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The balance of King Arthur's unified kingdom is threatened by Merlin's quest for the last of Britain's 13 Treasures; by the conflict between the ancient religion and the new Christianity; and by Britain's war with the Saxons. A master storyteller continues his retelling of the Arthurian legend. The balance of King Arthur's unified kingdom is threatened by Merlin's quest for the last of Britain's 13 Treasures; by the conflict between the ancient religion and the new Christianity; and by Britain's war with the Saxons. A master storyteller continues his retelling of the Arthurian legend.


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The balance of King Arthur's unified kingdom is threatened by Merlin's quest for the last of Britain's 13 Treasures; by the conflict between the ancient religion and the new Christianity; and by Britain's war with the Saxons. A master storyteller continues his retelling of the Arthurian legend. The balance of King Arthur's unified kingdom is threatened by Merlin's quest for the last of Britain's 13 Treasures; by the conflict between the ancient religion and the new Christianity; and by Britain's war with the Saxons. A master storyteller continues his retelling of the Arthurian legend.

30 review for Enemy of God

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petrik

    4.5/5 Stars Enemy of God, the second book in 'The Warlord Chronicles' trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, and the series so far, has truly been serendipity for me. As I mentioned in my previous review, I’ve never bothered to start Cornwell’s work, it brings me joy when someone, a friend (even better again when it’s from one of your favorite authors) recommended a book/series to you and you loved it. That’s truly how I feel about the trilogy so far, Cornwell again compelled me with his original and haunti 4.5/5 Stars Enemy of God, the second book in 'The Warlord Chronicles' trilogy by Bernard Cornwell, and the series so far, has truly been serendipity for me. As I mentioned in my previous review, I’ve never bothered to start Cornwell’s work, it brings me joy when someone, a friend (even better again when it’s from one of your favorite authors) recommended a book/series to you and you loved it. That’s truly how I feel about the trilogy so far, Cornwell again compelled me with his original and haunting retelling of an Arthurian saga full of heroism and tragedy. The now monk and Christian, Derfel Cadarn continues telling his tale to Igraine, his current Queen about his time as a Pagan, a time when he was called Lord Derfel Cadarn, Derfel the Mighty, Champion of Dumnonia and the beloved friend of Arthur. Derfel’s tale in Enemy of God begins in the year 495 AD, 15 years after the beginning of his tale in The Winter King and continues immediately from the aftermath of the last battle in the previous book. Most of the plot in the book focused on Merlin’s hunt for the Cauldron of Clyddno Eiddyn (or in modern names, the Holy Grail), driving back the Saxon, Camelot (Arthur’s glorious years of rule) and eventually, why Arthur earned the title ‘The Enemy of God, all told masterfully from Derfel’s 1st person omniscient-ish narrative. “To hear the tales told at night-time hearths you would think we had made a whole new country in Britain, named it Camelot and peopled it with shining heroes, but the truth is that we simply ruled Dumnonia as best we could, we ruled it justly and we never called it Camelot” A lot of heavy realistic topics were brought upon in this book. One of the most memorable moments being the complication to choose friendships or to uphold law and oath in the name of peace, even when you know the decision is wrong. On instincts, I’ll always choose friendship but what if, by choosing to save that friend, you risk killing millions of people? Will you still go through with it? Or will you follow the law, saving millions of people’s lives that you don’t know in exchange of your loyal friend’s existence? “Arthur did try to change the world and his instrument was love” That topic is very well written but imo, the best part of the book lies on another realistic topic and definitely the factor with the strongest emphasis, religion, specifically on Christianity, Pagan and the mystery of the Goddess, Isis. “It's only when you're lost and frightened and in the dark that you call on the Gods, and they like us to call on them. It makes them feel powerful, and that's why they like us to live in chaos.” The entire discussion and conflict on religions are very thought provoking. It made me think a lot on faith and afterlife, which honestly, unsettled me a bit. This goes to show just how well written this book is. There is a sense of hope, glory, friendship, and loss that were told. While the first half is still slow paced, the pacing is much more balanced now compared to the previous book where the first half was so dense with descriptions and minim dialogues. The second half has faster paced, the last two chapters (more or less the last 60 pages of the book), in particular, were damn thrilling despite having only a small amount of actions. I honestly don’t know how I can tell you just how well written this book is. It’s simple, beautiful, haunting, and vivid. Although every chapter is still very long, with 13 chapters out of 470 pages, it never felt like a slog going through it because Cornwell’s prose worked so well for me. The only minor con I had with the book is that I find myself a bit disappointed by the lack of battle scenes in it. It’s the second book already and I still haven’t seen any of Cornwell’s supposedly memorable battle scenes. This doesn’t mean the book isn’t thrilling or filled with suspense at all, the second half of the book was so addictive and thrilling despite having minimum actions as I mentioned. However, I came into this series expecting to see a lot of war scenes but haven’t seen any yet aside from the climax in book 1, which was still too short for my taste. Do note that this is just a minor con due to my expectation, for the quality of the storytelling solely never fails to captivate me. Enemy of God is a fantastic sequel to bridge the gap towards the final book in the trilogy, 'Excalibur.' I love the previous book, love this one even more and I hope the last one will continue the same tradition. I totally recommend this for any lover of historical fiction and Arthurian saga. You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Religion The second book of the Warlord Chronicles, Enemy of God takes this epic Arthurian story up another notch. The political manoeuvrings, personal quests, mix of diverse personalities, and the unpredictable relationships between male and female characters, makes for captivating reading. The compelling feature of this novel is the extent and depth of how characters are developed and how the plot is full of unique twists and surprises. Within this environment of hidden machinations and power st Religion The second book of the Warlord Chronicles, Enemy of God takes this epic Arthurian story up another notch. The political manoeuvrings, personal quests, mix of diverse personalities, and the unpredictable relationships between male and female characters, makes for captivating reading. The compelling feature of this novel is the extent and depth of how characters are developed and how the plot is full of unique twists and surprises. Within this environment of hidden machinations and power struggles, Arthur is winning battles he feels he needs to fight and striking alliances where he can. His vision is a unified Britain that can defend against the Saxon invasions. While his war strategy can be clever, personal relationships often deteriorate which harbour resentment and retaliation. Derfel narrates the story from a first-person perspective and it was very clever to create him as a new character without preconceived baggage (within the context of the traditional Arthur story). Derfel is highly trusted by Arthur, not only for his loyalty but his ability to deliver on Arthur’s plans. He finds himself appointed Lord Derfel, Dumnonia’s Champion and betrothed to Guinevere’s sister Gwenhwyvach, although he is oath-bound to Ceinwyn. Derfel finds himself responsible for assisting in the upbringing of Mordred who is becoming a nasty, evil and unforgiving heir to the throne. The story arcs around Arthur, Guinevere, Derfel, Lancelot, Ceinwyn, Galahad, and Merlin are superb and weave together with such masterful storytelling. The love triangles are enthralling, where promises and oaths are fickle and risk of conflict threatens with destructive consequences. The religious struggle between the old pagan gods and the growing influence of Christianity is very intriguing. Merlin as a Druid is on a quest to find the Cauldron of Clyddno Eiddyn. “The Cauldron was the greatest Treasure of Britain, the magical gift of the old gods, and it had been lost for centuries. Merlin’s life was dedicated to retrieving those Treasures, and the Cauldron was his greatest prize. If he could find the Cauldron, he told us, he could restore Britain to her rightful Gods.” Derfel finds himself torn between both beliefs and prays at pagan shrines while later becoming a Christian monk. Arthur is also someone who tries to play a delicate noncommittal game between the old and new gods. Unfortunately, the Christians intent on seizing and eradicating false gods see him as the enemy of their god. The writing style is engaging and the story-telling is exceptional, with a magnetism that prevents you from setting the book down. I normally expect the middle book in a trilogy to slacken from the first book and allow a build-up to the last but this one is better and I’m excited to see what awaits in the third. I highly recommend this book and couldn’t contemplate giving anything less than 5 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    Book 1: 3* Book 2: 3.5*'s This darker and less romanticized view of Camelot picked up speed in book two. I've grown to enjoy more and more this version of the characters and especially the view of Lancelot and Guinevere who definitely don't come out smelling like roses. The clash between the Britons and the Saxons also escalates as does the pagans vs the Christians which in some ways the story starts to form if not a prelude at least a precursor to the Saxon Stories series. This series is being don Book 1: 3* Book 2: 3.5*'s This darker and less romanticized view of Camelot picked up speed in book two. I've grown to enjoy more and more this version of the characters and especially the view of Lancelot and Guinevere who definitely don't come out smelling like roses. The clash between the Britons and the Saxons also escalates as does the pagans vs the Christians which in some ways the story starts to form if not a prelude at least a precursor to the Saxon Stories series. This series is being done on audio and I've enjoyed the narrator and look forward to the conclusion in book 3.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sud666

