Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: Uther Pendragon

I've always found the idea of parallel novels interesting.  Basically parallel novels take place during the same time as another novel, but from another point of view  Uther by Jack Whyte is the seventh of his A Dream of eagles series, but it takes place at the same time as the third novel in the series, The Eagles Brood.

The novel focuses on the life of Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur Pendragon, and his life as king of Cambria, which was touched on, but never explored in the rest of the series.

In the main cannon, Uther comes across as a brash, angry young man who ends up the king of a tribal society and doomed to die before his son is even a year old.  By the time I read this book, Uther was long dead and Arthur has become the accepted high king of the land.

As a novel Uther looks at the story following the king, rather than his cousin Merlin (who is the narrator and protagonist of books four through six of the series), and while staying true to the character as shown in the main series, also allows the reader to see his passions, drives, and uncover the mysteries behind a number of mysteries introduced throughout the main series.

In a lot of ways the book feels like a classic tragedy, following a heroic but flawed man as he races towards his meeting with destiny.  Going in, I wasn't sure that I would enjoy book where I felt I already knew everything that would happen, but it was the character of Uther that kept me reading, he was just so interesting, so relatable to me that I couldn't put the book down.

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