Read Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick Online


Who was the man who became the legend we know as KING ARTHUR?Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous researcWho was the man who became the legend we know as KING ARTHUR?Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britainand keeping his wife and three sons safeproves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.PRAISE FOR PENDRAGON'S BANNER:"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting and well worth fighting to defend." Publishers Weekly"Weaves together fact, legend, and inspired imagination to create a world so real we can breathe the smoke of its fires and revel in the Romano- British lust for life, love and honour." Historical Novel Review"Camelot as it really was... a very talented writer." Sharon Kay Penman, bestselling author of Devil's BroodPRAISE FOR THE KINGMAKING:"Hollick juggles a cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill." Publishers Weekly"If only all historical fiction could be this good." Historical Novels Review"Stripped of its medieval trappings, the story of Arthur's rise loses none of its legendary power... this [is a] well-researched, skillfully constructed trilogy opener." Library Journal...

Title : Pendragon's Banner
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781905108282
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 426 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Pendragon's Banner Reviews

  • Lauren
    2019-05-14 12:09

    Pendragon's Banner is book two in this King Arthur trilogy. As often happens with the middle book in a trilogy, I just don't love it as much as the first. I guess it's because things happen, but not as many thing happen as in the first book. The characters just aren't as fresh and you know that the story hasn't reached fruition yet. That's not to say that nothing happens - there is a lot of tragedy at this point in King Arthur's reign as Arthur works tirelessly to consolidate his power and to rout out his enemies. The problem I had is that while I enjoyed the novel, I just didn't tear through it as quickly as I normally do. I think this is because I really don't like Arthur all that much. He's selfish and ruthless and he's a pretty terrible husband. I realize that Hollick is trying to show what Arthur may have been like, given his historical role and the context of his reign. But I wish Arthur would have been more likeable. Notwithstanding my mixed feelings, I do intend to finish this trilogy. I think the idea of how Arthur forged his empire is fascinating. I also really like to consider what the Dark Ages may have been like. I hope, though, that the third installment is a bit more "magical" for me than this middle installment.

  • Elysium
    2019-05-17 09:26

    Arthur is now king of Britain but discovers it’s far from secure. Now he has to find the way to keep it and to get the loyalty of his people. Arthur tries seek peace and tries to make offers on agreeable terms, but his men and his wife doesn’t always understand his reasons and this causes fractions on his marriage on the way. It’s been too long since I read the first book and I had no idea how the last book ended. But I do remember thinking the first half of the book was ok but really liked the second half. I think this one was better and it was gripping from the start.I haven’t read much about Arthur but I like how the people are described here. There’s no magic or fantasy elements and it feels real. I love the relationship between Arthur and Gwenhwyfar; it wasn’t an easy marriage and it sure had its rocky patches but I love it’s not all happily ever after – stuff. Arthur can be an asshole, numerous times, and he sure loves women but it sounds more realistic than that they both were faithful. Doesn’t stop me wanting to smack him so many times but believable. I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward reading the last book of the trilogy.

