Cornwell stuff lately, I don't know what my problem is. I hate to be that guy but the man's stuff is entertaining. Anyways...this book was a very pleasant departure for Cornwell. It's less about stuff like gathering levies, shield walls, and efficient military maneuvering and more about the struggle between paganism and Christianity, the relationships of the characters in the book and how they ...more
Margaret Mary
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this series and what a brilliant telling of the King Arthur story.
I liked this volume a bit more than the last one, although Cornwell continues to make questionable changes to the Arthur story that have me scratching my head. I understand that this is a "what if" story, but changing things to make them less dramatic seems like an odd choice for a writer. I also wish that Arthur was the main character rather than this series basically being Derfel's story with all of the more interesting characters playing second fiddle.

I really did enjoy his take on Tristan a
I'm fluctuating between a solid 4 and a 4.5 stars with this one. It was better than The Winter King for the simple fact that you didn't have to force yourself through 100 pages of dense world-building at the beginning. But at the same time, it was just that tiny bit shy of a 5 star read. (I'm hoping that Excalibur is going to be worthy of a 5 star rating, though. *crosses fingers*)

Cornwell picks right up where he left off previously in The Winter King - perhaps a day or so after the battle of Lu
Redfield Reads
Arguably the worst Cornwell book I have read to date. Characters became boring and really lacked the edge they had in the first book in the series. I still go think Nimue is excellent and I do like this interpretation of Guinevere who is arguably the most dangerous character in the series.

However the main character I find gets more dumb as the book goes on and Arthur seems to become more pathetic each time he appears.

I am a fan of Cornwell but found this one to be boring with a lacklustre ending
Lee Conley
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick review, as I'm crazy busy

This second book in Cornwell's version of the Arthur story is again fantastic! There were some pretty emotional moments and it was another gripping read

I really like this series as always Cornwell puts in an epic amount of research and gives this series a realistic feel, I daresay, even though this is fiction it is as likely to the real Arthur story as we are likely to get

Look forward to the final installment
Rob Bradford
I have yet to read a really good book by Bernard Cornwell; but he's never failed to entertain me, either.

Every book of his that I've read could fit into this one generic Cornwell review:

Characters: good, but curiously blind in the places where the plot calls for them to miss something.
Historical Detail: excellent, immersive, impressive.
Plot: frustratingly obvious.
Pacing: excellent, if predictable.
Style: solid, literate, unchallenging.

I guess it's the way it's going to be, if you write as many b
Mayank Agarwal
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better than the first book in the trilogy, this has more exciting plots and made me want to know what happens next. The beginning was fun, the middle bore and the ending page turner, with Cornwell’s writing style already established in the previous book i knew not to expect fantasy and magic. The portrayal of religion and the importance and implication during the dark ages seem real and the way Cornwell uses it in the book is brilliant.

The book is solidly written and well-paced although th
Peter Talbot
The second of Bernard's semi-realistic recasts of the Arthur/Merlin saga. Begins well enough with a cauldron quest to Ynis Mon, but this volume is surprisingly distasteful for a variety of reasons. The harping between pagan and nominal Christian myths behind characters and the big Mithra and Isis magic plot lines involving Guinnevere and Lancelot, et al, is at once turgid (all puns intended) and unsatisfying. Betrayal and jealousy are the centers of the story for Malory and others, but by becomi ...more
Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Everything I said in my much longer review of The Winter King ( applies to Enemy of God, as well, except ramped up to 11.

The story was tighter, Christianity and Druidism both came across as more sinister and yet somehow more pitiable, and the characters plunged into that old truth of how everything goes wrong in Act II, when things are darkest before the dawn.

My only criticism (of a book as close to flawless as humanly possible) is that towards the end,
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story, a 4.5 rating.

This is the second in a King Arthur/Camelot trilogy; when I wanted to immerse myself in the Arthur legends, I went not for literary or fantasy but to a favorite historical novelist and was not disappointed.

Story is told by a very old man in a monastery, Derfel,looking back on his life as a pagan lord and champion of Arthur. Several themes running this novel -- it is a changing world and the Britons are struggling to hold on to their lands against the ever increa
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
The second book in the Arthur series, this book tells of how Arthur’s fragile peace was broken by Lancelot’s deal with Cerdic, the Saxon raider, and how Arthur discovered Lancelot’s treachery with Guinevere. The narrator Derfel’s story is also fraught with drama; Cornwell knows how to make the reader hate villains (treachery is the trick, it seems, judging from this and the Sharpe series) and yearn for their comeuppance.

Again, this is a very expertly realized historical guess at “Camelot” (a wor
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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 birth mother's maiden n ...more

Other books in the series

The Warlord Chronicles (3 books)
  • The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1)
  • Excalibur (The Warlord Chronicles, #3)

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48 likes · 11 comments
“But when you have order, you don't need Gods. When everything is well ordered and disciplined then nothing is unexpected. If you understand everything,' I said carefully, 'then there's no room left for magic. It's only when you're lost and frightened and in the dark that you call on the Gods, and they like us to call on them. It makes them feel powerful, and that's why they like us to live in chaos.” 41 likes
“To hear the tales told at night-time hearths you would think we had made a whole new country in Britain, named it Camelot and peopled it with shining heroes, but the truth is that we simply ruled Dumnonia as best we could, we ruled it justly and we never called it Camelot. Camelot exists only in the poets' dreams, while in our Dumnonia, even in those good years, the harvests still failed, the plagues still ravaged us and wars were still fought.” 12 likes
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