Growing up I read as many King Arthur books as I could get my hands on. From T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" to Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" I thought I had read every way King Arthur's story could be told, but M.K. Hume has proven me wrong. Her story is imaginative, creative, unique, and something completely different, while still staying true to the traditional stories. Traditional characters such as Arthur's foster father and brother, Sir Ector and Sir Kay make an appearance as do Gareth, Gawyane, Morgan, Merlin, Uther, and King Lot. "Dragon's Child" is the first story I've read where Sir Ector's wife is introduced. Livinia is a great character and a believable wife for Ecotr and foster mother for Arthur. Though I will always prefer Bradley's Morgaine from "The Mists of Avalon" I think Hume's Morgan is a complex character who is feared for her dark arts, yet her anger and bitterness may have readers pitying her too.
In each chapter Arthur grows and develops his own set of morals. Readers will get an insight into why Arthur becomes such a legendary king as they read about his upbringing. Arthur is compassionate, loyal, loving, and completely devoid of all emotion when he has to be. Readers will want Arthur to be king, and they will mourn the loss of his innocence and simple life of Sir Ector's steward right along with him.
Usually Arthur grows up in a British medieval castle, but in Hume's version he grows up in a Roman villa, and I find this to be a fresh take on a well used setting. The details are enchanting, and readers will get a clear view of the complexity of Arthur's time period. "Dragon's Child" is a new and refreshing take on a well written about legend any King Arthur fan will find themselves unable to put down.
Arthur is a lowly foster son without a past when three mysterious strangers come to his home and change his life forever. Soon Arthur becomes his foster father's trusted steward and he enjoys his simple life working among the people of his Roman villa. When the three strangers return they insist Arthur leave the only home he's ever known to claim his destiny. Though he doesn't want to leave, Arthur has little choice in the matter and finds himself face to face with Uther Pendragon High King of the Britons. Serving Uther and battling Saxons becomes Arthur's new life, but once again his destiny is changed when Uther dies and Arthur finds himself in the running to become the next High King.
The Dark Ages: a time of chaos and bloodshed. The Roman legions have long deserted the isles and the despotic Uther Pendragon, High King of Celtic Britain, is nearing death. As the tyrant falters, his kingdom is being torn apart by the minor kings who jostle for his throne. But only one man can bring the Celts together as a nation and restore peace – King Arthur.
We meet Arthur first as a shy, subservient twelve-year-old living in the home of Lord Ector, who took in the boy when he was a babe to protect him from murderous kin. One day, three influential men arrive at Ector’s villa and arrange for Arthur to be taught the skills of the warrior: blade and shield, horse and fire, pain and bravery.
When they return years later, the country is in desperate straits, for the great cities of the east are falling to the menace of the Saxon hordes.
In spite of Uther, Arthur becomes a war chieftain and wins many battles to earn him the trust of his Celtic warriors and prove that he alone can unite the tribes. But if he is to fulfill his destiny and become the High King, Arthur must find Uther’s crown and sword.
The future of Britain is at stake.