    The second novel in Bernard Cornwell's "historical fiction" series about the Arthurian legend continues. While it was just as entertaining as the first novel, I had to deduct a point. Why? Arthur is an absolute idiot. Consistently making the wrong choices, supporting the wrong people, and honoring the wrong oaths. While he is quite good at swinging a sword and riding a horse, he is very dense. It could be said, all of it from the betrayal by Lancelot, the Christian uprising, Bishop Sansum's maneu The second novel in Bernard Cornwell's "historical fiction" series about the Arthurian legend continues. While it was just as entertaining as the first novel, I had to deduct a point. Why? Arthur is an absolute idiot. Consistently making the wrong choices, supporting the wrong people, and honoring the wrong oaths. While he is quite good at swinging a sword and riding a horse, he is very dense. It could be said, all of it from the betrayal by Lancelot, the Christian uprising, Bishop Sansum's maneuverings, the Saxon situation- none of it rebounds to Arthur's advantage. He's so dense he makes Uthred of Bebbanburg seem like a Rhodes Scholar. But, I still enjoyed the setting of a 450's AD England facing the Saxon invasions. The more realistic setting takes away the magical aspects of the tale and shows how it was mostly "spells" that focused on the credulity of the superstitious people. Both Derfel and Arthur were directly responsible for the bad outcomes and thus it is hard to feel bad for them. An enjoyable and fun read and a good retelling of the Arthurian myth is a realistic 450's setting. Consider this a historical fiction fantasy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

    Bernard Cornwell does not disappoint and once again I enjoyed his book immensely. The way he connects myth and fiction in this book is astonishing. I applaud his singular storytelling skills and I cannot wait for next (and unfortunately final) book in this series!

