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The Winter King by B. Cornwell > Part Five: The Shield-wall

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message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 188 comments Mod
Discuss the last chapter of our novel!

message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna | 77 comments I've enjoyed The Winter King and do want to keep going. That's a dislaimer for the following complaint:

Does anyone else feel that this whole novel was bit of a prologue? I feel like we could have had some of this in flashback or even just exposition during the rest of the story. There were times when I couaght myself thinking, "When is this really going to start?" I may change my mind as we read the next one, but for right now, I'm a little disappointed...

But not enough to not continue with the series.

message 3: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (SarahCarmack) | 188 comments Mod
I felt the same way through much of the novel -- until Part Four I believe -- you can probably find my comment somewhere in past comments. Yes, I remember Dee reminding that it was a series, but even so, I think it was a bit padded. In particular, I feel we know little about the characters.

Dare I compare it to Mary Stewart's Merlin series, for example? It was so dense and rich throughout each volume, I didn't feel Stewart was "pacing" the novels. Could be a result of more modern publishers' preferences (insight on this, Dee?)

Anna, if I had not been reading Arthurian lit for several years now, I would not have walked away from Winter King feeling I knew very much about the legend or "who's who" -- even BK's own version of who's who.

I like the tone of his writing, but the content has not been stellar.

message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna | 77 comments Sarah said,"if I had not been reading Arthurian lit for several years now, I would not have walked away from Winter King feeling I knew very much about the legend or "who's who" -- even BK's own version of who's who."

Very true. If I did not know what was coming, I may have been tempted to put this one aside and not continue the series. I think it is telling that BK felt the need to include a glossary of charatcers as well as place names in the text. The well-crafted writing and historical content may have distracted me from the fact there isn't much plot... yet.

message 5: by Bob (last edited Feb 18, 2009 05:53AM) (new)

Bob | 37 comments Mod
I agree that the pace is very controlled but I never felt bored or that it wasn't moving forward. I liken it to a good symphony slowly building up to a crescendo. And what an ending! Derfel's old enemies, now his men, come out of the line and confront old grievances and ask for forgiveness. It is a very subtle nod to Christianity and at the heart of it's power. On our last day, pagan, Christian, atheist all have a universal desire to be forgiven of our sins. With hearts and spirits lighter the warriors are now allowed to lose themselves to the battle. BC does a great job of describing the fight without going into the mundane. In it's conclusion I'm sure hardcore Arthur fans are a little disappointed that he did not win the day through his own might/will ( I was a little), but none the less a satisfying ending.

Prologue'ish? Yes, but IMHO, in the best of ways. He also does a good job of bringing the book to a natural conclusion without falling into the " be continued" structure. I don't feel obligated to read "Enemy of God"...but I want to. :)

message 6: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 301 comments Ooh, I'm enjoying this.
Carnage and politics in this part. And some neatly tied up revenge.
Merlin still doing what he does. I don't think he should ever be centre stage, and I'm pleased he's still fairly peripheral to things.
I chuckled at the line from Cavan, "Plump women, good fighting, strong mead and rich gold for ever." Should use it as a toast.

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