This brilliant reconception of the Arthurian epic cuts through the familiar myths and tells the story of the real King Arthur: Artos the Bear, the mighty warrior-king who saved the last lights of Western civilization when the barbarian darkness descended in the fifth century. Artos here comes alive: bold and forceful in battle, warm and generous in friendship, tough in politics, shrewd in the strategy of war--and tender and tragically tormented in love. Out of the interweaving of ancient legend, fresh research, soaring imagination, and hypnotic narrative skill comes a novel that has richly earned its reputation as a classic.
"[King Arthur] is a living presence who moves in a brilliantly lit and fantastic landscape . . . rich and sumptuous as the world described in "Mabinogion", as gay and menacing as "The Tale of Genji" . . . Rosemary Sutcliff is a spellbinder." "--"Robert Payne, "New York Times Book Review"
I didn't think I was going to like Sword at Sunset as much as I typically like Rosemary Sutcliff's books, even though it was surely combining two of my favourite things -- Sutcliff's writing and realism, and Arthurian myth. It began slowly, I think, and it was a surprising change of tone for Sutcliff -- her books are mainly written for children (of any age!), but this book had decidedly adult themes, with the incest and more explicit references to sexuality than I'd expected. It's also unusual for her in that it's written in first person, and narrated by Arthur himself.
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