  6. 4 out of 5

    William Gwynne

    Just placed my expanded review of this wonderful nook onto BookNest.eu. http://booknest.eu/component/k2/william/1594-enemy-of-god-the-warlord-chronicles-2-by-bernard-cornwell “So many dead. Their footsteps will not stir a rush on the floor nor frighten the mice that live in the monastery’s thatched roof.” Enemy of God is the second book of The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It continues the unique historical perspective about the origins of Arthur and his band of loyal warriors. “For t Just placed my expanded review of this wonderful nook onto BookNest.eu. http://booknest.eu/component/k2/william/1594-enemy-of-god-the-warlord-chronicles-2-by-bernard-cornwell “So many dead. Their footsteps will not stir a rush on the floor nor frighten the mice that live in the monastery’s thatched roof.” Enemy of God is the second book of The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. It continues the unique historical perspective about the origins of Arthur and his band of loyal warriors. “For this is his tale, the tale of our dear warlord, our law-giver, our Arthur.” Enemy of God reached the lofty heights of its predecessor and continued to grow past it. This wonderful, thrilling, heart-wrenching, tense novel contains all of the brilliant aspects of the first in the series, The Winter King. It continued to captivate me with many of the same brilliant characters, and a few more unique cast members who fitted into the story excellently. “Fate is inexorable” Enemy of God is told from the perspective of Derfel Cadarn, the same as the first in the trilogy. He is retelling the story of his friend Arthur, who he accompanied through all his struggles and shared his successes and failures with. Derfel has cemented his position as one of my favourite characters of all time with his loyalty, daring, determination and kindness. Cornwell continues to write with that magical prose of his which guides my eyes from page to page as I accompany the characters of this book through their adventures. Each scene is so vivid and fluid and there was not one dull moment, for each page was consumed by an interesting event, description or character. Many books of this length contain pages or even chapters that disengage me from the story as they can be boring, but this book is an exception. The plot continued to develop brilliantly and had me laughing out loud once again. I deeply despise certain characters and cherish others, just what I want from any book I read. The novel was filled with plot twists, extremely satisfying moments and times of despair. I was weeping at one point of the book which I am sure any former reader of the series will remember with the same sorrow I do. (view spoiler)[ I HATE LANCELOT (hide spoiler)] “It’s only when you’re lost and frightened and in the dark that you call on the Gods, and they like us to call on them. It makes them feel powerful, and that’s why they like us to live in chaos” Enemy of God was completely and utterly a five star rating in my mind and the trilogy is rapidly becoming one of my favourite trilogies of all time whilst already claiming first spot for books which have Arthur as a main concept. I will immediately seize the last of the trilogy, Excalibur, in my hands and devour it in whatever free time I can obtain. I want to reach the conclusion of the series and discover what shall happen to these superb characters, but I am also dreading what is to come, I fear there will be many more tears. I strongly advise any lovers of historical fiction, or the stories of Arthur to read this, you will not be disappointed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Back-2-back with a series which Ive not done in eons! We pick up directly from the end of the prior book, the aftermath of the battle of Lugg Vale. Derfel is again front & centre retelling his story as an old monk. Merlin is at the centre of the politics, others think they control the kingdom but in reality it is the druid & his accolade Nimue that pull the strings in the background & it’s a grand characterisation of the mystical pair. We start with an adventure, as is oft the way with second boo Back-2-back with a series which Ive not done in eons! We pick up directly from the end of the prior book, the aftermath of the battle of Lugg Vale. Derfel is again front & centre retelling his story as an old monk. Merlin is at the centre of the politics, others think they control the kingdom but in reality it is the druid & his accolade Nimue that pull the strings in the background & it’s a grand characterisation of the mystical pair. We start with an adventure, as is oft the way with second books in fantasy trilogies (not that I would say this series is a fantasy style trilogy for the record) I have found, which involves the central character Derfel & Merlin, (along with others) where the recovery of the ancient artefacts of the gods are front & centre of the story...... of course there’s a few band guys in the way! No fear, Arthur is also involved as are the rest of the gang & the Sais (Saxons); battles are fought, politics are schemed, religions struggle for supremacy, new enemies are found & old ones continue to fester...... Britain is still a divisive place with Derfel at the centre of the action. We have a coming of age in this middle book as well, where Mordred becomes King of the Britons, a time of change looms after years of peace....... AND that is a whole other story..... Again, I can’t fault it, really enjoying the storyline which is more than feasible for the period, the politicking is spot-on for me as is the battle of the religions which comes more to the fore in this episode. 5* - Two on the bounce now!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    8/10 A slight improvement on the previous novel but definitely a feel of a second book in a trilogy. I enjoyed the first book but it took some time to get into and there were a hell of a lot of names to take on board (only for the majority of them to die or no longer be involved after 50 pages). This one was a little slow at the start and it took me a while to get back into the flow of the style and era but when things got going then the pages flew by. Derfel and Arthur are two very well rounded c 8/10 A slight improvement on the previous novel but definitely a feel of a second book in a trilogy. I enjoyed the first book but it took some time to get into and there were a hell of a lot of names to take on board (only for the majority of them to die or no longer be involved after 50 pages). This one was a little slow at the start and it took me a while to get back into the flow of the style and era but when things got going then the pages flew by. Derfel and Arthur are two very well rounded characters, add into that some of the side characters (if you can call Merlin a side character) the ensemble make for a great read. Lancelot is a dick but to stir those emotions means he's written well. Other than the slow start one thing that lowered the overall rating was the weak ending. It's a bridge from this novel to the next but the climax sort of felt like a wet fart. No point in jumping the gun as there is one more novel to go so let's hope for a great finale and move past how it ended. Overall a very good read but a few minor flaws making it lose a little rating overall but looking forward to the finale and how things come together. If you like this try: "Argincourt" by Bernard Cornwell

