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Fiction Historical

The Saxon Shore

A Dream of Eagles Book IV

by (author) Jack Whyte

Publisher
Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Oct 2018
Category
Historical, Historical, Action & Adventure
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780735237414
    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
    $24.00
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780140170474
    Publish Date
    May 2005
    List Price
    $11.99
  • CD-Audio

    ISBN
    9781721345083
    Publish Date
    Aug 2019
    List Price
    $59.99
  • CD-Audio

    ISBN
    9781522673583
    Publish Date
    Jun 2016
    List Price
    $21.99

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Description

Now available in trade paperback.
The intrigue and drama behind England's greatest legend continues in this fourth installment of Jack Whyte's internationally bestselling series.

Born of the chaos of the Dark Ages, the Dream of Eagles produced a king, a country and an everlasting legend. But legends do not tell the whole tale . . .

Uther Pendragon is dead. All that is left of him is his son, the orphaned baby Arthur--heir to the Colony of Camulod and born with both Roman heritage and the royal blood of the Hibernian Scots and the Celtic Welsh--who has been adopted by his cousin Caius Merlyn Britannicus. Merlyn is now the sole custodian of the great dream of his ancestors: that of independent survival in Britain amid the ruins of the Roman Empire. He is also the keeper of Excalibur, the wondrous sword crafted by his great-uncle Publius Varrus. It is up to Merlyn to teach the young Arthur all that he needs to know to unify the diverse clans of Britain under his kingship, and to ensure that the boy survives the deadly threats to his destiny--threats that arise from the bloody Saxon shore.

About the author

Best known for his original series of Arthurian novels, A Dream of Eagles (called The Camulod Chronicles in the US), and his Knights Templar trilogy, Jack Whyte has written 10 international bestsellers. He left Scotland for Canada in 1967 to teach high-school English, but soon gravitated to life on the road as a professional singer, actor and entertainer. In the 1970s he gained a wide audience as he wrote and performed his one-man tribute to Robbie Burns across North America. Public recitals of his own narrative verse led to him being appointed the bard of the Calgary Highlanders regiment, an honour he maintains to this day. A stint as a CBC national television writer preceded a successful business career in communications, but it was his long-time interest in both the legend of King Arthur and the 5th-century Roman military occupation of Britain that dictated Jack’s destiny. Since becoming a successful author, with his books translated into many languages, Jack has made time to support upcoming authors and participate in many writer gatherings, including the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. He writes every day and resides near his favoured golf course in Kelowna, BC. He is married with five adult children.

Jack Whyte's profile page

Excerpt: The Saxon Shore: A Dream of Eagles Book IV (by (author) Jack Whyte)

 
PROLOGUE
There is a traditional belief, seldom spoken of but widely held, that age brings wisdom, and that wisdom, once achieved through some arcane epiphany, continues to grow inexorably with increasing age. Like most people, I accepted that throughout my life, until the day I found that I had somehow grown old enough to be considered wise by others. The discovery frightened me badly and shook my faith in most of my other beliefs.
 
Now that I have survived everyone I once knew, I grow more aware each day of how unwise I have been throughout my life. Unwise might even be too mild a word for this folly of persis­tence I betray in clinging to a life of solitude and pain. The pain is unimportant, and in a total absence of sympathy it has become a form of penance I gladly accept and endure in expiation of my sins of omission and unpreparedness. The solitude, however, grows unbearable at times and I am now accustomed to talking to myself merely to hear the sound of a human voice. Sometimes I argue with myself. Sometimes I read aloud what I have written. Sometimes I speak my unformed thoughts, shaping them audibly to light a beacon in the darkness in my efforts to write down a clean, coherent chronicle of what once flourished proudly in this land but has now ceased to be.
 
I find it strange nowadays to think that I may be the only one alive in all this land who knows how to write words down, and because of that may be the only one who knows that words, unwrit­ten, have no value. Set down in writing, words are real; legible, memorable, exact and permitting recollection, imaginings and won­der. Otherwise, sung or spoken, whispered to oneself or shouted to the winds, words are ephemeral, perishing as they are uttered. That, at least, I have learned in my extreme age.
 
And so I write my chronicle, and in the writing of it I maintain the life in my old bones, unable to consider death while yet the task remains unfinished. For I believe this story must survive. Empires have risen in this world and fallen, and history takes note of few of them. Those that survive in the memories of men do so by virtue of the faults that flawed their greatness. But here in Britain, in my own lifetime, a spark ignited in the breast of one strong man and became a clean, pure flame to light the world, a beacon that might have outshone the great lighthouse of Pharos, had a sudden gust of willful wind not extinguished it prematurely. In the space of a few, bright years, something new stirred in this land; something unprec­edented; something wonderful; and men, being men, perceived it with stunned awe and then, being men, destroyed it without thought, for being new and strange.
 
When it was over, when the light was snuffed out like a candle flame, a young man, full of hurt and bewilderment, asked me to explain how everything had happened. He expected me to know, for I was Merlyn, the Sorcerer, Fount of all Wisdom. And in my folly, feeling for the youth, I sought to tell him. But I was too young, at sixty-four, to understand what had occurred and why it had been inevitable. That was a decade and a half ago. Even now, after years of solitary thought and questioning, I only know that, at the start of Arthur’s life, I had no thought of being who I am today, nor of how I could presume to teach a child to be the man, the King, the potent Champion he would become. In those years, I had far too much to learn, myself, to have had time for thoughts on teaching.
 
I know that by the rules of random chance Arthur should never have been born, but was; and then, being born, he should have died in infancy, yet lived. Feared and despised by men who had no knowledge of his nature, he should not have survived his early boyhood, yet escaped to grow. I know that, reared by men who scarcely knew the name or the meaning of kingship, he should never have emerged to be the High King he became, the culmina­tion of a dream dreamed long before, by men dead long before his birth. I know he was my challenge and my pride, my pupil and my life’s sole, crowned success. And I know the dream he fostered and made real deserves to live forever; hence this task of mine.

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