Uther’s Destiny by Tim Walker

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Late fifth century Britannia recoils in shock at the murder of charismatic High King, Ambrosius Aurelianus, and looks to his brother and successor, Uther, to continue his work in leading the resistance to barbarian invaders. Uther’s destiny as a warrior king seems set until his world is turned on its head when his burning desire to possess the beautiful Ygerne leads to conflict. Could the fate of his kingdom hang in the balance as a consequence?

Court healer and schemer, Merlyn, sees an opportunity in Uther’s lustful obsession to fulfil the prophetic visions that guide him. He is encouraged on his mission by druids who align their desire for a return to ancient ways with his urge to protect the one destined to save the Britons from invaders and lead them to a time of peace and prosperity. Merlyn must use his wisdom and guile to thwart the machinations of an enemy intent on foiling his plans.

Meanwhile, Saxon chiefs Octa and Ælla have their own plans for seizing the island of Britannia and forging a new colony of Germanic tribes. Can Uther rise above his family problems and raise an army to oppose them?

Book three in A Light in the Dark Ages series, Uther’s Destiny is an historical fiction novel set in the Fifth Century – a time of myths and legends that builds to the greatest legend of all – King Arthur and his knights.

This book is preceded in the series by Abandoned (book one) and Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (book two).

REVIEW

Most of the Arthurian tales I read when I was younger, such as The Crystal Cave series by Mary Stewart (which I thought was magnificent), or saw via movies or TV (Richard Harris’ Camelot), dwelt on the mythical for the most part. Uther’s Destiny while it is certainly comprised of those mythical bits, it is also a stark look at post-Roman Britain; the vacuum left with the departure of the legions, and the very real danger of being overrun by the Angles/Saxons/Jutes etc who rushed in to fill that vacuum.  The author’s portrayal of Uther; a complicated man firmly rooted in the 5th century, a king weighed down with the prospect of losing Britain to the invaders, but also a king with the smarts and tenacity to succeed. Indeed, the characters in this tale from Merlyn, to the proud knights, the scheming Morganna, and the treacherous Pascent all do their part to make this an enjoyable read. Also woven into the plot is the inevitable clash of the old religion with Christianity and Uther’s juggling of the two as needed. So, dear reader, immerse yourself in The Dark Ages, and prepare for the enlightenment to come in the person of Artorious.  4 stars

Wulfsuna – The Wolf Spear Saga by E.S. Moxon

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About E S Moxon:

“Born into an Anglo-Italian family, E S Moxon’s life has always involved languages and travel. Childhood holidays were spent exploring Britain’s ancient heritage sites or the openness of north Italy’s rural mountains. Her grandfather’s tales of his roguish youth, akin to old sagas told around fires in Saxon and Viking mead halls, were an inspiration. Fueled by these early influences, Elaine began writing stories. A former holistic therapist and member of the Historical Novel Society, she also enjoys walking, reading and baking.

Once again an author asked me to read and review their labor of love; a task that I enjoy especially when the book is good.  For me a good book has the following qualities: believable story and characters….good descriptive narrative….plots that twist and turn…a writing style that makes it easy to keep turning the pages(or tapping the bottom right corner of a Kindle)….  Wulfsuna has all those qualities and more.  The story line is a Saxon tribe returning to Britain to reunite with with the other half of their tribe…no problem there except for a revenge seeking Angle who gets the saga off to a roaring start and supplies the drama and tension throughout the Wolf Sons journey.  Recovering from the tragic betrayal by the Angles is not easy for the new headman of the Wulfsuna and is complicated by the finding of a strange woman in the woods; a woman who threatens to tear the tribe apart because of her ties to Earth Magic and her visions of the future.

A word about the magic/seer qualities that are an important part of this story….the use of magic and visions by the author enhances the telling and simply reinforces the beliefs that were a part of the 5th century and is especially useful in a tale that is not a retelling of a historical event.  It is an excellent tool for getting into the mindsets of the people of the time and the author has done this in a most pleasant and entertaining fashion.

I really enjoyed this book even when unforeseen events shook me and made me put the book down and exclaim, ‘What? No, she didn’t do that, did she?  I didn’t see that coming.’  Of course those kinds of reader shaking events are what make a book a page turner, aren’t they?  A hearty recommendation and 5 stars…looking forward to the sequel.

Here’s a link to the book trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuU4xV9fur4