A Dream of Eagles 1: The Skystone

Title: The Skystone
Author: Jack Whyte
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: 1993
Length: 620 pages
ISBN: 0-14-017050-2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Centurion Publius Varrus and his General, Caius Britannicus, are on the verge of retirement from the finest fighting unit in the Roman Legion. Publius returns to the trade of his father as a smithy, and then joins Caius to build a defendable and self-sufficient colony in the heart of Britain. Hadrian’s wall has been overrun and the Roman Empire is quickly sliding into ruin. Knowing Rome will eventually be forced to withdraw her legions from their island home, both men want to be prepared for the end of the world as they know it. Between the two of them they unknowingly set the stage for an independent Britain and one of the greatest legends of all time: Arthur and his sword Excalibur.

The Skystone is the first of the Camulod Chronicles, now known as A Dream of Eagles. Canadian author, Jack Whyte creates a cast of strong characters whom we meet through the eyes of an aged Publius, who is looking back over a lifetime of unprecedented change during the 5th century A.D.

This a fabulous pre-Arthurian tale that presents the first plausible explanation of the origins of the Arthurian legend I’ve ever come across. The names and places and people are all laid out for us in a fascinating depiction of a tumultuous time that made way for the world we know today. From an explanation as to the origins of the Lady of the Lake and the Pendragons, to a foreshadowing of the forging of Excalibur and, amidst it all, the vivid description of the end of an age, Whyte has written an entertaining, moving and unique novel that begins what may come to be accepted as the true story of the time-shrouded figure we all know as King Arthur.

The entire series of A Dream of Eagles is sitting on my shelf, and I can’t wait to read each and every book.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2009

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