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    So,an escape from more formal literary pursuits.Cornwell is a consummate storyteller.He distills history,religion,myth,legend,magic and fable.This predates Game of Thrones but is a marvellous re imagining of the Arthurian legends.This is a story of Britain with religious persecution and invasion and immigration and clashes of Kings and clans.A version of the Arthurian saga was filmed in Ireland in or about 1980 by John Boorman.Two of my classmates had small parts so from then the legends always So,an escape from more formal literary pursuits.Cornwell is a consummate storyteller.He distills history,religion,myth,legend,magic and fable.This predates Game of Thrones but is a marvellous re imagining of the Arthurian legends.This is a story of Britain with religious persecution and invasion and immigration and clashes of Kings and clans.A version of the Arthurian saga was filmed in Ireland in or about 1980 by John Boorman.Two of my classmates had small parts so from then the legends always interested me.The movie was called Excalibur and while modern technology and special effects were not as advanced then I think it nonetheless still endures.Tolkien decrees that the architecture of the fantasy genre should be set out in a trilogy so I am moving on to the final book.Pure escapism but in parts a little tedious and repetitive and too many unpronounceable Welsh names.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Number two in the Warlord series. This is the warts and all story of Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot and the rest of the round table knights. There is nothing cosy and romantic about this tale. Lancelot is a narcissistic pig. Guinevere has delusions of grandeur and Arthur wants nothing more than to be a farmer. The usual suspects, greed, power, sex, revenge and religion, keep getting in the way of Arthur's aspirations of becoming a farmer. The game's afoot so unleash the dogs of war. And nobody does Number two in the Warlord series. This is the warts and all story of Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot and the rest of the round table knights. There is nothing cosy and romantic about this tale. Lancelot is a narcissistic pig. Guinevere has delusions of grandeur and Arthur wants nothing more than to be a farmer. The usual suspects, greed, power, sex, revenge and religion, keep getting in the way of Arthur's aspirations of becoming a farmer. The game's afoot so unleash the dogs of war. And nobody does this better than Arthur. Bernard Cornwell never fails to entertain. He takes a thread of known history and a bit of mythology, adds some literary licence and creates a book you can't put down. If you are looking for characters that will elicit emotional responses from you, you will find them all here. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ChopinFC

    5 Stars (Incredible) Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2) is an incredible continuation into the life and story of Britons and their most heroic leader Arthur, and it is an incredible effort by Sir Cornwell! There's really not much critique to say about a book that is so polished, so well written, so entertaining with delightful and memorable characters! In this latest effort, Cornwell improves in nearly every single aspect of the storytelling! The characters are more aptly developed, the s 5 Stars (Incredible) Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2) is an incredible continuation into the life and story of Britons and their most heroic leader Arthur, and it is an incredible effort by Sir Cornwell! There's really not much critique to say about a book that is so polished, so well written, so entertaining with delightful and memorable characters! In this latest effort, Cornwell improves in nearly every single aspect of the storytelling! The characters are more aptly developed, the stage where massive battles take place are more impressive, the magic imbued into the story is more prevalent and effective! Yet, still the shining beacon of the narrative are its unforgettable characters! Arthur vs Saxons Narrated by Arthur's friend Derfel Cadarn (a former slave raised by the wizard Merlin), this volume tells of Arthur's struggles to bind the warlords together and strengthen the throne that he holds for the beastly Mordred, who is to supposed to inherit the throne of Britain. Yet not all goes as plan, as Mordred is growing up to be a sickly evil child who likes to torture animals, and rape other girls. The story unfolds at a rapid pace, and many plots and twists will see Arthur and Derfel do all they can to unite Britain and coalesce all the war factions together- as they will ultimately have to face the Saxons in mortal battle. Realistically gory battles and doomed romantic exploits flavor the narrative, while the strong characterizations bring the men and women behind the legends to vivid life. Despite the gore and the ferocity of the battles, there's a nice balance with a lover affair between our main protagonist and narrator Derfel for the beautiful fair-haired Ceinwyn. The tale is stuff of the legends, and I can't speak more highly of it. The way Cornwell incorporates their love affair in the story is so brilliant, that you have to read it to experience in full delight! Perhaps the most controversial and my favorite character is Merlin the master druid, or magician. God I love the way Cornwell writes Merlin!! He's is witty, sarcastic, omnipotent and ambitious as hell. Yet, in his true form, Merlin is a true Briton who will do anything to 'restore' the old Gods to Britain and help Arthur and Derfel in their conquest. In the process Merlin placed further strains on the fragile peace, when he set out on a quest to retrieve the last of Britain's 13 treasures; the fabled Cauldron. What can I say about a near perfect historical-fiction series? It's mesmerizing. It's captivating and filled with unforgettable characters and battles. The fable continues and on to the final exciting chapter 'Excalibur'! 5 Stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    After reading this, I have decided I don’t want to read the third book in the series because if I do, it will end. But no seriously, I will read it but I won’t be happy to finish it; it’s just one of those epic series’ that you come across every so often that is that good you don’t want to read it because when you have you can never read it again for a first time. This novel is fantastic, the character development strong and the plot action packed. It’s just great! For fans of Arthur and his knig After reading this, I have decided I don’t want to read the third book in the series because if I do, it will end. But no seriously, I will read it but I won’t be happy to finish it; it’s just one of those epic series’ that you come across every so often that is that good you don’t want to read it because when you have you can never read it again for a first time. This novel is fantastic, the character development strong and the plot action packed. It’s just great! For fans of Arthur and his knights, this is a unique take upon the tale that stands out from the crowd.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Enemy of God is a solid 4 stars, maybe even 5 stars. I took a little away because I wanted Arthur to be a little more cunning and realistic. He comes across too naïve in areas where he should not be. The portrayal of Christianity and how it spreads conflict is a major theme and isn’t pretty. But it is probably realistic. While this Arthurian tale is not like any others, if you are looking for a “Grail” quest, you will find it here…kind of. This part of the tale is told in the warm summertim Enemy of God is a solid 4 stars, maybe even 5 stars. I took a little away because I wanted Arthur to be a little more cunning and realistic. He comes across too naïve in areas where he should not be. The portrayal of Christianity and how it spreads conflict is a major theme and isn’t pretty. But it is probably realistic. While this Arthurian tale is not like any others, if you are looking for a “Grail” quest, you will find it here…kind of. This part of the tale is told in the warm summertime, when Arthur is at his greatest power. Yet the politics and betrayals abound. Cornwell covers a lot of ground in this second part of the trilogy. The battles and adventures are very good. The characters become people you know and you care for. Or hate them as the case may be. Read it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wick Welker