  • Marianne
    2019-04-24 12:18

    This book deals with Arthur trying to build his kingdom as he and Gwen raise their family with the constant threat of enemies and the lingering shadow of Morgause and Winifried. Their relationship is strained with the death of their children and the constant military campaigns that are waged yet somehow they always find their way back to each other.As stated before, one of the things I love about this book is that it stays away from the bastardisation of the legends that the French did to it in the middle-ages and keeps it very much a Dark Ages book, set in the Dark Ages but even with that, I do sometimes feel that it would have benefited from staying even closer to the original legends. In the original fables the significance of Gwenhywfar was that she was almost considered the goddess of Britain and she would choose who would become king - this was why men competed for her, and why her marriage to Arthur was so significant - their love was symbolic. This Arthur put his kingship above Gwenhwyfar and although he loves her, he refuses to stay loyal to her. Perhaps it's maybe modern ideals influencing this but I find it hard to reconcile that a man would whore about the way this Arthur does if he loves his wife the way that he says he does. In one scene in this book we have him sleeping with his wife, waiting until she's asleep and then leaving to go and meet a whore. Admittedly he is going for information, but he still sleeps with her. In the morning when Gwenhywfar confronts him, he proudly admits that not only did he sleep with her, but that he also enjoyed it.I just have a love/hate relationship with this Arthur. He is a cruel, vicious, manipulative, lying, manwhore who on every level should be abhorrent, yet for whatever reason, I still like him and it frustrates me that I do. I have no interest in reading about him whoring around and trying to justify it while hearing him tell Gwen that if she ever cheats on him that he'll kill her on the spot, yet that's what we get and although it makes me want to scream, I have no idea why I still can't hate him. It's one of these weird mysteries, and I give credit to Hollick for it.Watching them lose five children is hard and after the initial deep heartbreak it's actually hard to see how they begin to just accept it happen. Gwen's words at the end about how she's almost happy, because no she doesn't have to worry about anything happening to them now is sad, but true as Arthur's son Cerdic is lurking along with a new son he bore with Morgaine, his half sister (although in fairness to his manwhoring ways he didn't know she was his sister at the time thankfully! Although if he sleeps with her in the next book...*shudder*) who Gwenhwyfar knows nothing of. The book left with their eldest son murdered, Gwen having killed Morgause and the country at peace but as the next book deals with the resolution of the legend I can kinda guess how it all goes down.Now excuse me, I have to go and see if setting the over/under at 6 about the number of times King Arthur cheats on Gwenhywfar in the next Pendragon book was optimistic or not. ;)I wrote that before I started reading it and I gotta say, I was closer than I hoped I'd be. I counted 3 that we knew of with the insinuation about more. ;)

  • Robin
    2019-05-23 09:28’s Pendragon series set out to tell a more realistic story of the Arthurian Legend and she certainly accomplished that. The downside to reading King Arthur books is that most of time, you already know what’s coming but with this series, you’re never quite sure. Hollick took full advantage of letting loose her creativity. At the same time, there are many of the more classic elements that we all know of the legend, just not always exactly how we know them. The thing about folklore is, of course, that it’s told orally for generations, even centuries, before it’s written down so in theory, if Arthur were a real historical figure or based on one, you would actually have to assume that the legend we know today was warped and evolved over time. Hollick seems to have set out writing with this in mind, building a story where nearly all the classic elements are there but many of them are not exactly how we know them, crafting a believable idea of how this element was warped into that or that character got confused with this. And yet the story doesn’t feel contrived or reverse engineered. The characters are fleshed out and the story is unpredictable. I can’t wait to read the final book and see where Hollick takes it next.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-30 11:15

    I really enjoyed this second installment in the Pendragon trilogy, although admittedly not quite as much as I did the first. Character development was crucial in the first novel and I was blown away by the author's skill in creating Arthur and Gwenhwyfar. This novel has the two firmly placed as individuals within the context of the time period and we follow the timeline of Arthur's various battles and struggles. This is not to say that this storyline wasn't an enjoyable read, it was, but the awe I felt at the way in which Arthur and Gwenhwyfar were portrayed in the first novel wasn't nearly as heightened with this one. I'm still just as firmly set in my thinking as I was before I started reading (in summary Arthur's a brute, with Gwenhwyfar being the true hero of the tale!)It's very hard for me to review this novel without spoilers, but in short the tragedy which befalls the pair really pulled on my heartstrings and again made me place myself firmly in Gwenhwyfar's camp. I find myself rooting for Arthur merely because she does.I look forward to the final installment now that certain key players have been removed from the tale, plus new ones added to the mix. I'm excited to see how these new faces interplay with Arthur, Gwenhwyfar and their followers.

  • Bridget
    2019-05-13 08:21

    King Arthur has married his second wife, Gwenhwyfar. His first wife was determined to overthrow her husband and place her son in his seat of power. One minor problem is that Arthur has impregnated several other women. Will he be able to weed out the traitors and make it to the top at all costs?King Arthur has always interested me. I love sword fights and battles with courageous men. This is an action-packed book that includes blood, guts, gore and tons of lies, lust and greed. This is a book that has a little bit of everything and the writing is superb.

