The Skystone by Jack Whyte

The Skystone book cover
Rating 9.1/10
Fictional it may be, but entirely credible it remains.

My father bought me this book when it was published back in 96 and it delighted me at the time. Ever since it has burgeoned into an entirely credible explanation of the Aurthur myth. Indeed, the mutation of the Roman town of Camulodunum to Camulod, to Camelot is, despite it fictional setting, one of the potentially better explanations for the historical fact that I have ever heard ventured.

Historical plausibility aside, Jack Whyte's Skystone is one of the finest Arthurian historical series available. His attention to historical detail weaves superbly in with the legend and romance of Arthurian chivalry espoused by Thomas Malory to produce a story that is as thrilling as it is magical.

The Skystone is the story of two Romans - the grizzled Publius Varrus and his ex-commander - Caiu Britannicus who remain in Britain in the 4th century A.D. as the Roman legions withdraw with Stilicho towards the heart of the troubled empire. Against this ucertain and turbulent backdrop these two erstwwhile bastions of nobility found a colony called Camulod to safekeep the Roman-British peoples from the threatening presence on the Gaulish and Nordic mainlands. Varrus tells his story as a detailed reminiscence, culminating in the foundation of Camulod and the discovery of the skystone - a meteorite - from which he crafts both a dagger and a sword - to become the famous Exaclibur in later installments. Throughout we see a people struggling for survival, with great organisational skills, heart and courage as they attempt to reconcile the ordered Roman way of life with the newly reimposed Celtic lifestyle. A firm rock in a sea of change, into which a sword is placed that symbolises hope for the future generations.

Jack Whyte has lent a wholly plausible historical air to the Arthur legends to the degree that it could become a history as it offers more reason over established historical scholarship. Fictional it may be, but entirely credible it remains. This is one interpretation that should be read.

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