    Masterful characterization and brilliant thematic craftsmanship. This second installment in Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy stands up to the brilliance of the first book, The Winter King. Cornwell succeeds in advancing the plot while providing well conceived characterizations, relationships and very strong themes. These books are highly thematic and the characters weave seamlessly into these themes. The hubris and folly of idealism is probably one of the strongest themes presented. This theme is pers Masterful characterization and brilliant thematic craftsmanship. This second installment in Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy stands up to the brilliance of the first book, The Winter King. Cornwell succeeds in advancing the plot while providing well conceived characterizations, relationships and very strong themes. These books are highly thematic and the characters weave seamlessly into these themes. The hubris and folly of idealism is probably one of the strongest themes presented. This theme is personified by Arthur himself and is illuminated by the first person story telling of Derfel. As Arthur continues to unite Britain, it boils with its own identity crisis as Christianity makes even more inroads into paganism. The order that Arthur creates through his foolish idealism seems to exacerbate the chaos of the land and its people. Arthur rules without ruling, forces peace when peace is not wanted and foolishly yearns for consensus when the country becomes more and more fractured, both culturally and theologically. The tension and drama that springs from the give and take of order and chaos is incredibly compelling. Yet, it appears that the idealism of Arthur does indeed have value because, although quite misguided, his naive do-goodery serves as an incidental foil to the unrelenting treachery that abounds from enemies both within and the Saxons without. The characterization of not only Arthuer, but Derfel, Merlin, Ceinwyn, Nimue, Lancelot and others is an absolute triumph. All character actions and motivations are set pieces within the larger themes. These characters have depth, believable motivations and behave as real people with conflict, self-interest, guilt and shame. In a world that is brutal toward women, Ceinwyn is a fantastically written heroin. She rejects the patriarchy that is destroying the land and chooses true romance over imposed loyalty. She is brave, kind and trustworthy. Nimue continues to be one of my favorite female characters in fantasy. Constantly subverting the power structures of Britan, she is an enigma and the spiritual torchbearer of the mysticism of Merlin. The power structures in these books is fascinating. While Arthur tries to steer the land toward peace and and idealistic brotherhood of the round table (the depiction of which is horribly realistic and hilarious), the forces of the Christians and the Druids provide a backdrop of deeper power structures that are fighting a cultural war. It is quite clear that religion here serves as yet another means by which men gain control and how theocracy influences government. Christianity here is merely a new power upstart, trying to wrestle control from the waning druids. The dynamic of this battle is ever present. In this way, nascent Britain itself becomes its own character with progression and development defined by the men and women that compete for dominance of ideas and power. The world building is visceral, the writing is impeccable. Plot twists, tragedy and triumphs make this an incredibly compelling read. Despite some poor pacing around the 3/4 mark, I immensely enjoyed Enemy of God and highly recommend it to fantasy fans.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Quinn