  • S.S.
    2019-05-02 07:29

    This is the second in Helen Hollick's trilogy about King Arthur. This book focusses on Arthur's attempts at consolidating his kingship and the trials and tribulations he must face in order to get there. There's a lot more angst and darkness in this book, than in the first, I thought (more so when considering the state of affairs between Arthur and Gwenhwyfar and the trials they face together as a family. Some of it's pretty hard to get through ie the death of their youngest son in the first part of the book.) I still think it's nice to see the 'characters' presented as they would quite likely be in real life, even though I love the more fantasy based tales of King Arthur, too. A lot of the characters are not ... easy to read about, admittedly. I do think that this is quite a refreshing change though, to present the characters as more ... human rather than iconic heroes who can't do anything wrong, and whatnot. Arthur's quite selfish and stubborn and given over to great flashes of temper, while Winifred is a scheming, manipulative bitch. Morgause is just pure evil personified and is also quite selfish. Gwenhwyfar, is by far, still my favourite character in the series. She's kick-ass and still capable of great kindnesses and tenderness. She also has quite the pivotal moment at the end! Her relationship with Arthur could best be described as a love-hate one, or perhaps a tempestuous one would be more the apt description. If they're not arguing, they're ... well, indulging in a lot of quite vigorous 'quality time' with one another.This book had some good scenes, quite a bot of action and lots of battles. I'm looking forward to seeing what the third book has in store for everyone.

  • David
    2019-05-16 07:07

    In this second book of the Pendragon's Banner trilogy, Arthur Pendragon comes of age on the field of battle and in the often even deadlier circle of leadership that was Dark Ages Britain. This series presents the reader with a much grittier and humanized version of King Arthur than the traditional legends ever did. He has all the weaknesses and foibles of most mortals. In some places, I felt he was too cold and cruel but maybe that is what makes him the leader he needs to be. This was a cruel era and no doubt required a cruel leader.At first I was somewhat put off by the attention the author paid to love triangles and other romantic conflicts but as I got deeper into the story I could see where those subplots add a richer substance to the overall story. Some of the women in this saga are every bit as cruel as some of the men, but all have a steely toughness about them that I admire.All in all, the Pendragon's Banner series is worth the time to read. These are not short books (Book two is almost 600 pages and Book 3 is over 800), but they are compelling enough to hold the reader's interest.

  • Lucienne Boyce
    2019-05-11 10:16

    It’s hard to review the second book in a trilogy when all you want to say is more of the same! I loved Pendragon’s Banner, and as with the first book was swept along by the story telling and characters. This Arthur is no parfit gentil knight; he’s a man of war and as such he is perfectly capable of committing atrocities and hiding behind the time-honoured excuse that war makes them necessary. He is often brutal in his personal relations too. I don’t like or admire him, but the author has done a brilliant job of making me want to understand him. Whatever else Arthur is, he is not one-dimensional: there’s love and loss too, and his relationship with Gwenhyfar is complex – especially as she is no mere shadow. The versatile writing reflects these paradoxes in the skilful handling of scenes ranging from the horror of battle to the beauty of the landscape. After a bit of an enforced wait, I’m about to start the third book in this series and can’t wait to get back to it!

  • Niamh Anne King
    2019-05-03 05:18

    Read this, enjoyed it, and then found out it was the second part of a series.

