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Excalibur

(The Warlord Chronicles #3)

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4.40  ·  Rating details ·  20,443 ratings  ·  685 reviews
In The Winter King and Enemy of God Bernard Cornwell demonstrated his astonishing ability to make the oft-told legend of King Arthur fresh and new for our time. Now, in this riveting final volume of The Warlord Chronicles, Cornwell tells the unforgettable tale of Arthur's final struggles against the Saxons and his last attempts to triumph over a ruined marriage and ravaged ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 16th 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1997)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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Petrik
Jul 13, 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
The Warlord Chronicles trilogy is hands down the best Arthurian saga I’ve ever had the chance to experience out of all medium.

"I have to confess that of all the books I have written, these three are my favourites.” – Bernard Cornwell


2 months and 20 books after my last 5/5 stars (without rounding up) read, the end to that slump is finally here, for I have found a new addition to my favorite shelves in a genre I rarely ventured. Cornwell has a new fan and this might be a sign for me to dive into m
...more
Peter
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Duplicitous
Excalibur is the final book of the Warlord Chronicles trilogy and it maintains the excitement, intrigue, conflict and wonderful narrative the first two books led us to expect. The Arthurian legend has never been better told, on any medium.

The land is divided into kingdoms and Arthur continues his quest to unite the Britons and repel the Saxons. His mission is noble and is tied to his oath to Uther.
“Mordred should be King, we took an oath to make him King, and if we beat the Saxo
...more
Will.J.R. Gwynne
My expanded review is on BookNest!

BookNest

“Tell your father” I said, “That I loved him to the end.”

Excalibur is the third and final book in The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It brings about the conclusion of the best Arthurian novels I have ever read.

“This tale of Arthur, my Lord, my friend and the deliverer of Britain.”

Excalibur was utterly brilliant just like its predecessors. It is the finale of a story that has immersed me into the lives of the characters as my feelings became
...more
Rob
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 3 and the last of the Arthur Sagas.

Bernard Cornwell kept the bests for last. This book oozes with heroes, undying love and magic most foul.
This is Britain in the late 5th and the early 6th centuries. When the Britain’s were under siege from the marauding Saxons who were hell bent on taking as much of Britain as they could. The Saxon’s had to be stopped but this was no easy task. Britain at this time was a land of many small kingdoms and these kingdoms have spent many generations killing e
...more
Daniel Ionson
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Shannon
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
Nate
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott  Hitchcock
Book 1: 3*'s
Book 2: 3.5*'s
Book 3: 4*'s

If you like the tales of Arthur this series is a must and each book gets better. It is probably the darkest and least romanticized version I've read. The endings for a lot of our characters of myth are much less glorious as well then other versions of the tale. This makes them no less compelling and even more so in the more realistic gloom of 6th century what would become England. It's somewhat amazing with all the hatred across kingdoms they ever did manag
...more
Amanda
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Arturus Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus
Arthur, our Once and Future King
What an amazing retelling of the legend, I think I'm a believer. The book has a great ending, but I wasn't ready for the story to end. I hate it when I get closer and closer to the end of a book and just know that not everything I want could fit into the remaining pages. Its heartbreaking to keep reading then, but what a great series. I am a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell. Thats the 9th book of his I have read in less than two mont
...more
Lucia
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Another great book by Bernard Cornwell!
Kate Quinn
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sean Barrs
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
“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
Megan
Such a strong finish to a great trilogy. I loved the rehabilitation of Guinevere, and some of the battles were pretty epic. But at various points, time passed maybe a little too quickly for my liking, and while I'm not disappointed in how things played out, I was expecting this book to be a 5 star read. If I'm honest, it fell a little short for me.

Still, a great read, and a fantastic trilogy! Highly recommended.
Andy
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hist-f-dark-ages
Onto the final book in the trilogy & the conclusion.

We start C 525AD, again following on with the story right after the prior book.

You’ll know all the characters by now so no need to go over them & I’ll not give to much (if any) away, because even if you think you know the legend of Arthur from other stories, films or television this creation by Cornwell has crafted the lore into a credible story which deserves to be read unspoiled & so I think i’ll leave this review at that......... Although...
...more
Charles Bronson
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think Martin put it best - ‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.’ A gripping tale of love, courage and betrayal. Highly recommended !
Mike
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, library, history
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
Richard
Nov 16, 2015 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
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
el
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
UGH
I exclaim as I lovingly thwack the book down upon the table. These are too fucking good.

Excalibur is my favourite of the three. I wasn’t bored once.
This is how you write, lads.
I endeavour to create like this. To captivate. Attention, emotions – reel them from a person like a fish on a line. Until they’re so intertwined, the distinctions between character and reader become irrelevant.

A perfect gathering of threads to close. Some tied up, others left dangling in the wind, leaving you to wonder
...more
Casey
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are no words that I can conjure into a review that will do this book justice.. but I will try. “Excalibur” is the brilliant and haunting final installment of ‘The Warlord Chronicles’. Captivating and compelling it held my interest to the end. After reading the first two novels in the series, I found ‘Excalibur’ was a fitting conclusion. This trilogy is more realistic and adventurous than any other books on the Arthurian legends, and far more historically accurate on 5th century Britain. Ch ...more
Ensiform
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
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
ChopinFC
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible, Masterful and fantastic conclusion to the epic series!

5 Stars!
Robert Sheard
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed this series. It got off to a difficult start for me with all the names I didn't know, but Cornwell does such a good job of tying everything together. It's impressive how much this trilogy covered. It's not the tales of Arthur I grew up reading or hearing about, but a fascinating alternate version.
Rachel
Jun 17, 2008 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
Dustman
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful version of Arthur. Truly enjoyed all 3 books.
Malum
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is probably the weakest book in a trilogy that never really pulled me in like I hoped it would. It moves at a snail's pace and is pretty anti-climactic throughout. I also felt that it didn't really tie up all of its threads by the end.
Billy
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
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12,745 followers
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)
  • Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2)

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