    Cornwell's splendid trilogy of King Arthur continues in the second novel, "Enemy of God" - and it's altogether a darker, dirtier, more brutal world than the Arthur myths most of us remember growing up, with new twists to many familiar characters. Lancelot in this setting is a preening poser, Merlin is a teasing prankster as well as a powerful wizard, and the seasoned Derfel is Arthur's greatest warrior. Arthur now rules as regent for the child king Mordred, his enemies subdued - but chaos is alw Cornwell's splendid trilogy of King Arthur continues in the second novel, "Enemy of God" - and it's altogether a darker, dirtier, more brutal world than the Arthur myths most of us remember growing up, with new twists to many familiar characters. Lancelot in this setting is a preening poser, Merlin is a teasing prankster as well as a powerful wizard, and the seasoned Derfel is Arthur's greatest warrior. Arthur now rules as regent for the child king Mordred, his enemies subdued - but chaos is always hovering in the chaotic fifth century. Derfel, his right-hand man, has problems of his own: he is hopelessly in love with Ceinwyn, the princess Arthur spurned for Guinevere, and who is now promised to the detestable Lancelot. Derfel makes a desperate bid to claim Ceinwyn, but finds himself on a journey with the mysterious Merlin to find an artifact Merlin claims will bring the old gods back to Britain. Arthur believes none of this mystical nonsense, and is up to his elbows just trying to keep the Saxons from invading Britain. Between quests, epic battles, and internal strife, Arthur is blind to the danger that may destroy him from within - the passion growing between his beloved Guinevere and Lancelot. Derfel will suffer his own heartbreak in the violence coming from Guinevere's betrayal, and shocking bloodshed ensues. Merlin is a ray of acerbic humor, stealing every scene he appears in, and his witchy apprentice Nimue is ever more disquieting. Many trilogies have problems with Book 2, but not this one.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Per my review of WINTER KING, this is a different take on Arthur, focusing on the legend and the times. And those times were when Briton was desperately fighting itself and trying to hold back the Saxon invasions. The ruins of Roman occupation still remain. In the second novel there is a great deal of more focus in how the Saxon problem will be solved. Lancelot shows his true colors to other people. Guinievere betrays Arthur. Merlin is questing for relics that will bring the Old Gods to Britain, Per my review of WINTER KING, this is a different take on Arthur, focusing on the legend and the times. And those times were when Briton was desperately fighting itself and trying to hold back the Saxon invasions. The ruins of Roman occupation still remain. In the second novel there is a great deal of more focus in how the Saxon problem will be solved. Lancelot shows his true colors to other people. Guinievere betrays Arthur. Merlin is questing for relics that will bring the Old Gods to Britain, push out the Christian God and help Britain against the many invaders. The main character, Derfel, achieves more status, fights in more battles, discovers his father is a Saxon leader and creates a rift with his childhood female friend, Merlin's apprentice. Expect the gritty shield walls brought to life with Cornwell's amazing literary skills. Evocative, bittersweet and even thought provoking. Enjoy! STORY/PLOTTING: B plus to A minus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: A minus ACTION SCENES: B plus to A minus; HISTORICAL FOCUSES/ACCURACY: B plus to A minus; OVERALL GRADE: B plus to A minus; WHEN READ: 2005 (read three times) (revised review 1/30/13)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    This was a reread for me after having read it first over a decade ago. Wow time flies. I couldn't really remember the book and as I read it, it didn't look familiar. only had the occasional de ja vu. I am wondering if that is because it can be a little boring at times and therefore it never stuck in my head all those years ago. A 4 star rating for it. I dropped a star because while at times it was a 5 star read, there were other times when Bernard Cornwell needed to stop over writing and get on This was a reread for me after having read it first over a decade ago. Wow time flies. I couldn't really remember the book and as I read it, it didn't look familiar. only had the occasional de ja vu. I am wondering if that is because it can be a little boring at times and therefore it never stuck in my head all those years ago. A 4 star rating for it. I dropped a star because while at times it was a 5 star read, there were other times when Bernard Cornwell needed to stop over writing and get on with it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Want an Arthurian legend with grit? With raw human emotion? With unexpected betrayals and intrigue? Here you go. This is the second in the Arthur/Warlord trilogy and keeps the same momentum started in The Winter King. It could almost have ended here. You could stop after this and have a satisfying saga. But who would want to? There's still one book to go. Want an Arthurian legend with grit? With raw human emotion? With unexpected betrayals and intrigue? Here you go. This is the second in the Arthur/Warlord trilogy and keeps the same momentum started in The Winter King. It could almost have ended here. You could stop after this and have a satisfying saga. But who would want to? There's still one book to go.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Allow me to open this review by apologizing to my friends on Goodreads for spamming so many reviews of Cornwell stuff lately, I don't know what my problem is. I hate to be that guy but the man's stuff is entertaining. Anyways...this book was a very pleasant departure for Cornwell. It's less about stuff like gathering levies, shield walls, and efficient military maneuvering and more about the struggle between paganism and Christianity, the relationships of the characters in the book and how they Allow me to open this review by apologizing to my friends on Goodreads for spamming so many reviews of Cornwell stuff lately, I don't know what my problem is. I hate to be that guy but the man's stuff is entertaining. Anyways...this book was a very pleasant departure for Cornwell. It's less about stuff like gathering levies, shield walls, and efficient military maneuvering and more about the struggle between paganism and Christianity, the relationships of the characters in the book and how they effect Cornwell's Britain and the author's vision of the story of Arthur. And I really love Arthur in these books. You can really tell that Cornwell did his best to imbue him with that magic that the charismatic leaders and heroes of real life are possessed with. People in these books are being overwhelmingly deceitful and self-possessed and sadistic and then there's this kind of odd-looking guy on a huge horse with this gentle and warm demeanor, a rock-solid and utterly benevolent (and pagan!) moral code who also has an indisputable gift at killing people. Any human being with that kind of contradiction in their nature is bound to be a complex person and Arthur is undoubtedly that. One second he's a caring and kind husband and father and then he's completely insane with anger and laying about with Caledfwlch (Excalibur's Welsh and way cooler name). He's kind of like that friend some people have who everyone likes a lot and is totally friendly but is prone to intense rages brought about by specific stimuli that make the room unbearably awkward. The point I'm trying to make with this is that you can see Arthur simultaneously occupying the positions of human being and living legend and it's understandably weird and fascinating. The rest of the characters, although not as particularly shiny as Arthur all have their own unique personalities and motives, something I always look for and like. That potent mix of pagan magic, Christian ritual, the intense cast of characters and pervasively creepy, cold and dark setting all really made me love this book. The climax was particularly intense and in a way even moreso than some of the climactic battles in other Cornwell books. Just the horrible suspense of the webs of deceit spun in the book and the fate of Dumnonia hanging in those webs...gripping stuff. I almost don't want to finish the series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Mary

