The Skystone

The Skystone How do you find a new way to approach a story as familiar as any in the English language If you re Jack Whyte you begin your retelling of the Arthurian saga by taking one giant step backward to the l

How do you find a new way to approach a story as familiar as any in the English language If you re Jack Whyte, you begin your retelling of the Arthurian saga by taking one giant step backward to the latter days of the Roman Empire in Britain, sometime between the first breaching of Hadrian s Wall and the legendary days of King Arthur Publius Varrus is the last legionnairHow do you find a new way to approach a story as familiar as any in the English language If you re Jack Whyte, you begin your retelling of the Arthurian saga by taking one giant step backward to the latter days of the Roman Empire in Britain, sometime between the first breaching of Hadrian s Wall and the legendary days of King Arthur Publius Varrus is the last legionnaire in Britain, and The Skystone is in many ways his story He is a common man with aristocratic friends, and successful both as a soldier and an ironsmith As the Roman world slowly crumbles around them, and Publius becomes involved in a political and personal vendetta, he and his friends seek to establish a refuge, a valley where the old Roman virtues will be kept alive and the empire s many faults be avoided A finely crafted historical novel, The Skystone pays close attention to the details of everyday life in fourth century Britain As the first book in Whyte s Camulod Chronicles, it makes few allusions to the usual details of the Arthurian legends until Publius comes into contact with a sword, a stone, a lake, and a Celtic tribe who name themselves Pendragon Greg L Johnson

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The Skystone

  1. Jack Whyte is an author and writer born and raised in Scotland, but has been living in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada since 1967.Whyte s major work to date is the A Dream of Eagles series as it is titled in Canada, but known as The Camulod Chronicles in the United States and elsewhere This series of historical novels presents the tale of King Arthur set against the backdrop of Roman Britain This retelling of the popular legend eschews the use of magic as in T H White s The Sword in the Stone to explain Arthur s ascent to power and instead relies on the historical condition with some artistic license of post Roman Britain to support the theory that Arthur was meant to counter the anarchy left by the Roman departure from Britain in 410 AD and the subsequent colonization and invasion of Britain by various peoples from Northwestern Europe, including the Saxons, Jutes, Franks, and Angles Whyte incorporates both traditional Arthurian names, places and events albeit in gaelic or Latin form as well as the names of various historical figures that have been suggested as being the possible basis for the original King Arthur legend The tacit implication is that Whyte s version of history is the true story that has become distorted over time to become the legend and stories of magic that we know today.Jack Whyte served as the official bard of The Calgary Highlanders and performed several tracks of poetry and song on the 1990 recording by the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders entitled Eighty Years of Glory The Regimental Pipes, Drums and Bard of The Calgary Highlanders.

952 Reply to “The Skystone”

  1. 3.5 stars This is a hard one to rate because I DID like it Or rather, I like the story that this first book spent its dear sweet time establishing The story isn t exactly slow, dull, or boring it just reallllly isn t in a hurry to get anywhere I guess this series feels kind of like a cup of tea that apparently needs to steep The story is somewhat like Bernard Cornwell s The Winter King in that it s told through the POV of an older guy reminiscing about his life The main character here, Publius V [...]

  2. The Roman Empire is on the verge of total collapse For the thousands of Romans and other peoples spread out across the known world, the cornerstone of civilisation is crumbling And in the colony of Britannia, two ageing soldiers plan for the future in the event of the withdrawal of the legions and what they perceive as the end of the world.The Skystone is the first book in a series that s much historical fiction than fantasy, even though I found it on the fantasy shelves of a Washington booksto [...]

  3. This is one of the best historical fiction novels I ve ever read, and trust me, I ve read a lot I first heard about Jack Whyte s series through another favorite author of mine, Diana Gabaldon She spoke so highly of his works that I figured I d investigate further, and if not for her recommendation, I never would have given him a second thought There were several factors going against it a the premise is yet another take on Arthurian legend, which leads me to b the fact that I despise Arthurian l [...]

  4. The best description I can conjure of my experience with Jack Whyte s The Skystone is languid I don t want to describe his inaugural Camulod novel as boring or slow because neither is quite accurate and both carry far too many negative connotations, but Whyte does love to take his time And damn he ever take his time It took nine novels and thirteen years to complete his retelling of the Arthurian legend This series is not for the impatient Nor is the first book Whyte plods and winds his way thro [...]

  5. review for the entire Camulod ChroniclesIf you asked me what my favorite series was as a 6th grader my answer would have been the original Shannara trilogy The answer to the same question asked in 2005 would have undoubtedly been A Song of Ice and Fire notice how I was a fan BEFORE the TV show After reading over 900 books, hundreds of thousands of pages, and countless series spanning multiple genres, I can now say with certainty that Jack Whyte s Camulod Chronicles stands above all others as my [...]

