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The Skystone by Jack Whyte
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bookshelves: celtic-saxon-norse

3.5 stars. This is a hard one to rate because I DID like it! Or rather, I like the story that this first book spent its dear sweet time establishing. The story isn't exactly slow, dull, or boring... it just reallllly isn't in a hurry to get anywhere. I guess this series feels kind of like a cup of tea that apparently needs to steep.

The story is somewhat like Bernard Cornwell's The Winter King in that it's told through the POV of an older guy reminiscing about his life. The main character here, Publius Varrus, is a Roman soldier at the time when Celtic forces are reclaiming their own land. There are definitely a lot of battles. Hadrian's Wall falls and Varrus eventually goes back to run his grandfather's blacksmith shop where he uses metal from a skystone (or meteor) to make super awesome swords. Throughout the course of the story he comes to identify more as a Briton than a Roman, so Varrus and his former general start to form a new government and chain of events that will lead to King Arthur...

I'm used to reading stories in this time period through the Celtic perspective, so it was interesting to try to like some of the invading Roman soldiers (or at least put myself in their shoes). I was never super into the story, but was still interested enough to continue!

The way that certain events came about was pretty clever, like the Pendragon stuff or the Lady of the Lake's connection with Excalibur. I think I like Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles better because they really created a vivid setting and conveyed the time period. But this is still a decent read if you like slower historical fiction and the idea of King Arthur!
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