Pendragon Review

Pendragon Review | James Wilde

Today, I’m returning with my Pendragon review, a historical fantasy that really gets you on an emotional level. A fantastic blend between history and fantasy, this series takes you on a journey where happiness comes at a price too high to pay, and destiny has a way of getting what it wants.

*External links below are affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase

Publisher: Bantam Press | Date: 2017 | Genre: Historical/Fantasy | Buy it here*

Plot: Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.

But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.

A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.

A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend…the rise of the House of Pendragon.

Book review: Pendragon by James Wilde

Pendragon Review

You all know how much I love the Arthurian legend; discovering a book called Pendragon was a certain way of getting me to pick it up. But, as the cover points out, this is set long before Arthur. It’s set around the establishing of that bloodline…where Pendragon isn’t the name of a king, but a title bestowed on a leader who will lead the way through war and bloodshed until times of peace.

Thoughts? Feelings? I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t a light or a quick read. It’s fairly slow paced despite the constant tension and action, with various chapters of travelling and movement. There are heroes, heroines, guys technically on the side of good who you want to punch repeatedly, and a group of people that no one seems to know whose side they are actually on!

The majority of the story follows Lucanus. A scout used to venturing into the wild with his group of brothers, Lucanus’ destiny takes a turn when he heads north in pursuit of his love’s son; anything to win her affection while she is married to another. But Lucanus discovers the boy is destined to father kings, and his destiny is to protect him and keep him safe.

That might be easy – if their enemies hadn’t discovered the same thing. Driven from their home, a small band of survivors face impossible odds as they seek safety. But enemies come from within as well as the north, and none of them are safe. To further complicate matters, the wood-priests all have an invested interest in the future and it’s hard to say what they’re after.

Lucanus snatched up his wolf pelt where it lay in one corner. When he slipped it on, he felt the fire in his chest blaze higher, and the spirit of his wolf-brother enter him. Immediately, he was stronger, braver.

Pendragon by James Wilde

There is a secondary plot that takes place in Rome. Corvus knows his mother and brother are plotting something and he’s determined to find out what. While this may only be the sub-plot, it certainly packs some punches. There’s a few twists thrown into Corvus’ story that literally left me gaping, turning everything on its head and undermining everything you think you know.

The plot has a blend of action and romance; they’re fleeing for their lives, but the characters have the chance to connect, to dream and hope for a better future. There are a too many to properly get to know all of them, but you get the sense that they are all (well, the majority…) are good people, prepared to protect those more vulnerable, despite the danger they have to put themselves in.

There are moments that made me cringe due to the violence. There are moments that nearly made me cry – especially the manner of how certain things come about. I finished the book and slowly exhaled, trying to process everything I was feeling. It was an intense read; you’re drawn into this war and not everything makes it out alive.

If you like historical fiction and/or the Arthurian legend, then I can recommend this one. I’m looking forward to the second. But not if you’re looking for a light and quick read!

Grab your own copy!

Does this sound like your kind of book? Let me know in the comments below!

Also in the series:

Pendragon Review: Pin It
A Rambling Reviewer

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23 thoughts on “Pendragon Review | James Wilde

  1. Looks like one I would really enjoy 🙂 I love everything about King Arthur stories so even something that leads up to it is something I’m going to have to check out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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