  6. I can only rate this one a mediocre 3 star read The storytelling was very descriptive and meandering, and while I could settle down for the easy, slow pace, I wanted There were some pretty good action scenes where I felt like we were getting rolling and then it would slow down again to a descriptive, slow pace I don t generally mind a slower pace and felt like I could settle in and continue on with some extra patience on my part Then we would hit a sex scene and man did it feel self indulgent W [...]

  7. This is one of my favorite series however I wouldn t recommend it for everyone Most highly I recommend it to those who like an in depth and meandering plot A story that pulls you in and isn t in a rush to let you go THE SKYSTONE, like the rest of this series, takes it s time and this style isn t for everyone For instance, this series is a historical take on the legend of King Arthur and this book takes place three generations before Arthur is born Three And if you enjoy being completely submerge [...]

  8. I have had a fascination with the King Arthur legend ever since high school when I wrote my senior paper on it One reviewer complained that this story has been told a million times, why would we read yet another version I would argue that the the reason this story has been told over and over again is that we love the whole idea, that for one bright shining moment there was a real prince and princess who defeated the Saxon horde and granted peace and prosperity to their kingdom The reason that th [...]

  9. I always try and say something semi constructive in a review, but there really isn t anything I can say that hasn t already been said by fellow member, Tasha who read Skystone at the same time as me.So, I am going to take the cop out option and direct you there as I echo her sentiments review show and if you do not want to read her review, then here you go.The sex and the timing of the sex was a big joke, the flow was uninspiring, the writing for me was a trial and tribulation I gave up on this [...]

  10. I really did not care for the beginning section of the book It was boring Once it got past the initial stage, I really enjoyed it The story is told as the memories of Publius Varrus, a former Roman soldier of noble blood who is also a blacksmith Much of it concerns his relationship with Caius Brittanicus, an even higher noble who is his military commander for years and becomes a very close friend The title comes from a rock which fell to earth thirty years prior from which Varrus grandfather mad [...]

  11. I think I gave this three stars back when I first started on , and I remembered it fondly enough to go ahead and download it from audible, thinking it would be a nice way to pass the time on my long commute White s story is compelling, and he does many cool things with his Arthurian retelling I forgot how homophobic it is, however For some reason I could cope with homophobia better a decade or ago, but not today All the homophobia did, and it is an underlying current throughout these books, was [...]

  12. WOW This historical novel set in Britain towards the end of the Roman Empire is utterly FANTASTIC It is full of action, tough Roman soldiers, druidic and Christian priests, despicable villains, and a rousing plot Publius Varras is close friends with Caius Brittanicus his former commanding officer Varras is a former legionaire with a old war wound that left him with a limp In addition, Varras was once a Smith His grandfather created a special sword and a special dagger from the metal smelted from [...]

  13. This book is the first novel in the Camulod series, a nine book set that encompasses the Arthurian mythos from a historical perspective rather than a fantasy perspective I had been reluctant to begin, even though I had heard plenty of good things about the entire series This was mostly due to the fact that I have read numerous Arthurian accounts, many of them relatively recently, and was unsure of starting yet another one.So glad I did give it a try though Right from the beginning it reminded me [...]

  14. For the first half to two thirds of this book, I was treading water and anticipating writing withering comments and put downs about it when I came to this review, but, even though it is a remarkably sedate pace, it gradually grows on you a little Kind of like moss Or the gradual build up of dust.I suppose for the opening book in a series, the pace is bound to be slow and aim to set the scene, but the thing that most strikes you about this book is just how sedate and pedestrian the story goes as [...]

  15. The Skystone deposits the reader in pre Arthurian Great Britain smack dab during the time of the waning Roman occupation The account of Roman warfare, rule and order is impressive In addition, I felt like an observer during the descriptions of iron smelting and smith ing I liked this book for the historical angle and the story was good Its probably getting a bigger knock than it should with my giving it 3 stars because it is following a couple of books that were exceptional However, my best expl [...]

  16. I can t remember reading a entertaining and interesting work of historical fiction than The Camulod Chronicles The depiction of life in post Roman Britain is fascinating and frequently horrifying The chaos that resulted from the withdraw of the Roman legions from Britain as the Roman Empire collapsed was horrific The romanized Britons left behind were beset by invasions on their coasts of the barbaric tribes of Angles, Jutes, Danes and others The interior of the land became lawless and viscious [...]

  17. Before I tell you anything else, allow me to say that there are 9 books in this series and I read ALL 9 of them in just under one month This series brilliantly takes on the Arthur Legend via the end of Roman Empire s presence in Britain The story begins with the Roman soldiers and settlers who were essentially abandoned by the Empire and builds from there Again, this is another series that tends to appeal to men than women Jack Whyte, like Bernard Cornwell, is another one of those fiction write [...]