  • Lucy
    2019-04-24 10:25

    In Pendragon’s Banner, by Helen Hollick, the tale of Arthur, the grand King and warrior, holds no place for Lancelot-types and ladies in distress. In this meaty epic, you’ll find a hero in the midst of endless battles, strong-willed women, questionable loyalty, heart-wrenching deaths, and true love.Arthur possessed not only those majestic qualities loved in a king that’s hero; he was also capable of extreme emotions and actions that could destroy, refute (as in the case of his first son by Winifred…I had a very hard time understanding this…) and could also literally ‘dispose of’ mercilessly as a means to an end. Those passages led to very intense reading- where I just could not put the book down.I appreciated the author’s realistic in –the- times approach to this King Arthur who also proved to be endearing and vulnerable when it came to true love. I admired Arthur for the ruler and lover he was (though some of his swaying motives lost him some points…but those were different times…). Hollick brought her characters to life –drawing me to strong emotions, precisely, I imagine, as intended. Her portrayal led me to despise and wish cruelty on the venomous Morgause; understand the validity of Winifred’s motives, while disliking her altogether; and then, there was Gwenhwyfar…For me, she was the real heroine of this novel. I must admit that although I passionately read through the battle scenes, scheming plots, horrifying situations and the saddest of deaths-It was Gwen who kept me hooked to the storyline. What a heroine! In Pendragon’s Banner, Gwenhwyfar is strong, loyal, incredibly skilled mentally and physically (she could whip a sword as well as any Artoriani!) Her devotion, as well as her determination proved unshakeable in the worst of fates. Her fiery temper was no less passionate in the face of love for her husband and children. In all her intensity, Gwenhwyfar was also capable of great compassion, kindness and giving towards others in their time of need. Based upon Hollick’s fantastic character portrayal of Gwen in this rich novel, I have a renewed love and admiration for Arthur’s glorious Queen. Pendragon’s Banner is a rich and gripping tale, but not without its light and often comical moments which the author interjects throughout the novel. Actions, motions and scenes are regularly described, with visual editorial type moments for vivid effect. It also helps alleviate the heavier scene being dealt with. For those who enjoy this type of thing, here’s an example:Bottom of pg. 351, ‘Arthur slid his thumb through his sword belt, and rocked forward onto the balls of his feet and back to his heels.’ And, here’s another:pg.312, ‘Arthur’s expression was his familiar, implacable, grim squint of right eye half shut, left eyebrow raised.’ Pendragon’s Banner, although quite chunky, is a relatively smooth read (difficult names and words have a pronunciation guide at the front). In addition, all chapters are only 3 to 4 pages long, easily readying you towards the next transition of events.Arthurian fans will enjoy this tale portraying Arthur and his Lady in a different, yet more convincing light than ever read before.

  • Steven
    2019-05-18 06:08

    Pendragon’s Banner is the second book in an Arthurian trilogy by Helen Hollick. The first book, The Kingmaking, shows how Arthur as a young teenager grows and comes to power as the High King of Britain. The second book shows how Arthur handles the position once he is there, as he must manage the affairs of the entire realm and play the dangerous game of politics to hold onto his throne.Arthur is rivaled on many sides by his enemies: his ex-wife, Winifred; his father’s mistress, Morgause; Lot (Morgause’s husband) and the Picti in the north; and his uncle Ambrosius.Winifred believes her son Cerdic to be the rightful heir to Britain and will do anything in her power to bring down Arthur and his wife Gwenhwyfar and their three sons. Morgause despises Arthur and wants vengeance and uses her husband Lot to carry out her bidding. And Ambrosius, while not exactly an enemy of Arthur, still clings to the old Roman ways and makes life difficult for Arthur politically.Hollick’s series attempts to portray the real life Arthur, not the man of legends. Arthur is, like any other warrior, hardened from war and skilled in battle, but this novel shows a more sensitive side of Arthur than did The Kingmaking. There are times when it seems Arthur wants to give up on being king, and his life as ruler makes things difficult on his marriage. Gwenhwyfar, who is more of a warrior herself in the first novel, seems only to want peace for her family and for Arthur to stay at home with them. They have three children, and Gwenhwyfar seems content to stay at home and raise her family. The constant traveling of Arthur and the threat on her sons’ lives by Winifred drives a perpetual wedge between her and her husband.I enjoyed how Hollick rounds out her characters even more in this novel. Where I liked Gwenhwyfar more in the first novel, there were aspects about her in this one I did not care for. And vice versa with Arthur. I actually felt more attached to him in Pendragon’s Banner because I felt Hollick showed a more human side of him. Also — for some reason – there were times in The Kingmaking I felt sorry for Winifred. Not so in this novel. Creating these reversals and fluctuations of feelings toward the characters is — in my mind — what makes the sign of a good author. I also was glad Hollick brought back Morgause and gave her a more prominent role. Morgause’s character generates important conflict in the story.Overall — even with the stronger development of the characters — I enjoyed the story of The Kingmaking more. There were times in Pendragon’s Banner where the plot lumbered along a bit, and some of the scenes felt contrived to me, like they were put there for sole purpose of generating some sort of conflict or action but did not truly enhance the characters of plot in any meaningful way. Regardless, Hollick is a talented writer, and her trilogy is worth the read. She has a strong grasp on early medieval Britain and the man who was Arthur.

