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Enemy of God (1996)

by Bernard Cornwell, Bernard Cornwell

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2,126436,310 (4.14)104
With the Winter King, the first volume of his magnificent Warlord

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English (37)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Durfel's story continues with more fighting, a bit of romance and a tragic turn. Very enjoyable. ( )
  infjsarah | Jun 18, 2022 |
Enemy Of God is the follow-up to The Winter King. The story about Arthur, Merlin, Derfel, Guinevere and so on continues. And it's exciting, to say the least. The book is divided into four parts:

1) The Dark Road: that's the path towards Ynys Mon. Merlin is determined in his quest for the 13 Treasures Of Britain, the main prize being the Cauldron. For that they have to cross dangerous territory towards Ynys Mon, where the Irish warlord Diwrnach rules. After many dangers, the lot manage to capture the Cauldron and escape. But for this quest, Derfel had to choose between Merlin and Arthur's war against the Saxons. Also, in this part, thanks to Merlin's magic, Ceinwyn (sister of Cuneglas, king of Powys and pagan) chooses Derfel, with whom she'll have a few kids, though one daughter gets killed by one of Lancelot's accomplices (much later in the story).

2) The Broken War: Arthur fighting the Saxon brothers Aelle and Cerdic. Or at least trying to keep them at peace, so the Saxons do not conquer Britain. Lancelot wants power, so he makes a deal with Aelle. He gets baptized later by Sansum, who is plotting a lot behind the scenes, all for his own ego. He even marries Morgan (who was Merlin's assistant before Nimue took over). Morgan, as Nimue tells Derfel much later in the story, stole the Treasures, gave them to Sansum who gave them to Guinevere. She apparently wants Arthur to be king (he only wants a simple life). She also worships Isis and has rites in her own little temple. Meanwhile, Derfel and Ceinwyn are happy together, have a few kids even.

3) Camelot = while that name, historically, first was mentioned a few centuries after the setting Bernard Cornwell uses, he does use the elements of a round table and everyone, by orders of Arthur who wants national peace, swearing allegiance to each other, that they will not fight one another. Of course, it won't hold. Certainly not when Lancelot and Sansum are both power-hungry and Christianity is on the rise, almost extinguishing paganism.

4) The Mysteries Of Isis = about Guinevere's activities with regards to her worshipping of Isis. Rites and all, including copulation with Lancelot and others. Arthur knew nothing of this. At all. He's of course enraged when he finds out, esp. since he and Derfel were almost killed by an ambush (set up by King Mordred under the influence of bishop Sansum) to capture an old enemy and later get told that Mordred was killed and Guinevere taken hostage by Lancelot (though still at the Sea Palace). When Arthur, Derfel and co. try to rescue her, all comes out, incl. the Isis rites. And the thirteen treasures there.

In this book Mordred is crowned king, for real now, as he's much older and supposedly wiser. For Derfel and Arthur, it's seems he's not and Arthur takes matters into own hands. Life was also brutal back then. Not as much hygiene as today and when you did something wrong, your throat got sliced or your hand cut off (as Arthur did to one of his sons for not choosing his father's side). Lancelot dares not to fight Arthur, clears the way for Arthur's kingship (though without the title).

And like before there's an afterword by Bernard about the story, the setting, the historical elements and what he invented.

So, definitely recommended as you can feel for the characters, the story is very lively, well described. My sole criticism would be that it's sometimes hard to read on, but that could also have been a personal impression, influenced by exterior elements. Now on to the last part, Excalibur. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
This was great. Much better than the first book. ( )
  PhilOnTheHill | Sep 8, 2019 |
Good, a little less violent than book 1, and with even more compelling drama. ( )
  mdubois | Jan 31, 2017 |
I read the English language version of this, but weirdly Goodreads only seems to feature the German edition as a stand-alone title? ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
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Cornwell, Bernardmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Enemy For God is for Susan Watt, its onlie begetter
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Today I have been thinking about the dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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With the Winter King, the first volume of his magnificent Warlord

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'Tell me of Arthur,' says Igraine, 'Our last and best hope, our king who never was a king, the enemy of God and the scourge of the Saxons.'

Arthur has won his bloody victory at Lugg Vale and the kingdoms are finally united. Mordred's throne is safe, Guinevere is to bear Arthur a child, and Lancelot is to marry Ceinwyn. After one last battle agains the Saxons, Arthur will rule a peaceful, orderly land.

But, unlike Merlin, Arthur has forgotten the Gods, who thrive on chaos. Merlin, weaver of charms, knows that if the Gods are to be restored he must bring togetgher Britain's thirteen sacred objects. Derfel, the stalwart of Arthur's shield wall, is drawn into Merlin's intrigues and Arthur's plans are thrown into turmoil...
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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