Monday, May 22, 2006

A Dream of Eagles: The Eagles Brood Review

Have I mentioned how much I love the Dream of Eagles novel series? The simple fact that I've gotten through three of the 600+ page novels in such a short time should tell you something. Last week I finished the third novel, The Eagles' Brood, which takes on a different perspective from the previous two.

While The Skystone and The Singing Sword were written from the perspective of Publius Varrus, it appears the remainder of the series is recorded by a very important mythical character, that of Merlyn himself. The Singing Sword ended with the forging of Excalibur, the birth of Uther Pendragon and Caius Merlyn Britannicus, and the withdrawl of the Roman Legions from Britain. It also saw the death of Caius Britannicus and Cladius Seneca, as well as Merlyn's young mother, Enid.

Now that both Cay and Publius' greatest fear has come to pass, the withdrawl of the Eagles and the lawless anarchy that follows, the series has indeed taken on a darker tone. The Eagles' Brood follows the relationship and maturity of both Merlyn and his cousin Uther, the future father of King Arthur, and as the armies of Camulod train and prepare for the harshness ahead, they are inseparable; or so it would appear.

Suffice it to say that an unfortunate event occurs that casts doubt between the two childhood friends, and is ultimately the driving force behind the entire legacy of this particular novel. Merlyn must ultimately come to grips with the responsibilities placed upon him as one of Camulod's greatest Commanders and warriors, the gaining and loss of many near to him, and the realization that his cousin may not be the man he always thought he was.

Once more, Jack Whyte pulls his reader in with such an engaging and unpredicatable narrative, that The Eagles' Brood is difficult to put down as you learn all about these new yet familiar mythical characters. As I've already mentioned, the series takes on a darker tone, and this is wonderfully demonstrated by the decay of the urban centres in Britain, the more detailed sexual encounters of various characters, and most importantly, the fury of war, for war there is a plenty in The Eagles' Brood. With the Legions gone, raids increase ten-fold, and certain British residents seek the domination of the entire island. There are several large scale and richly detailed conflicts in the novel, all amazing to both read and visualize.

One last aspect of note would be the extensive examination of the changes in the Christian Church at this time, and what they mean not only to the people of Britain, but to the ideals of Camulod itself. Suffice it to say, the themes discussed here-in are both controversial, and in my opinion, an excellent examination of man's lust for power at any cost.

If you've enjoyed the previous novels in the Dream of Eagles series, than you will not be disappointed with The Eagles' Brood. It is an excellent continuation of the series, dark as it is. Though from darkness, there may always spring a new light...

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