This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Shadow of the King by Helen Hollick

Shadow of the King

by Helen Hollick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1316135,528 (4.03)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Terrible. The writing meandered too much and honestly as it was the book could have easily been condensed into one or two novels instead. I had some high hopes for it at first, but it just dragged as the trilogy went on. Rather disappointed because I had been looking forward to reading this for quite a while. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
I am so completely and thoroughly obsessed with this author right now. As you all know I am an Arthurian Legend obsessed nut, so I was so thrilled to get this book for review. SOOO thrilled. 'Shadow of the King' is a the third book in the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, and the copy I have is the reprint of this trilogy.

This whole trilogy is just beautiful, amazing, wonderful, and I could go on and on but you get the idea. I love how the author turns King Arthur into a man and then the King of legend. It's amazing to see the transformation in the characters and to read a story that shows King Arthur as he truly might have been as opposed to the magically enhanced version of the story that is so popular (nothing wrong with those either). The amount of research Ms. Hollick must have done is astounding because the detail in this book is wonderful. I highly recommend this trilogy to any Arthurian Legend nuts or anyone who just likes a great read. ( )
  rosetyper9 | Nov 12, 2015 |
Finally finished the trilogy. I'm actually kinda sad. Not only has the trilogy finished, but Arthur the scummy, manwhoring, cruel, bullying immoral bastard also died. It's wrong that it makes me sad, but I couldn't help but be somewhat attached to him, faults and all. It helped that he was mostly faithful in this book - I say mostly, there was the one exception but apart from that he wasn't as repellent as normal. The book starts with him taking a foolhardy mission to Gaul and getting stuck there for a year while Gwenhwyfar and their daughter Archefeld are back at home. The war wages and Arthur gets word about Gwen being sick and not expecting to live and he's wrecked and heads off to the battle (not before sleeping with his taken whore again right enough - gotta love Arthur) where he is badly injured and his men, believing that he is dead leave him behind as they go home. Morgaine who followed Arthur is the one who convinces the men to leave him with her, but then taking advantage of his weakened state and mental frailty since the defeat she conspires to make him stay.

In England Gwen is distraught and with the death of their sons in the last book she finds Arthur's uncle trying to exert his influence on the country and one of his tasks is to try and force her into marriage to try and curb her potential influence over the country. She tries to resist, until finally settling on marrying Arthur's cousin, Bedwyr but even with the knowledge that she cares for him, she can't fully commit to marriage and chooses to join a Holy house instead until word reaches her that Arthur may indeed be alive. She goes to try and reclaim him but Arthur's changed and at first resists until he realises that he's been drugged by Morgaine. Finally breaking free of her influence he takes Mordreud and rejoins his wife where they fight to reclaim the country back.

I really loved this book - it spans around thirty years and we get to see the true bond between Arthur and Gwenhwyfar as she coaxes him back to greatness and fights alongside him, shoulder to shoulder and as his equal in every other battle. The fights are brutal and the description of what happened to poor Ider (Gwenhwyfar's most loyal guard) and Archefeld's husband and child are truly horrific. Even Winfred's end at the hand of her own son was brutal (although it was hard to be overly sympathetic) but it didn't feel gratuitous. It was horrific and difficult to read, but it fit in the context of the times.

I loved that like so much in this story that it harped back to earlier legends although without Merdraud being the villain, just a foolish boy who was ultimately looking for his place and never being able to find it. (Although, ngl - I was almost hoping for the Mordred pulling Guinevere off her throne and beating her scene from some legends just because I wanted to see this Arthur's reaction - although I can imagine. When Mordraud kidnapped Gwen, Arthur nearly killed him so there was little chance he would have let anything else pass.) He didn't bring about Arthur's end, but he did die beside him and I was pleased for him. Ultimately after his mistakes he found his peace at long last. I think the fact that Cedric (Arthur's son to Winifred) won in the end makes it hard to forget. Ultimately any story on Arthurian legend is going to end tragically but the fact that it ended with them defeated like that and Cedric taking over the throne was hard to read. At least Arthur lived to an old age, and he died in Gwenhwyfar's arms which seemed fitting, because it was always about them. Everything, everyone else came and went but in the end it was always about them.

*sigh* I'm going to miss this series and I'm looking forward to being able to read it again in the future. I imagine it will get many re-readings in time. ( )
  sunnycouger | Sep 20, 2013 |
3.5 stars

Arthur is planning to go fighting to Gaul for Rome yet all isn’t well in his kingdom. His uncle Aurelianus Ambrosius wishes to bring back old Roman ways and his son Cedric is starting to become a real problem.
Discovering treachery in Gaul, Arthur comes to realize he’s very close to defeat for the very first time on his career.

