This is the seventh volume of the Camulod Chronicles, Jack Whyte’s sprawling retelling of the Arthurian legend. Whyte is consumed by the backstory of the legend, so much so that the sixth book The Sorceror Metamorphosis ends with young Arthur drawing Excalibur from a stone. The first two books, The Skystone and The Singing Sword, tell of the founding of the Colony of Camulod by two far-sighted Romano-Britons, Caius Britannicus and his brother-in-law Publius Varrus, who foresee the collapse of the Roman Empire. The third book, The Eagles’ Brood, tells of their grandsons, Caius Merlyn Britannicus and Uther Pendragon. Narrated by Merlyn, that book shows them growing up as inseparable friends, who fall out in adulthood. The next three books, The Saxon Shore, The Fort at River’s Bend, and The Sorceror Metamorphosis, detail Merlyn’s efforts to raise Arthur from infancy to adulthood, largely in secrecy.
This book, Uther, is a parallel novel to The Eagles’ Brood, told from the perspective of Uther, shedding light on the more mysterious events of the earlier book. It is sufficiently different from the earlier book that it stands in its own right. Uther is the king of the Celtic people of Cambria, though he spends much of his childhood at his cousin’s home in Camulod. Much of the book concerns Uther’s long war with Lot, king of Cornwall, and Uther’s secret relationship with Ygraine, Lot’s queen, and the mother of Arthur. Merlyn is a secondary character.
Whyte’s tendency to towards longwindedness has grown worse as the series advances, and this book would have benefited from a firm-handed editor.
Moderately enjoyable, but recommended mainly for completists who have read the rest of the series.