“Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur”

Bernard Cornwell

“Excalibur” is the grand conclusion to Cornwell’s “Warlord Chronicles” trilogy. Merlin attempts a gruesome rite to restore the old gods while Christianity continues to spread. Arthur’s triumph at Mynydd Baddon – an outstanding battle account from a writer famed for his combat scenes – ironically leads to Mordred’s resurgence; it is also the setting for Arthur’s reconciliation with Guinevere. And, finally, the conflict between Arthur and the Mordred, the king he was oath-bound to serve, is tragically resolved at the battle of Camlann.

This book, like the other two, is told by Arthur’s last warlord. We at last learn what forced this devout pagan to become Christian and how he lost his hand in the process.

Cornwell has written over a dozen entertaining Richard Sharpe books, but his three Arthurian novels are better than all his Napoleonic stories put together.