In Dark Ages Britain, Arthur has been banished and Merlin has disappeared; a child-king sits unprotected on the throne and magic vies with religion for the souls of the people. Going far beyond the usual tales of romance and chivalry, Cornwell's Arthur is fierce, dedicated and complex, a man with many problems, most of his own making. His impulsive decisions sometimes have tragic ramifications, as when he takes Guinevere instead of the intended Ceinwyn, alienating his friends and allies and inspiring a bloody battle. The secondary characters are equally great, and are filled with the magic and superstition of the times. Merlin is a crafty schemer, fond of deceit and disguise. Lancelot is portrayed as a warrior-pretender, a dishonest charmer with dark plans of his own; Galahad as the noble soldier of purpose and dedication. Guinevere, is however, no gentle creature waiting patiently in the moonlight, she has designs and plots of her own. The story of these characters and others is narrated by Derfel Cadarn, a character we follow from his earliest year, first one of Arthur's warriors, later a monk. This novel could change the way the story of Arthur is told. I loved this book and it opened up a whole new perspective and to my mind, possibly a more realistic view of the Arthurian Legends.