Uther’s Destiny (A Light in the Dark Ages Book 3)
The Romans have left Britain and with their departure, organized government has come to an end. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes are invading, destroying what cities remain. Uther, current King, is the last line of defense for the embattled Britons. Attacked on all sides by the invaders and fighting against disloyal knights, Uther must defend the last territories free of the Angles and Saxons.
Theme of the Book
Uther’s Destiny is a story of unwinnable conflict between the old and the new. It is also a story of courage, of ruthless behavior, and of devotion to a cause. The loyalty evident between Uther and his knights forms the motivating factor for much of the action. But, as readers will already know, devotion to a lost cause, while noble, is tragic.
What I Liked About the Story
Mr. Walker has based his trilogy on the legend of King Arthur as written by Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Welsh monk who wrote a history of Britain in about 1138, long after Arthur had supposedly lived. In contrast to the popular idea of the Dark Ages as being completely uncivilized and barbaric, Mr. White gives the reader a picture of a complex society, with political machinations that would not be out of place today.
This is a story of conflict. There is the territorial conflict between the invading Anglo-Saxons and the native Romanized Britons. But there is also conflict between the old ways of the Druids and their pantheon of gods and the new Christian religion. Uther himself seems more comfortable with the old religion but is accommodating to the new as it raises the morale of both his army and his people. The plot is set in a time of transition between what is left of the Roman civilization in Britain and the incoming Anglo-Saxon culture.
But this is not a dry historical tome. It is a story full of action, of love and betrayal, of battle and of fully realized characters who will draw the reader into a world beyond imagination. In a meticulously researched book, the reader will find the whole cast of Arthurian characters. We learn of the roots of the enmity between Arthur and Morgana and her son Mordred. Merlyn makes his appearance not as a magician but as a healer and counselor to Uther. We learn of the religious rites of the Druids and of their practice of human sacrifice.
All readers will know the story of King Arthur, of the sword in the stone, and of Merlyn the magician. Uther’s Destiny takes place before Arthur comes to the throne but he does have a role in the novel as a young man preparing to take his place in mythology.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
The only problem I had with the novel was the use of Roman place names for locations in Britain. I read the book in a Kindle edition which did not have a map, and one would certainly have been useful for non-British readers.
While there is plenty of violence in the book, especially in the battle scenes, the violence is never overwhelming or gratuitous. It was a violent era and readers should be prepared.
Mr. Walker has written an excellent historical novel. Although much of the history is based on legend and not on fact, it does not seem to matter. If the scenes Mr. Walker has written are not actually true, they could be and that is what gives the book its fascination. Anyone with the least interest in British history or in the Dark Ages will appreciate Uther’s Destiny. This is a recommended read, winning the One Stop Fiction Book Award.