Saturday, September 30, 2006
The Eagle Review
This past Monday, I've completed the most engrossing novel series I have ever had the privlage of reading. With the completion of The Eagle, I have brought the Dream of Eagles series to a close, and what a literary masterpiece it is.
The Eagle is the final companion book to the series, and a stand-alone continuation of the previous companion book, Clothar the Frank. The Eagle continues the story of Clothar, better known as Lancelot, as he becomes a knight in the court of King Arthur. Along with Arthur's other knights and Merlyn, Clothar struggles to achieve order in Britain as it is continually plagued by outlanders looking to both plunder and settle. The Eagle also see many key events come full circle from earlier in the series, and Clothar finds himself involved in a lengthy plot that deals with a tragic event of Arthur's past.
One thing readers must be aware of with The Eagle is that it is not a story about Arthur or Camulod itself; they are all supporting characters and backdrops. It is the story of Clothar, seen from Clothar's eyes where ever he may be, which often is not from Britain. As Arthur seeks to increase his strength by forming outside alliances, he has Clothar travel back to his homeland of Gaul, and many events that transpire in Camulod are discovered through letters sent to Clothar from Merlyn or Arthur himself.
While some readers might find this unfortunate, it does stick with the narrative perspective of the series and is no less gripping than the other novels while maintaining continuity. There are still many battles and wars, romances, and principles throughout The Eagle, and none of them disappoint.
For a tale that spans five generations, The Eagle is an excellent conclusion to the series and lacks the feeling of being rushed towards the end that I found The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis had. I must confess though that while having a sense of both closure and satisfaction from completing the series, I must also express a sense of loss simply because it's over. I've spent a solid six months of my life being engrossed in the historical fiction of Camulod, and it's unfortunate that it's complete seeing as how there are many other stories that could be told, however I suppose too much of a good thing would ruin it.
The concepts around the legend that The Eagle tackles are fascinating as well. How the concept of the knights came to be, why Arthur married Gwinefer, and how the High King came to be weak enough to be slain. There is even a deep look at Atila the Hun and the chaos that his massive army caused around the globe. Rich with history mixed with legend, The Eagle, as with the entire Dream of Eagles series, will pull the reader in with its strong characters and locations.
In closing, I'd like to thank Jack Whyte for all the hard work he's put into A Dream of Eagles as I've truly enjoyed reading it, and I'm greatly looking forward to a second read-through of the history of Camulod.