King Arthur wages war in a post-Roman Empire England *** 3 stars
By Gabrielle Pantera
Hollywood, CA (Gosh!TV) 9/23/2009 – “I came across the Hollow Hills and Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart and discovered through her author’s note that if Arthur had existed he was more likely to have lived in the post-Roman era the 5th or 6th Century,” says Pendragon’s Banner author Helen Hollick. “I read avidly anything I could lay my hands on that centred on Arthur as a British Warlord of the Dark Ages.”
“I’d never liked the traditional tales of Arthur…the Knights in Armour, the Round Table, the Holy Grail stories,” says Hollick. “For me they did not seem real. Place Arthur where he belonged, not in Medieval England, but in Dark Age Britain, and I was hooked. The trouble was, after doing a lot of research I found that beyond a very few novels nothing fitted my perspective of Arthur. So I decided to write the novel I wanted to read.”
Pendragon’s Banner presents Arthur Pendragon and his wife Gwenhwyfar in a less romantic story than we’ve heard before of Camelot. In Helen Hollick’s novel, wars and family infighting are the norm for Arthur and his wife. Arthur’s ex-wife is one of their biggest enemies. She’s determined to dethrone Arthur and replace him with her son Cedric. The priestess Morgause wants to become queen in the north.
“I researched the armour, clothing, weapons, fighting and battle methods,” says Hollick. “The way of living…cooking, buildings, transport, leisure, and researched in detail the type of horses used at that period. My love of horses has never ebbed. I visited as many locations as possible. I and my husband made a 300-mile round-trip just to see a river crossing where I wanted to set a scene.”
“I’m co-scriptwriter for the proposed UK movie 1066 (the Battle of Hastings), based around my two novels, A Hollow Crown and Harold the King,” say Hollick. “I’m looking forward to working with the UK producer and crew on the movie 1066. We hope to start shooting in mid 2010. I think the Pendragon Trilogy would make a superb TV drama series.”
Helen Hollick was born in London. She currently lives on the London/Essex border. The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy was initially published sixteen years ago in the UK. Hollick is currently writing her tenth novel. The three books in the The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy are The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner, Shadow of the King. The Saxon Series includes A Hollow Crown about Emma, Queen of Saxon England, and Harold the King, the story of the Battle of Hastings 1066. The third book in the series is planned for release in 2011. Her Sea Witch Series is a pirate-based adventure fantasy for adults in three volumes, Sea Witch, Pirate Code, and Bring It Close.
Pendragon’s Banner is a vivid portrayal of the fighting taking place. Hollik focuses on the intricacies of families, particularly Arthur and Gwenhwyfar’s sorrows and joys of parenthood. A great novel for those looking for a darker alternative history of Camelot.
Pendragon’s Banner: Book Two of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, by Helen Hollick
Trade Paperback, 496 pages, Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, (September 1, 2009), Language: English, ISBN: 9781402218897