    I loved this series and what a brilliant telling of the King Arthur story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    I liked this volume a bit more than the last one, although Cornwell continues to make questionable changes to the Arthur story that have me scratching my head. I understand that this is a "what if" story, but changing things to make them less dramatic seems like an odd choice for a writer. I also wish that Arthur was the main character rather than this series basically being Derfel's story with all of the more interesting characters playing second fiddle. I really did enjoy his take on Tristan a I liked this volume a bit more than the last one, although Cornwell continues to make questionable changes to the Arthur story that have me scratching my head. I understand that this is a "what if" story, but changing things to make them less dramatic seems like an odd choice for a writer. I also wish that Arthur was the main character rather than this series basically being Derfel's story with all of the more interesting characters playing second fiddle. I really did enjoy his take on Tristan and Isolde, however. That was easily my favorite part of this volume.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm fluctuating between a solid 4 and a 4.5 stars with this one. It was better than The Winter King for the simple fact that you didn't have to force yourself through 100 pages of dense world-building at the beginning. But at the same time, it was just that tiny bit shy of a 5 star read. (I'm hoping that Excalibur is going to be worthy of a 5 star rating, though. *crosses fingers*) Cornwell picks right up where he left off previously in The Winter King - perhaps a day or so after the battle of Lu I'm fluctuating between a solid 4 and a 4.5 stars with this one. It was better than The Winter King for the simple fact that you didn't have to force yourself through 100 pages of dense world-building at the beginning. But at the same time, it was just that tiny bit shy of a 5 star read. (I'm hoping that Excalibur is going to be worthy of a 5 star rating, though. *crosses fingers*) Cornwell picks right up where he left off previously in The Winter King - perhaps a day or so after the battle of Lugg Vale. From there, the novel's events take place over a span of around 15 years or so, although the time-jump is done quite quickly around the middle of the novel, with brief explanations of the more important events that occurred. Not only does Derfel continue to cement his position as one of Arthur's most respected warriors, but he also gains a family, one which provides peaceful interludes every now and then between battles and 5th century English politics. Cornwell also takes the opportunity to include his own version of some of the more famous Arthurian myths. Not only do we get the Guinevere-Lancelot revelation at the end of the novel, but the Tristan-Iseult tragedy plays out as well. I must say though, it was portrayed a whole lot less romantically than it's often depicted (to the best of my limited knowledge). I know that marriages were conducted quite differently back then, with women often marrying men up to three-times their own age, but it's hard to read about a 'real romance' between a 40 year old man and a 15 year old girl and not think squeamishly about the standards of modern society. Basically though, most of the novel can be summed up as follows: Hi, my name is Lancelot and my hobbies include stealing your girl and your kingdom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Redfield Reads

    Arguably the worst Cornwell book I have read to date. Characters became boring and really lacked the edge they had in the first book in the series. I still go think Nimue is excellent and I do like this interpretation of Guinevere who is arguably the most dangerous character in the series. However the main character I find gets more dumb as the book goes on and Arthur seems to become more pathetic each time he appears. I am a fan of Cornwell but found this one to be boring with a lacklustre ending Arguably the worst Cornwell book I have read to date. Characters became boring and really lacked the edge they had in the first book in the series. I still go think Nimue is excellent and I do like this interpretation of Guinevere who is arguably the most dangerous character in the series. However the main character I find gets more dumb as the book goes on and Arthur seems to become more pathetic each time he appears. I am a fan of Cornwell but found this one to be boring with a lacklustre ending. I did enjoy the first half of the book, although The Dark Road was arguably the most disturbing chapter I have read of Cornwells. Not sure I will revisit this series, I do have the third in the series but I honestly don't care what happens next so might be there for a while.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lee Conley

    A quick review, as I'm crazy busy This second book in Cornwell's version of the Arthur story is again fantastic! There were some pretty emotional moments and it was another gripping read I really like this series as always Cornwell puts in an epic amount of research and gives this series a realistic feel, I daresay, even though this is fiction it is as likely to the real Arthur story as we are likely to get Look forward to the final installment A quick review, as I'm crazy busy This second book in Cornwell's version of the Arthur story is again fantastic! There were some pretty emotional moments and it was another gripping read I really like this series as always Cornwell puts in an epic amount of research and gives this series a realistic feel, I daresay, even though this is fiction it is as likely to the real Arthur story as we are likely to get Look forward to the final installment

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rob Bradford

    I have yet to read a really good book by Bernard Cornwell; but he's never failed to entertain me, either. Every book of his that I've read could fit into this one generic Cornwell review: Characters: good, but curiously blind in the places where the plot calls for them to miss something. Historical Detail: excellent, immersive, impressive. Plot: frustratingly obvious. Pacing: excellent, if predictable. Style: solid, literate, unchallenging. I guess it's the way it's going to be, if you write as many b I have yet to read a really good book by Bernard Cornwell; but he's never failed to entertain me, either. Every book of his that I've read could fit into this one generic Cornwell review: Characters: good, but curiously blind in the places where the plot calls for them to miss something. Historical Detail: excellent, immersive, impressive. Plot: frustratingly obvious. Pacing: excellent, if predictable. Style: solid, literate, unchallenging. I guess it's the way it's going to be, if you write as many books as Cornwell does. Who am I to complain? I keep buying them. Enemy of God is the middle book of his Arthur series. I loved the narrator, Derfel. The action is, as always, great. I felt like I was living in 6th century Britain; the book did a great job of transporting me. I thought the whole trilogy did a wonderful job of reimagining the traditional characters in a way which made sense of them in a historical context. The changes to Merlin and Lancelot, especially, are just awesome. Unfortunately, it's very hard to understand why Arthur seems surprised by any of the events that overtake him. The character of Arthur is central to the Arthur trilogy. When his reactions are inexplicable to the reader, the whole book suffers. Maybe it would have made more sense to me if I had a firmer idea of how Cornwell envisioned Arthur. But, although he gets plenty of page time, I left each book of the series much more convinced by everyone else who appeared than by Arthur. Of all the Cornwell books I've read, I came closest to giving this one four stars. I can't say why I liked it more than the first or third books in the trilogy, but I did. I just can't say that it was really good. I absolutely did like it, though.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mayank Agarwal

    Much better than the first book in the trilogy, this has more exciting plots and made me want to know what happens next. The beginning was fun, the middle bore and the ending page turner, with Cornwell’s writing style already established in the previous book i knew not to expect fantasy and magic. The portrayal of religion and the importance and implication during the dark ages seem real and the way Cornwell uses it in the book is brilliant. The book is solidly written and well-paced although th Much better than the first book in the trilogy, this has more exciting plots and made me want to know what happens next. The beginning was fun, the middle bore and the ending page turner, with Cornwell’s writing style already established in the previous book i knew not to expect fantasy and magic. The portrayal of religion and the importance and implication during the dark ages seem real and the way Cornwell uses it in the book is brilliant. The book is solidly written and well-paced although the plot is predictable, still the biggest problem with the book is lack of likable character, either they are mean or dumb or both, I hated Arthur who seem to be a savvy politician and had a different set of rule for himself and his family even Derfel the real hero of the book turned out to be a disappointment in the end when he could let go of his family’s enemy to be a lap dog to Arthur.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter Talbot

