Monday, April 9, 2012


The fourth book in the Pendragon Cycle series by Stephen Lawhead is entitled Pendragon. This is an interesting addition to the series, originally intended to be a trilogy consisting of the books Taliesin, Merlin, and Arthur. One might think that after the abrupt, and I would say, somewhat unsatisfying way that Arthur concluded, a natural place to continue the series would be to tell the story of what became of Arthur and Merlin. However, Pendragon, which was written 5 years after Arthur was published, goes back to fill in more of the details of Arthur's story and how his kingdom was established in Britain.

Certainly, Pendragon was written with a style and pacing that was a perfect match to the existing trilogy. However, I would say that it did not really add anything to what had already been presented. Certainly it was not a stand-alone work, for I think it would be quite a confusing jumble without having already read the trilogy. Yet, while all of this sounds a bit negative, I would make clear that I very much enjoyed this tale. I love the development of the characters, watching Arthur grow into his greatness battle by battle and day by day; following Merlin as he remembers his true strength and calling, not as a mighty warrior, but as the chief bard of the land; drinking in the loyalty and love of Arthur's queen Gwenhwyvar.

The main plotline of the story is the invasion of Ireland and Britain by the mighty war host of Vandal barbarians led by Amilcar. It is also a time of severe drought in the land and a time in which the yellow fever is running unchecked throughout the population. These three plagues of unquenchable destruction are only heightened by the fact that the British warhost has just finished a major campaign that has left severely weakened, and the fact that the support of Arthur's new realm is tenuous and strained. Yet Arthur and his loyal inner circle handle the realities they face with strength, courage, and honor. Now, onto the last book in the series, Grail.