  18. An amazing take on the Arthurian legends Starting about 3 generations BEFORE Arthur the writer sets the stage for the downfall of the Roman Empire and the withdrawl from England of all support from Rome.The author does a wonderful job of stitching together various aspects of the Arthur legend s iconic pieces Excalibur, The Lady of the Lake, Uther Pendragon, Merlyn, etc in such a way as to make them utterly believable and almost scientific.You will not think about the legend of King Arthur the sa [...]

  19. Although this review is placed with The Skystone, It s really a review of all the Camulod Chronicles books, which I ve positively devoured.Whyte s portrayal of the possible history and politics of Britain after the withdrawal of the Romans is some of the best historical fiction I ve read Whyte manages to add fantastic character and plot development to something that all the history teachers I ve ever had made boring and dry If there were great historical fiction writers like Whyte teaching stud [...]

  20. I dithered around with this and almost didn t read it and it was a wonderful story, fast moving and exciting Several volumes to makes me a very happy bunny In fact, I liked it so much that I was surprised to see comments in reviews about this being a slow moving story I have come back to add this Isn t it fascinating how very differently people experience the same writer Is that down to what a person s expectations are especially in view of this being a retelling of a long told myth

  21. My likes of were varied Thoroughly enjoyed the characters and action segments but found several of the everyday events and locations over descriptive and tedious Still an above average tale and a worthy addition to anyone s Historical Fiction library Also loved the ending

  22. I ve always been a fan of historical fiction Authors like Wilbur Smith entertain while providing a historical narrative Jack Whyte is really good at this craft I read his William Wallace, Robert the Bruce series which was excellent This book tells the story of the end of the Roman rule in Britain.It is told quickly, yet descriptively A great read and for people that enjoy historic fiction, fantastic

  23. Plot 2 strong opening leads nowhere Characters 4 generic and interchangeable Accuracy 0 gets almost every fact wrong I thought this book started out well The gloomy, nostalgic tone and visceral writing style did a good job establishing a welcoming world The battle scenes were particularly vivid and confusing in a fog of war kind of way But after a while the overbearing narration starts to seem rather, well, overbearing Where hearing every event described as if it was the Most Significant Event E [...]

  24. I never realised that the US called the Dream of Eagles series the Camulod Chronicles Personally, I prefer Jack Whyte s original name for the series, which speaks volumes about what the book series is all about versus the impersonal Camulod Chronicles.That said, onto the review.Personally, I enjoyed every aspect of this book It is the first in the Dream of Eagles series, and is centred on the beginnings of the Arthurian legends However, it is important to note that this book does not start nor d [...]

  25. The Skystone 5 Stars, Buy it Kindle Version Re read review As a side note, my cat Merlyn is named from a character in the series Every bit as awesome as I remembered Rich and full of detail I absolutely love the two main male characters Caius and Plubius This book absolutely sucks you in, even on the second time reading it I m not into military history but the author must either really know his stuff or did an amazing amount of research This book is half historical fiction and half fantasy But i [...]

  26. I read about this series and was excited about reading it However, I was unable to finish the first book Very poorly written, flat characters, lack of mood parts of it could have been a couple GI s in 1944 Others could have taken place in a western frontier town I kept waiting for something to happen, but it didn t Too many irrelevant details that might have become relevant, or might not have.I ve been told that it picks up as you move through it, but there are too many other good books out ther [...]

  27. The characters are endearing, and the front story is interesting and engaging I enjoyed the read, but did not find it too terribly involved I enjoyed watching the story unfold, but I didn t utter, Oh, I didn t see that coming under my breath too many times.The engaging part of the book for me was the back story The story takes place during the 4th century, at the height of the Roman occupation of Britain This is a piece of history I m not terribly familiar with I feel like blushing at this poin [...]

  28. Another amazing series by Jack Whyte If you enjoy being immersed into the story, these tales will certainly provide you with the right tools.From The novels are a rendition of the Arthurian legend that attempt to propose a possible explanation for the foundation of Camulod an alternate spelling of Camelot , Arthur s heritage and the political situation surrounding his existence The setting series begins during the Roman departure from Britain and continues for 150 years ending during the settlem [...]

  29. A realistic historical fiction retelling of the Arthurian legend This is the first book of Jack Whyte s Camulod Chronicles This installment begins well before even the birth of Arthur and details the decay of the Roman empire in Britain and the formation of the colony determined to persevere through the dark times on the way.The book starts out a bit slow, detailing the main character s life in the Roman legions before he is mustered out via injury to return to his life as a blacksmith If you ca [...]

  30. In The Skystone Jack Whyte begins a very fascinating and innovative version of the Legend of King Arthur The book begins as the Romans are leaving England A small group of people see that with the withdrawal of the Romans England revert to its tribal roots and there will be a period of chaos In order to mitigate the results of the chaos they begin to build their own community based on roman discipline yet holding democratic ideas I found the good fascinating and enjoyable to read and recommend [...]

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