This is the final book of the trilogy and I’ve loved watching Arthur’s and Gwenhwyfar’s relationship through. It wasn’t easy marriage but I loved seeing how they managed to make it work despite everything.
Arthur is still a bastard at times but we see more humane and emotional side of him in this book. And I noticed there was no mentions of his women towards the end. I’d like to think he spent less time womanizing but I’m most likely just dreaming. He might be asshole most of the time but I still liked this realistic version of him.

It was great seeing Bedwyr and Ider again. Poor Bedwyr nearly got what he wanted…

The book started little slow and the parts during Arthur staying away from Britain dragged little bit but when he returned the book got lot better. Surprisingly I think the middle book was the best and for me didn’t have any dragging parts. ( )
  Elysianfield | Mar 31, 2013 |
Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner series is one of, if not the best, Arthurian re-tellings that I have read so far. She takes a well-known story and makes it fresh and exciting.

Shadow of the King is the third book in the Pendragon's Banner series following The Kingmaking and Pendragon's Banner.

Picking up where Pendragon's Banner left off, Arthur has brought peace to Britain but has been talked into going to Gaul to protect interests that are not his own. While there, word reaches him that Gwenhwyfar has become sick and he believes her to be dead. He falls into a deep depression and wonders why he ever let himself be talked into leaving his home. He throws himself into the battle wishing to die and all but succeeds. Morgaine, a healer once known as the Lady of the Lake and, unbeknownst to Arthur, the mother of one of his sons, offers to stay behind and bury him while the others try to outrun the approaching enemy. What Morgaine knows that the others don't is that Arthur is still alive. She nurses him back to health and, knowing he has nothing left to return to, he stays in Gaul living unhappily without his wife or kingdom.

Gwenhwyfar, who survived her illness, now lives a life almost a mirror image to Arthur's sad existence. When others convince her that she must re-marry to protect what is left of Arthur's kingdom and herself, she stalls and has trouble getting over the feeling that Arthur isn't dead. When a man tracks her down to tell her that Arthur lives, she leaves everything to find him. Unfortunately, when Gwenhwyfar finds him, he's not the Arthur she knew and he tells her that he won't be returning. Heartbroken, she decides she needs to live even if he will not and leaves. When circumstances convince Arthur he needs his life back, he finds Gwenhwyfar and they both begin to recover from the emotional wounds of their separation. They return home to find one more fight that needs to be fought. When his son by his ex-wife Winifred makes a move to take over his kingdom, Arthur overcomes his fear and leads his men to defeat, but not destroy, his son leaving the door open for a final battle that everyone knows will bring about an end to a world they all know.

I was truly sad to see this series end. While Arthur is tempered in book three, he's still that brooding man I fell for in the previous two books. Gwenhwyfar becomes the strong one and a great ruler in her own right. Hollick takes the tale of Arthur and moves it to epic proportions of a different nature. Yes, some of the same faces appear in this story as in others but it has a new feel to it and one I couldn't get enough of.

If you like historical fiction and especially Arthurian legend, Hollick's trilogy is not to be missed. ( )
  justabookreader | May 19, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Britain is at peace but Arthur, the Pendragon, is missing the clash of swords and the battlefield.

Sidonius lures the Pendragon to Brittany on a fool's errand, leaving his country in the inept hands of – Ambrosius.

Ambrosius craves the old, disciplined and organised ways of Rome. He cannot accept the new, young kingdom or the physical disability of his son – Cadwy.

Cadwy, desperate to find love and pride from his father, seeks solace with the Queen, Gwenhwyfar, but is to meet his death from – Cerdic.

Cerdic, the son of Winfred and Arthur, brought up to be vindictive and cruel, will stop at nothing to get the kingdom he believes is his; but there is another son – Medraut.

Medraut, born of the Pendragon's mistress, must choose which path of fate to follow. His mother's, his own, or the Pendragon's?

When Arthur is presumed dead the vultures descend, vying for the throne and he power it represents. But Gwenhwyfar refuses to accept he has gone. Her heart, her very soul, belongs to Arthur – the Pendragon, the King.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

While King Arthur battles the barbarians in France, back in Britain his wife, Queen Gwenhwyfar, has to defend the throne. Ambitious schemers have been emboldened by reports the king has been killed. By the author of Pendragon's Banner.

» see all 2 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

Helen Hollick is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.03)
1 1
3 2
4 7
4.5 1
5 5


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 133,535,863 books! | Top bar: Always visible