This is one of the best historical fiction novels I ve ever read, and trust me, I ve read a lot I first heard about Jack Whyte s series through another favorite author of mine, Diana Gabaldon She spoke so highly of his works that I figured I d investigate further, and if not for her recommendation, I never would have given him a second thought There were several factors going against it a the premise is yet another take on Arthurian legend, which leads me to b the fact that I despise Arthurian legend We all know the story, it s been done to death, and it bores me But I gave it a try anyway, and I m so glad I did.This isn t the legend of King Arthur as you know it Whyte has written it as it would have actually happened The story starts by introducing us to two Roman soliders who, we come to find out, are Arthur s ancestors It s an absolutely fascinating look at Britain during the collapse of the Roman Empire, rich in detail which may turn some people off because he goes into a LOT of detail, but I just love it and with characters you will grow to love One of my favorite books of all time Read in 2005, 2009, 2017 I can only rate this one a mediocre 3 star read The storytelling was very descriptive and meandering, and while I could settle down for the easy, slow pace, I wantedThere were some pretty good action scenes where I felt like we were getting rolling and then it would slow down again to a descriptive, slow pace I don t generally mind a slower pace and felt like I could settle in and continue on with some extra patience on my part Then we would hit a sex scene and man did it feel self indulgent Whyte s descriptive style continued on into the sex scenes and the one flirtatious scene I read and I completely felt like I was literally thrust into the author s own personal fantasies TMI for me Obviously sex happens and I m okay with it I m not okay with reading other people s indulgent fantasies though These parts literally rate a 1 star for me After having read 3 such scenes up to just over the 1 2 way point, I decided to toss the book and give it what I feel is a fair rating I really should knock a star off for not finishing itEdit 10 21 2012Decided to change rating to a 2 star after sitting on it for a few days It really isn t a book I enjoyed enough to recommend to others. The best description I can conjure of my experience with Jack Whyte s The Skystone is languid I don t want to describe his inaugural Camulod novel as boring or slow because neither is quite accurate and both carry far too many negative connotations, but Whyte does love to take his time And damn does he ever take his time It took nine novels and thirteen years to complete his retelling of the Arthurian legend This series is not for the impatient Nor is the first book Whyte plods and winds his way through the telling of the story of Publius Varrus and Caius Brittanicus A pair of Roman soldiers stationed in Britain in the dying days of the Roman Empire They are the men who give birth to the Arthur legend, both literally and figuratively, and it is Varrus who creates the Lady of the Lake a statue cast out of the eponymous Skystone and eventually, Excalibur.Jack Whyte is nowhere near the finest writer of his generation, nor even a contender for the finest writer of fantasy historical fiction, but there is something compelling about his Camulod books, perhaps because they feel possible, and part of that possibility is the languid pace Nothing happens fast This is a story of generations It is a story of time and patience and potential, not a Hollywood action film of the bang pow here and now A plan like Caius Brittanicus would take time, and it would take the loyalty of a man like Publius Varrus and the skill of them both to pull it off, but it couldn t happen overnight, and Whyte never lets it.What The Skystone does well is to make a beginning, to set the stage, to get us ready for everything that is to come so very slowly Whyte sets himself the task of a beginning, and here, he succeeds very well By the end of the series the languid pace may be a little too slow it may actually be a little bit boring, but in The Skystone it is simply languid, and that is the perfect pace to set for a tale the author intends to drag out over a decade of writing Don t be afraid to read the books now They are all there, all ready to be read But when you are finished make sure you imagine what it was like to be a faithful reader way back in 1996 Languid they may be, but languid must have been excruciating. review for the entire Camulod ChroniclesIf you asked me what my favorite series was as a 6th grader my answer would have been the original Shannara trilogy The answer to the same question asked in 2005 would have undoubtedly been A Song of Ice and Fire. notice how I was a fan BEFORE the TV show After reading over 900 books, hundreds of thousands of pages, and countless series spanning multiple genres, I can now say with certainty that Jack Whyte s Camulod Chronicles stands above all others as my favorite.Was this series perfect Of course not, but that doesn t matter Jack Whyte s gift shines like Excalibur as he weaves his tale with an almost magical style that made me experience strong feelings, both good and bad, for nearly every character No other author has come close to making me feel the loss of a fictional character compared to those who passed beyond the mortal realm along my journey through Camulod.This series is a re imagining of the Arthurian Saga that will stand the test of time told in such a way that the reader begins to believe that everything within this tale actually happened in ages past.Did Camelot ever exist Regardless of what historians have to say, it exists in my heart.Get your copy of The Skystone here How Do You Find A New Way To Approach A Story As Familiar As Any In The English Language If You Re Jack Whyte, You Begin Your Retelling Of The Arthurian Saga By Taking One Giant Step Backward To The Latter Days Of The Roman Empire In Britain, Sometime Between The First Breaching Of Hadrian S Wall And The Legendary Days Of King Arthur Publius Varrus Is The Last Legionnaire In Britain, And The Skystone Is In Many Ways His Story He Is A Common Man With Aristocratic Friends, And Successful Both As A Soldier And An Ironsmith As The Roman World Slowly Crumbles Around Them, And Publius Becomes Involved In A Political And Personal Vendetta, He And His Friends Seek To Establish A Refuge, A Valley Where The Old Roman Virtues Will Be Kept Alive And The Empire S Many Faults Be Avoided A Finely Crafted Historical Novel, The Skystone Pays Close Attention To The Details Of Everyday Life In Fourth Century Britain