  • Jenny Q
    2019-04-23 09:23

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5 StarsThough it got off to a rocky start, the second book in the Pendragon Trilogy did not disappoint! I was extremely impressed to discover that The Kingmaking was Helen Hollick's first novel. The writing, storyline and characters were superb. I loved it. So when this one started off a little awkwardly, I was upset. The narrative was clunky, the dialogue a little stilted - it just seemed to be missing that magic that captivated me in the first book. Fortunately, that feeling only lasted about thirty pages and then the author hit her stride and the book took off from there.Arthur and Gwenhwyfar, who overcame so much to be together, are having a difficult time of it. They've spent three years leading his army all over the country, squashing small rebellions, forging alliances and reminding the people of Britain that Arthur is their supreme king. But Gwen longs for a home of her own, a safe haven in which to raise her family, and a husband who is as devoted to them as he is to ruling the country. Gwen's unhappiness and Arthur's unwillingness to compromise cause a rift to grow between them and a terrible tragedy ultimately separates them.Both of these characters undergo growth and transformation, but particularly Arthur, and I came to care about him so much more through the course of this book. Arthur is a man who can put his emotions aside when it comes to making ruthless decisions about war and leading a kingdom, but at his heart he is very much still like that lost little boy he was when we first met him. That theme comes to the forefront of this story as he is forced to face Morgause, his father's mistress who abused Arthur as a boy, and who, in her new position of power, is determined to make him suffer as a man. And Arthur still has his evil ex-wife, Winifred to deal with as well, along with several plotting warlords who refuse to accept him as their rightful king. Now more than ever, he needs the one person he has always loved and trusted. But can they overcome their differences, the hurt they've caused each other, the fears and misgivings, to love again and unite in the face of their enemies?This book zips along at a breakneck pace; there are some gripping battle scenes, tender love scenes, death, sadness, tears and laughter all culminating in a very satisfying ending that had me turning the last page and sighing, "Wow! What a book!"

  • Judywork
    2019-05-17 08:14

    The series is called the Pendragon’s Banner and in it, Helen gives a more realistic presentation of the legend of Arthur. There are three books in the series that takes us from Arthur’s early childhood to his death. I have now finished reading all three books and can honestly say that I am just as impressed with the ending as I was with the beginning of it! In the series, Helen presents her version of many of the different stories connected with the legend. The only parts she omitted in her version were Lancelot and Merlin. She omitted these characters for a good reason! Helen chose to focus on the fragments of history and legend that made a more historical connection to events during that time period. Rather than present the mythology and symbolism of Merlin and magic or Lancelot and knights on white horses, she instead had us follow Arthur on a journey to Gaul, to parts of ancient France where the Romans were fighting a losing battle against the Franks at the time.There in a place called Avignon, he faced betrayal and failure, along with inner demons to haunt him and cause him to not want to return to his home in Britain. While Helen insists that she is no historian, I was thoroughly impressed with her attention to historical details and those tiny fragments of documented evidence. As the series went on, I found myself immersed in those small details and spent considerable time switching from the story google those little references. Now, for some that might not be considered a plus to the story telling, but for me, it was an awesome adventure into both the story and the actual historical theories about that time period!When I chose her series, it was for the references to actual history and she did not let me down. Her way of weaving much of that history together made a great deal of sense to me. I especially like the turn she took in weaving Cerdic the Saxon into the story. That was the part I was most interested in from the beginning anyway! Historically, Cerdic’s genealogy and lineage were sketchy and there are theories that he may have been connected to the Romano Britons in some way… Helen went with that theory and it worked!

