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Uther    by Jack Whyte order for
by Jack Whyte
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2000 (2000)
* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This is the story of Uther Pendragon, cousin to the sorcerer Merlyn, and father to Arthur. It starts with Uther's boyhood and chronicles his growth into a hot-headed young warrior who eventually leads his people. This tale is contemperaneous with Whyte's Dream of Eagles series. Although the same characters appear in both, approaching it from Uther's viewpoint puts a totally different complexion on the very same events as related in that series.

Uther himself does not appear to be a fully developed character. We are told frequently of his dark side, inherited from the Pendragon Celts - but apart from a few instances of hasty temper, he does nothing to deserve his reputation. A fascinating aspect of the book is that it unravels many mysteries unanswered in the previous series: how Cassandra died; who killed Lot, Uther's deadly enemy; and how Uther came to meet and love Ygraine, Lot's wife and the mother of Arthur.

If you haven't encountered Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, then start with The Skystone. The author provides a pragmatic and absorbing view of the development of the Arthurian legend after the Roman withdrawal from Britain. If you have read the previous books, it will add very much to the interest of this one, but Uther stands well on its own.

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