Author: Jack Whyte
Length: 623 pages
Genre: fantasy/historical fiction
Plot Basics: Uther Pendragon lives his life torn between his home in Cambria, where he ends up being king, and his home in Camulod, the place that he loves. When his long-time enemy Guhlrys Lot attacks Camulod, Uther goes to war, setting off a series of events that leads to the birth of his son, Arthur, and Uther's own downfall.
Banter Points: Word Nerd should have stronger arms after lugging this tome around for as long as it took her to finish it. Whyte did answer a few questions that he had raised in the previous books.
Bummer Points: Where to begin... Word Nerd's review of the first half of this book is here. The second half, sadly, was not as much better as she hoped. This book was like Star Wars Ep. III... everybody knows that Anakin is going to turn into Darth Vader. Likewise everybody knows that Uther is going to meet Ygraine (Lot's wife) and be the father of the legendary King Arthur and that Uther isn't going to make it past the end of this book (doesn't matter which Arthur version you read... Uther never lives.) Moreover, Whyte takes all the magic and mystery out of the Uther/Ygraine meeting... in some versions, it's Merlin who enchants Uther to look like Ygraine's husband or at least spirits Uther into the castle to, er, umm... meet her. Instead, Whyte makes it humdrum by having Uther's forces capture Ygraine so she's conveniently around to attract Uther's notice and Merlin (Merlyn, in Whyte's version) is back in Camulod.
Word Nerd recommendation: The first six books in this series were so good which makes Uther all the more disappointing. Still, Word Nerd will be undaunted and will press on with the series, hoping that when Arthur reappears it will be worth the wait.