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Despite its title, this book isn't only Arthur's tale. It begins with the story of the boy who would become Merlin, how he escaped the clutches of Vhortiern (Vortigern), and grew to guide U'thyr (Uther), Arthur's father. Once the young king is born, his story comes to the forefront. Throughout the book, Reedman gifts us with truly creative takes on classic Arthurian legend, including the dragons under the tower, Merlin's relationship with Nin-Aeifa (Nimue), the nature and purpose of Afallan (Avalon), the Sword in the Stone, the finding of Excalibur (called here Caladvolc), and more. The only place where I felt it fell a little short was in Mordred's conception, which reminded me of other versions I have read, but with a gothic chill that the others lack. I especially appreciated her inclusion of the Green Knight and his beheading game and the hunting of the boar T'orc, neither of which I've seen touched by authors in quite some time.
Honestly, I haven't been this captivated by a book since The Mists of Avalon. But then again, I'm a sucker for all things mythological, and that is where Reedman truly excels. Her descriptions of the ancient monuments and the rites associated with them will take your breath away. She has a way of making such an obscure period of the past come to life, that you half expect to be there when you put the book down. It is a story firmly rooted in its time period, one that actually caused me, as a writer, to reexamine some of my character's motivations to make sure they are historically accurate. (That is one of the highest compliments I can pay an author - to have learned something about my own work by reading theirs.) Reedman's insertion of the Arthurian story into the Bronze Age is done so seamlessly that it's easy to forget this isn't its usual time period. I'm not in a position to judge the archeology, but I am certain her expertise in this area is a major contributor to making this book feel so real.
The pacing of this book is well done. I didn't want to put it down. The only place where I felt it was a little off was Fynavir's (Guinevere) kidnapping. It's my understanding that in most tales, Melwas holds Guinevere captive for quite some time. But in Stone Lord, she's being carried away on one page and 25 pages later (most of which is taken up by another part of the story), Fynavir is rescued. Reedman spends far more time on the hunt of the boar than she does on the event that is the catalyst for Fynavir and An'kelet's affair, which doesn't seem equitable. I also felt that the ending was a little rushed, like Reedman was in a hurry to wrap things up, but this is a common complaint I have about many books, so it may be more me than the author.
In a few places, just a little more explanation would have helped the overall story. I felt that the background between Fynavir (Guinevere) and An'kelet (Lancelot) depended a lot on the reader's knowledge of the myth of King Arthur. There are furtive glances and reddening cheeks that make you aware there is an attraction and some sort of past between the two, but the nature of this is never made clear. I would have liked at least a few pages of background to help me understand why, in Reedman's world, these two are so heartbroken that they can't be together and what bonded them in the first place. I also would have liked a little more motivation for Morigau (Morgan). She's as crazy as crazy comes, but the only explanation we really get is a preternaturally intelligent girl of "no more than three" wailing in jealousy that Merlin picked Ardhu to train rather than her. Later, she rails about how Ardhu took everything away from her, especially the love of her family, but here again there's so much reliance on prior knowledge of legend that Morigau's motivation feels forced on her. If we could have seen one or two scenes showing how her life changed for the worse because of Ardhu, her venom would be easier to understand. Maybe these things will be further explained in the sequel, Moon Lord, but I would have liked to have had them in the context of this book.
One key thing I thought was missing from the book was a list of place names, both then and now, and maybe even a map, since they are so different from anything most of us would be familiar with. Reedman has a list on her website, but even that individual post is difficult to find and this isn't a convenient solution when you're reading and don't feel like getting online on to verify a location. I made it through just fine without the map, but it would have been nice to be able to flip to the front or the back to verify the characters were going where I thought they were.
Also, if you buy a first edition, there are several typos, so be forewarned. The author is aware of these and will be correcting them in future editions.
But even for its flaws, Stone Lord is a fantastic book. I think it is worthy of a Big Six publisher's attention, but I'm pretty much the ideal audience for a book like this. If you like the story of King Arthur and can handle a non-traditional setting, you'll enjoy this book. Congratulations to Reedman on a fine contribution to the Matter of Britain. I look forward to reading more of Ardhu's adventures in Moon Lord when it comes out.
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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Stone Lord: The Legend of King Arthur, the Era of Stonehenge
2012 Mirador Publishing
280 pages paperbound / 5 MB Kindle
$13.99 / $4.99
Lately it seems that every time I turn around, there's JP Reedman emerging from the mist, waving Stone Lord!
With good reason.
Stone Lord is an immersive experience that will keep the reader up well past their bedtime, quickly turning pages while champing impatiently for the next facet of the Tale to unfold.
I know as fact that there are those who would cock a doubtful eye or perhaps even wince slightly at the thought of yet another "Arthur-As-Young-King" story; riding the distant coattails of White, or perhaps even Disney.
With Stone Lord, nothing could be further from the truth.
The story is refreshingly unfamiliar, set in a convincing landscape and peopled with believable characters compelled in their actions by a full scope of human motivation, ranging from lofty to base. The names as they occur seem hauntingly familiar; echoes from ear's edge of recognition. Yet, once identified, it's as though we're meeting them for the first time. Otherwise hackneyed modern composites are given brand new life, breadth and definition, while the mandatory scenes of culturally embedded episodes tend to sneak up on a reader who barely has time to see them coming. I cite the mysterious Lady of the Lake and the fabled Sword in the Stone sequences as excellent examples among several.
Set with intentional vagueness somewhere in the Bronze Age, the story begins with an already long-established Stonehenge, called Khor Ghor, and the harrowing escape of a youthful Merlin, slated for Sacrifice within this legendary Citadel. Becoming instead the local Magic-Man, Merlin then travels across the countryside seeking Wisdom, Skill and Purpose. During this journey, all three are bestowed. Eventually becoming famous, loved and feared, a premise for the later emergence of Ardhu, High King of Albu, is set in motion through Merlin's cunning duplicity, political sleight-of-hand, and at great personal cost.