As The First Book In Whyte S Camulod Chronicles, It Makes Few Allusions To The Usual Details Of The Arthurian Legends Until Publius Comes Into Contact With A Sword, A Stone, A Lake, And A Celtic Tribe Who Name Themselves Pendragon Greg L Johnson I always try and say something semi constructive in a review, but there really isn t anything I can say that hasn t already been said by fellow Goodreads member, Tasha who read Skystone at the same time as me.So, I am going to take the cop out option and direct you there as I echo her sentiments and if you do not want to read her review, then here you go.The sex and the timing of the sex was a big joke, the flow was uninspiring, the writing for me was a trial and tribulation I gave up on this book just passed halfway. This is one of my favorite series however I wouldn t recommend it for everyone Most highly I recommend it to those who like an in depth and meandering plot A story that pulls you in and isn t in a rush to let you go THE SKYSTONE, like the rest of this series, takes it s time and this style isn t for everyone For instance, this series is a historical take on the legend of King Arthur and this book takes place three generations before Arthur is born Three And if you enjoy being completely submerged in an author s universe then that s fine If not I should warn you that Arthur doesn t show up until the end of third or fourth book.That being said, this book follows two Roman Britons as the Roman Empire falls and they find a way to perpetuate civilization within their homeland It s a story of war, love, vengeance and lofty idealism There are quite a few philosophical diatribes as the two work out a new society and I enjoyed it greatly.There were some things I didn t care for that much For instance the sex scenes were almost too erotic for my liking They were almost akin to those trashy eroticas that they sell next to the tabloids They made me feel uncomfortable and seemed out of place.If your looking for an action packed, historical fiction take on the legend of Arthur read the Winter King by Bernard Cornwell If you want to get lost in the world of Roman Briton in its death rattle then read this It s a very slow burn but very worth it HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I have had a fascination with the King Arthur legend ever since high school when I wrote my senior paper on it One reviewer complained that this story has been told a million times, why would we read yet another version I would argue that the the reason this story has been told over and over again is that we love the whole idea, that for one bright shining moment there was a real prince and princess who defeated the Saxon horde and granted peace and prosperity to their kingdom The reason that this story can be told in so many ways is that the bare bones of the legend comes from Thomas Malory s Le Morte d Arthur, and it leaved much to be explained Who was Merlin An actual wizard or sorcerer etc etc This series addresses the whole thing from the time the Romans began to leave Britain I love how well written this book is Whyte s use of the English language is masterful The writing is so clear and interesting I find myself enthralled with the art of 6th century Roman style warfare I honestly think I would read almost anything written by this author no matter how uninteresting the subject matter That said I love this subject and Whyte has written an excellent group of books that I highly recommend. WOW This historical novel set in Britain towards the end of the Roman Empire is utterly FANTASTIC It is full of action, tough Roman soldiers, druidic and Christian priests, despicable villains, and a rousing plot Publius Varras is close friends with Caius Brittanicus his former commanding officer Varras is a former legionaire with a old war wound that left him with a limp In addition, Varras was once a Smith His grandfather created a special sword and a special dagger from the metal smelted from a skystone obviously a meteorite Brittanicus sees the Roman Empire is drawing to an end He sees that the Empire is corrupt and politically divided in a way that will tear it asunder He begins to create a colony and plans for its defence The novel is very, very well written I was embarrassed that I had to actually consult a dictionary for a couple of words used in an obscure, but very clever manner The characterization is quality And the SET Up for real world explanations of some of the Authurian legend done in a clever and imaginative manner that was delightfully telegraphed to the reader pretty much from page one I ve already started the sequel The Singing Sword and it starts with a JOLTING twist Then it degraded to a description of sexual promiscuity in almost pornographic detail About the time that I decided it was an author s exercise in mental masturbation and an attempt to titilate the reader he brought the sexual details episode into the story in a way that made me sit up and take notice It wasn t simply crude vulgarity for the sake of the story.This looks to be a LONG series I have the first four and believe that there are at least ten and thus far, I m in it for the long haul The author reeled me in like a large mouth bass on a lure with his action, machinations, plotting, and analytic discussions of the causes of the fall of the roman Empire.I don t think you will want to miss this one. I really did not care for the beginning section of the book It was boring Once it got past the initial stage, I really enjoyed it The story is told as the memories of Publius Varrus, a former Roman soldier of noble blood who is also a blacksmith Much of it concerns his relationship with Caius Brittanicus, an even higher noble who is his military commander for years and becomes a very close friend The title comes from a rock which fell to earth thirty years prior from which Varrus grandfather made him a dagger of an unknown, extremely hard metal Both Britannicus and Varrus become obsessed with the hunt forof these stones Their search takes place against the backdrop of a Britain preparing for the Fall of the Empire Overall, an excellent story I look forward to continuing the series.
Jack Whyte is an author and writer born and raised in Scotland, but has been living in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada since 1967.Whyte s major work to date is the A Dream of Eagles series as it is titled in Canada, but known as The Camulod Chronicles in the United States and elsewhere This series of historical novels presents the tale of King Arthur set against the backdrop of Roman Britain.
- 494 pages
- The Skystone
- Jack Whyte
- 07 January 2019 Jack Whyte