    The second of Bernard's semi-realistic recasts of the Arthur/Merlin saga. Begins well enough with a cauldron quest to Ynis Mon, but this volume is surprisingly distasteful for a variety of reasons. The harping between pagan and nominal Christian myths behind characters and the big Mithra and Isis magic plot lines involving Guinnevere and Lancelot, et al, is at once turgid (all puns intended) and unsatisfying. Betrayal and jealousy are the centers of the story for Malory and others, but by becomi The second of Bernard's semi-realistic recasts of the Arthur/Merlin saga. Begins well enough with a cauldron quest to Ynis Mon, but this volume is surprisingly distasteful for a variety of reasons. The harping between pagan and nominal Christian myths behind characters and the big Mithra and Isis magic plot lines involving Guinnevere and Lancelot, et al, is at once turgid (all puns intended) and unsatisfying. Betrayal and jealousy are the centers of the story for Malory and others, but by becoming lurid and intense in realism they are somehow impotent. Mr. Cornwell's Merlin and Nimue are inspired and the narrator Derfel is a welcome device, but I am not persuaded to pick up the other volumes in this series. Regrets!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Dembski-Bowden

    Everything I said in my much longer review of The Winter King (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) applies to Enemy of God, as well, except ramped up to 11. The story was tighter, Christianity and Druidism both came across as more sinister and yet somehow more pitiable, and the characters plunged into that old truth of how everything goes wrong in Act II, when things are darkest before the dawn. My only criticism (of a book as close to flawless as humanly possible) is that towards the end, Everything I said in my much longer review of The Winter King (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) applies to Enemy of God, as well, except ramped up to 11. The story was tighter, Christianity and Druidism both came across as more sinister and yet somehow more pitiable, and the characters plunged into that old truth of how everything goes wrong in Act II, when things are darkest before the dawn. My only criticism (of a book as close to flawless as humanly possible) is that towards the end, Arthur's naivety started to strain credulity. But then, love is blind. We've all said and believed idiotic things while feeling the same way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    Excellent story, a 4.5 rating. This is the second in a King Arthur/Camelot trilogy; when I wanted to immerse myself in the Arthur legends, I went not for literary or fantasy but to a favorite historical novelist and was not disappointed. Story is told by a very old man in a monastery, Derfel,looking back on his life as a pagan lord and champion of Arthur. Several themes running this novel -- it is a changing world and the Britons are struggling to hold on to their lands against the ever increa Excellent story, a 4.5 rating. This is the second in a King Arthur/Camelot trilogy; when I wanted to immerse myself in the Arthur legends, I went not for literary or fantasy but to a favorite historical novelist and was not disappointed. Story is told by a very old man in a monastery, Derfel,looking back on his life as a pagan lord and champion of Arthur. Several themes running this novel -- it is a changing world and the Britons are struggling to hold on to their lands against the ever increasing Saxon invaders. Roman influence still lingers with the roads, buildings, bridges and even some of the gods the people worship (Isis, Mithras brought in by the Romans). Merlin and his allies want to bring back the pre-Roman days of the Druids but their power have ebbed and the new religion, Christianity, is spreading rapidly. So little is known of Arthur (if he even truly existed) that Cornwell can tell his own version here and Arthur is not the hero king we may expect. He's a great war lord who has no personal ambition to be a king and values law over war. Sometimes his desire to be a simple farmer is a little hard to believe. Guinevere has ambition & this finally breaks the relationship. Interesting how the Camelot characters are portrayed. Merlin is done very well. A bit hard to see Lancelot as a weak and cowardly traitor but Galahad is honorable and trustworthy. Started out with an audio version of this book and then switched to physical book. Narrator was very good & I am grateful to get some of the pronunciations of the Celtic and Saxon names & places. There's a very useful list of characters and places in the front of the book (Celtic names are used for locations but English names given in list). Would have liked a map, especially since the descriptions of the landscapes was so well done in the story. Very absorbing and I'm now reading the first book in the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ensiform

    The second book in the Arthur series, this book tells of how Arthur’s fragile peace was broken by Lancelot’s deal with Cerdic, the Saxon raider, and how Arthur discovered Lancelot’s treachery with Guinevere. The narrator Derfel’s story is also fraught with drama; Cornwell knows how to make the reader hate villains (treachery is the trick, it seems, judging from this and the Sharpe series) and yearn for their comeuppance. Again, this is a very expertly realized historical guess at “Camelot” (a wor The second book in the Arthur series, this book tells of how Arthur’s fragile peace was broken by Lancelot’s deal with Cerdic, the Saxon raider, and how Arthur discovered Lancelot’s treachery with Guinevere. The narrator Derfel’s story is also fraught with drama; Cornwell knows how to make the reader hate villains (treachery is the trick, it seems, judging from this and the Sharpe series) and yearn for their comeuppance. Again, this is a very expertly realized historical guess at “Camelot” (a word not even coined until the 12th century, according to Cornwell). The Christians are spreading like wildfire, denying all other gods. Merlin, Morgan and Nimue (Vivien) are all here, but the magic is not transformations or enchantments, but sprigs of hair and bone, spitting, bits of iron and ritual. The combat is not courtly jousting by “knights,” but savage attacks with shield, sword and spear. Cornwell makes the Arthurian romances real and human; it’s a delightful escapist book.

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