  • Amanda
    2019-05-04 05:27

    I rated this book 4/5 stars due to the fact that Gwen's passivity was completely unfathomable to me. For a woman who was quick to anger, why was she so passive about Arthur and the many women he bedded? Only once does she let Arthur know that she knows what he was doing in the middle of the night when he left their bed to go and lay in another. One would think, what with Gwen being the Queen and all, that she would have a just as intricate spy network as her husband. It is apparent that the other women in the story, Morgeuse and Winifred, both maintain their own networks seeing as how both know exactly what is going on behind Arthur's closed doors. As far as i could tell, the book made no mention of Gwen ever hearing about Arthur's involvement with the teen who plunged to her death and thus far, she knows nothing of Arthur bedding the teenage Lady of the Lake. (Yet Morgeuse and Winifred knew of both.) I hate to think that a part of Gwen's character falls under 'ignorance is bliss' because it seems far too naive for a woman of Gwen's age and struggles.All of that aside, I cried when Amr died. My mothering mind was already screaming at Arthur to pay more attention to all of the boys and I hated to see my fears come to the page. Subsequently, I found myself steeling against the loss of the other boys throughout the story, much like that of Gwen and Arthur. They both adopt a 'what's done is done' mentality, and i felt that so too does the reader. This is not to say that I was 'okay' with Gwen allowing her eldest boy to ride out to battle. I honestly thought that Arthur would be angry with Gwen, berate her for allowing the boy outside of the gates and to ride to war, especially since the Pendragon future was resting on such young shoulders. However, this was not the case and I was glad that Arthur maintained his temper for once and healed through the loss alongside his wife.

  • Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
    2019-05-04 04:21

    Once again, Helen Hollick gives us a wonderful addition to King Arthur's story. Arthur started in The Kingmaking as a teenager - not even knowing that he was the heir to the throne. In Pendragon's Banner, he is not only King, but husband and father - and battling to do justice to all those roles.Arthur has married Gwenhwyfar and with their children they have traveled, eventually settling at Caer Cadan. The traveling and Arthur's "wandering" have taken a toll on his and Gwenhwyfar's marriage. Add to the fact that Gwenhwyfar was also very intelligent and was somewhat a warrior herself - coming from a long line of warriors - there was bound to be conflict between the two. Even though they were estranged, they manage to come back together. Arthur is also battling his first wife, Winifred, and Morgause who has cursed his children if Arthur should ever come after her.This book covers about 6 years but it does not lack for political struggles, battles, infidelity, romance. What you will not find though is Merlin or Excalibur or the Knights of the Round Table. This is historical fiction without all the fantasy - a King Arthur we can believe might really have lived.I enjoyed this second installment of Pendragon's Banner as much as I did the first - but I found it hard to try to sum up. Most of this information is new to me, as I was never a big fan of the King Arthur stories. I am, however, a big fan of Helen Hollick's books and am looking forward to the re-release of the third book in this series next year.

  • Gaby
    2019-05-03 06:20

    I thoroughly enjoyed Helen Hollick's retelling of this early part of King Arthur's life. Unlike the medieval Arthur who seemed focused on the crusades and the older King who would hold festivals and jousts, the Arthur that we meet in Pendragon's Banner is a young king occupied with winning battles - much of the book is devoted to wresting control of his territory and keeping the land from invaders. Hollick's Arthur is deep into the work of creating his kingdom. He does not yet have his own castle, his Camelot and his round table is just a glimmer of a thought. He must still go through a great deal before establishing himself as the King Arthur of legend, but we can see from the man that he is in Pendragon's Banner the king that he will become.It is easy to care for Arthur, his loyal and skilled Artoriani and his loyal wife Gwenhywyfar. When they face the cunning and treachery of Arthur's longtime enemy Morgause, it make for a gripping tale and a satisfying read.Hollick weaves in bits of the Arthurian legend, details of the man that hint at his life and legend as king. Plus, Hollick's fight scenes are gripping and well done - and as enjoyable as those found in a good Bernard Cornwell tale.Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 2009), 496 pages.Review copy provided by the publisher.