Themic issues within the Novel are remarkably few, though mention should be made of the speed at which some early chapters take place. Reedman races through the initial set-up as though hurrying to `the good parts' and we miss some of Merlin's backstory and potentially interesting incentive. Other marginal instances include issues of credibility. I cite the scene at Avebury when Ardhu is duped by his half-sister Morigau. One wonders how the newly crowned High King could slip away unnoticed by his ever-present retinue ― even for the requisite carnal episode that follows.
These instances are not the rule. Indeed Reedman redeems herself with an ability to maintain three distinct, well-paced story lines which seamlessly meet at their conclusion with appropriate crescendo. Nothing is overworked and other techniques show clever skill made to look easy. The rules of Framing, Motivation, and Color are followed throughout but are not conspicuous, while her literary influences are both seen and unseen ― some caught peeking from behind the craft's curtain, others shrouded within a pantheon of several well-respected Authors.
Mechanically, a cardinal rule is broken, i.e.: Never Self-Proof. Writers overly familiar with their own work inevitably fall prey to editorial fatigue. There are a few misspelled words, and an independent proofreader should have caught some of the reversed quotation marks. While none of this is germane to an otherwise engaging story, they nevertheless distract the eye.
As a freshman offering to shark-infested literary waters, Stone Lord holds its own well ― not only for the high quality of the writing, but with the fascinating, fresh approach to a belovéd, age-old Tale. A comfortable seat awaits Reedman next to Stewart and White, and I eagerly await the sequel, in hopes that it begins on the next page.
4 of 5 Stars
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Miss Josh Emmett
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I wanted to give this book two and half stars because I liked Parts 1 and 2, and the beginning of Part 3. Then I got lost...but:
If you are fan of historical fantasy novels with Celtic pronunciations, this is the book for you.
I am not a fan of this book. I would like to be, but I'm not. J.P. Reedman does have a turn of phrase. One of my favourites is, "Watching the Sun impale Himself upon the craggy fangs of rock that topped the long moor beyond the deep earth cave." But as to why `sun' and `himself' are capitalized, I don't know. Even as an ancient god, they would not be capitalized.
The basic story of Arthur, in this so-called Arthurian tale (as presented on the front cover), is an interesting take on the age. We know that `Camelot' is a myth, given the time period, and many wonderful spins on these people have not included this. One such is `Arthur of the Britons'. Oliver Tobias is most likely closer to the `real' Arthur, than Richard Harris. And I know that Reedman has done archeological work and studied the latest findings, making the characters and scenes as close to what they might have actually been than in other books. However, it was difficult for me to follow.
The names are way too much of mouthful for this American. Hwalchmai is an example. This is Sir Gawain. Frag-arak (sometimes spelled, Fragarak) is another. This is Lancelot's sword. The story of Gawain and the Green Knight are given short shrift with an ending that leaves him with either an old hag who can turn herself into a beautiful woman, or vice versa. The inventive use of Ardu, Art'igen (Art igen, Artigen) Pendraec for Arthur Pendragon, Fynavir for Guinevere, etc. was a bit confusing. And so many of the names were unpronounceable for me. So, is this really an `Arthurian' (with no mention of Arthur) tale or a fairly good copy of it?
Reedman does try to explain much of this away in, I guess, Part 4: Historical Notes. It would have been better to have put this in the front of the book. Also, like many novels before, a pronunciation guide would have been wonderful! I, also, went on the Facebook page and tried to explain some of this as nicely as I could, but was rebuffed, deleted and sent a couple of nasty messages. Not good. I say, "Own up to your work and don't use a go-between when you know the person."
Also, I don't understand the use of Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I just got into Part 1 about the young Merlin (actually spelled that way), when it abruptly cut off. Part 1 runs from pp. 1 to 50. Part 2 is about the young Ardu (Arthur) and is, again, abruptly cut off. Part 2 runs from pp. 51 to 86. Part 3, from p. 87 to the end of the book p. 280, is about Art'igen (King Arthur), Fynavir (Guinevere), An'kelet, also spelled Ankelet, (Lancelot), Hwalchami (Gawain) and others, with their back stories. No more parts. I believed that this was a one-off book. As I was about half way through it, I discovered that there is another in the works. If so, why give such short shrift to Merlin and the young Art, who seems to have the only nickname sometimes sorely out of place? Or just not write about them at all and start with King Arthur, using back stories woven in, as was done with other characters?
The story of Gawain and the Green Knight turns into silliness. The boar (T'orc) is given a much larger storyline, and don't read this part if you are eating. The ongoing graphic descriptions were something I felt unnecessary.
And the mistakes in this book gave me an eyesore: misspelled words, bad grammar, hitting `enter' instead of something else leaving the first part of the sentence on one line and the second on the next line, dropped punctuation, double spacing, NO spacing, dropped capitols. While one could say it was the fault of the editor/publisher, it is also the fault of the writer for approving the book to go to print. Even as a lowly fanfic writer, I use an editor, emailing it back and forth 3 to 4 times, and then reading through it, myself, one more time after she has finished.
By page 274, if you don't know the ending, good for you, because then it's a surprise! And the ending, itself, is very unsatisfying, unless you know there is a second book coming out, however this is never mentioned anywhere in Stone Lord.
I will have to take a pass on the second book, as I have lost interest in finding out what happens to these people. I need characters to come `alive' for me and this never happened. I love a good twist or two or three, but I felt worn out by the end of the first book.
P.S. I didn't use an editor for this. Please forgive any mistakes. I do, however, take constructive criticism!