  • Elaine Cougler
    2019-04-29 12:13

    Following after Hollick's The Kingmaking, Pendragon's Banner does not disappoint; in fact, it surges gloriously ahead like the magnificent stallions of Arthur's Artoriani. In the first book of this trilogy Arthur won his Gwenhwyfar and his crown as King, but both came at a cost in this second volume. Hollick's sense of story and her daunting historical knowledge make for much drama and suspense. She has taken liberties with the characters of Arthur and his queen but in doing so has created real, believable people, a couple the reader really believes to be factual. And, flawed though they are, I fell under their spell. I wept for both when their sons died, when they battled each other--two strong characters--for understanding, and I loved their courage, especially Gwenhwyfar's as she led thirty Artoriani against the she-wolf, Morgause. Now I look to read Shadow of the King, the third in this amazing trilogy.

  • Thalia
    2019-05-17 09:24

    I actually liked this volume better than the trilogy opener. I appreciated the realism of this novel. I absolutely believed the relationship between Arthur and Gwen. I had my heart pounding through battles and loved the fact that it was sometimes luck that saved the day. I loved a flawed hero and the cunning of the women. Nobody was too good to be true. But lastly I had my heart broken by deaths that, each time, was unexpected and added so much dimension to the story. This author excels at many things but I believe it is the human elemnt that she has mastered. This trilogy may test your ideas of King Arthur but it is so worth the experiance. Now comes my I read book three now or wait for the group to do it next year (NEXT YEAR!)...I really should wait....NEXT year?....

  • Cindy
    2019-05-15 12:08

    I absolutely loved this book, just as I did the first in the trilogy! This book had several more battles for the title of Supreme King, but Author triumphs in all. By the end of the book, his uncle Ambrosius (Merlin) has finally decided to become Author's ally. Even his enemy Amlawdd decides to join with Arthur in the fight against Heuill after Gwenhwyfar persuades him through tickery. Two former women in Arthur's life, Winifred (his former wife) and Morgause (his father's mistress) are constantly trying to undermine Arthur in order to help obtain his throne. It was so sad to see that all three of Arthur and Gwenhyfar's sons were dead by the end of this book. Even though the deaths were accidental, Morgause's curse to see his children dead did, in fact, become reality. I can't wait to read the third and final book!

  • Kathleen Guler
    2019-05-06 06:21

    "Pendragon's Banner" will definitely go on my list of all-time favorite Arthurian novels. Helen Hollick's version of Arthur and Gwynhwyfar is by far the most realistic I've ever read. Beautifully written and intense, Helen takes the reader into Dark Age Britain where Arthur must fight the factions trying to depose him. Sometimes his faults get the better of him, but he is maturing and learning to channel his powerful temper into a useful tool to keep his throne. The narrative and dialogue have a smooth pitch that are not stilted at all. The only criticism I have is that occasionally a term that's a little too modern sounding slips in. Also, in this edition by Sourcebooks, some of the dates in the chapter headings were out of sync and some additional copyediting would have been good. Highly recommended for anyone who loves historical fiction and especially Arthurian stories.

  • Dark-Draco
    2019-04-28 07:13

    The second book in the trilogy picks up Arthur's story a few years from the first one and tells of his bid to become King. There's lots of set backs along the way and lots of enemies trying to make sure that he doesn't succeed, but with his well trained cavalry, he can usually dominate them all.Like the first book, Hollick provides a plausible, real-life story that could have inspired so many of our myths and legends. Arthur, here, is fallible. He makes mistakes, he sleeps with a lot of women, he makes trouble for himself and for his friends, family and allies. There are lots of sad moments too.Usually, the middle book of a trilogy is the weaker volume, but not here. This was as fast-paced, action packed and brilliantly written as the first.Well worth the reading.

  • Carla Nayland
    2019-05-17 05:30

    Second in a trilogy telling the King Arthur story without magical or supernatural elements. After the political and military struggles of The Kingmaking, Arthur is now Pendragon and High King of Britain, and married to his beloved wife, the feisty Gwenhwyfar. But his first wife Winifred wants her son Cerdic named heir, his uncle Ambrosius yearns for a return to the Roman Empire, numerous chieftains fancy themselves as High King, and far in the north the evil queen Morgause plots his downfall. Arthur and Gwenhwyfar face political storm and personal tragedy that threaten to destroy their marriage.Review:

  • Leila
    2019-05-22 06:30

    This second book follows on from "The Kingmaking" It does not disappoint! Another brilliant and down to earth novel which had me once more completely immersed in the continuing story. The characters are very realistic. Arthur, now in his early twenties, fights to hold onto his Kingship. His strength of character is tried and tested and in his personal life, the tensions between the main characters are complex. His two enemies, his bitter ex wife Winifred and Morgause who is "Queen of the North" are his biggest threats. and Gwenhwyfar his greatest love. Vivid and realistic writing from Helen Hollick once more.

  • Laurie
    2019-05-09 08:15

    Why can't someone edit this book???????? Why is it that every hundred pages or so, there is a heading at the beginning of a chapter that says "April 456" when just a few pages ago we were in 462!! No, the author has not taken us on a flashback. The editors of this book just saw April 456 at the beginning of THREE chapters (so far) and didn't even think to check if April 456 was right. GAAAAHHHH!!!!!That said, I do enjoy this book and all the Pendragon's banner books. I just can't believe these errors made it into the second print.First time read: 2002 or 2003

  • Claire Hall
    2019-05-24 08:25

    This second entry to the series is stronger than the first. It's more focused and less rambling, and it deals unflinchingly with the mass of challenges and hurts that we as humans gather over the course of years -- adding to that the inherently greater difficulty of living back in the fifth century. Arthur and Gwenhwyfar again come alive here, older and maybe wiser and still needing each other desperately. The events of this book are heart-wrenching, even up to the final pages, and Hollick stays admirably true to the humanity of her characters throughout.

  • Debbi
    2019-05-07 10:13

    I enjoyed the book, but not as much as the first one. In the second of the trilogy, it seemed to me that Gwen and Arthur spent too much time quarreling and being jealous of something. There wasn't as much good story in this one. However, I will read the last one, because I have to know how it all turns out. There are some good things in this installment: some people you'll be happy to see the end of are gone, new ones are introduced, new tensions are introduced. It's not that its a bad book, just that it wasn't as good as the first one, or some of her other books.

  • Kwauditor
    2019-05-22 05:22

    I thought I would never finish this book. Something about it made it just drag on and on. I liked the first book, but this second book seemed to lack something. I usually fly right through ANY book about King Arthur so was surprised that I just couldn't get into the book. Not sure if I will read the third book of the trilogy. I think I will change genre for a couple books and then give it a try.

  • Phiona Macrae
    2019-05-15 09:33

    Helen Hollick's tale of the man who became a king who became a legend is unlike any other. She does not waste precious space with fantasy and myth. There is no need when the history is so much richer. This is a real story of a real man. His greatest accomplishments. His most grisly trespasses. His all too human faults. But most of all his strength of character that has endured for centuries.

  • Renay
    2019-05-14 07:28

    although it is the secondbook of a trilogy, one is able to pick up this book and read it alone, without feeling the need to have read the first, or to continue to the third book, which pleased me no end.a simple telling of arthur pendragon and his second wife and several children. perhaps not necessarily an accurate historical description, it is a lovely story and enjoyable to read.