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Pendragons Banner (Pendragon's Banner Series #2)

Pendragons Banner (Pendragon's Banner Series #2)

4.2 33
by Helen Hollick

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Who was the man
... who became the legend
... we know as

Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most


Who was the man
... who became the legend
... we know as

Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.

At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britain—and keeping his wife and three sons safe—proves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.

In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.


"Hollick's interpretation is bold, affecting and well worth fighting to defend."
Publishers Weekly

"Weaves together fact, legend, and inspired imagination to create a world so real we can breathe the smoke of its fires and revel in the Romano- British lust for life, love and honour."
Historical Novel Review

"Camelot as it really was... a very talented writer."
Sharon Kay Penman, bestselling author of Devil's Brood


"Hollick juggles a cast of characters and a bloody, tangled plot with great skill."
Publishers Weekly

"If only all historical fiction could be this good."
Historical Novels Review

"Stripped of its medieval trappings, the story of Arthur's rise loses none of its legendary power… this [is a] well-researched, skillfully constructed trilogy opener."
Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This colorful second installment of Hollick's King Arthur trilogy (following The Kingmaker) continues the bloody legend as the young king of Britain tries to keep his throne amid traitors, rivals and deadly treachery. This is a period of savage brutality, deceit, feud, greed and lust for power, with Arthur, the Pendragon, as merciless and cunning as his challengers. Arthur is 24, married to his second wife, the beautiful Gwenhwyfar. His hostile first wife, Winifred, schemes to unseat Arthur and put her own son on the throne, but other women are also pregnant by Arthur, and familial royal murder plots abound. When Arthur is not bedding his wife, mistress, prostitutes or female spies, he is busy chopping up foes with sword and battle-ax, while doing his own scheming to outwit and destroy his arch enemy, Morgause, who harbors a bitter hatred for Arthur and his family and is the only enemy Arthur fears. Refreshingly, Hollick's Arthur is no Hollywood hero; he's a vicious opportunist, devious and manipulative, a lusty master of expedient decision and action. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A vivid portrayal... A great novel for those looking for a darker alternative history of Camelot." - Hollywood Today

"This novel is an ambitious twist on the well worn tale of Arthur Pendragon, and it succeeds because Hollick has made Arthur human and accessible. Written as history rather than myth," - Historical Novel Reviews

"A vividly alive portrait of England in the Middle Ages
" - The Tome Traveller's Weblog

"Pendragon's Banner is a rich and gripping tale, but not without its light and often comical moments which the author interjects throughout the novel.

" - Enchanted by Josephine

"Hollick gave us a nitty-gritty, flawed, courageous, even - inadvertently perhaps - sexy Arthur. Perhaps, in our opinion, one of the very best portrayals of this legendary warrior King." - A Reader's Respite

"Pendragon's Banner is a story of human love and conflict" - Carla Nayland Historical Fiction

"I just love all the elements of convoluted relationships and kinships. I think that's one of the more fascinating facets of the Pendragon tales; how the characters are inter-related one way or another." - Found Not Lost

"Hollick's version brings an added dimension to the King Arthur tale and will fascinate you as well. " - Jenny Loves to Read

"I appreciate that Hollick decided to write dialogue in a more sophisticated and style." - The Courtier's Book

"Helen Hollick has an amazing ability to paint the perfect picture with her descriptive prose." - He Followed Me Home

"I was stoked to find that not only is this trilogy pointy-hat free, but it's centered around the world in which a real Arthur would have lived." - livejournal

"I was pleasantly surprised with this book because it really transformed the Arthurian legend for me and made me very interested in the history, the romance and the action.

" - Books Like Breathing

"Hollick brings Arthur to life in a way I haven't read before. If you are looking for a book that keeps you glued to the pages and up all night, this is the one for you." - She Read a Book

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Pendragon's Banner Series , #2
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.55(h) x 1.72(d)

Read an Excerpt

Stomp Stomp Stomp Stomp Stomp Stomp Stomp.

Horrid Henry was practicing his elephant dance.

Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap.

Perfect Peter was practicing his raindrop dance.

Peter was practicing being a raindrop for his dance class show. Henry was also supposed to be practicing being a raindrop.

But Henry did not want to be a raindrop. He did not want to be a tomato, a string bean, or a banana either.

Stomp Stomp Stomp went Henry's heavy boots.
Tap Tap Tap went Peter's tap shoes.

"You're doing it wrong, Henry," said Peter.
"No I'm not," said Henry.
"You are too," said Peter. "We're supposed to be raindrops."

Stomp Stomp Stomp went Henry's boots. He was an elephant smashing his way through the jungle, trampling on everyone who stood in his way.

"I can't concentrate with you stomping," said Peter. "And I have to practice my solo."
"Who cares?" screamed Horrid Henry. "I hate dancing, I hate dance class, and most of all, I hate you!"

This was not entirely true. Horrid Henry loved dancing. Henry danced in his bedroom. Henry danced up and down the stairs. Henry danced on the new sofa and on the kitchen table.

What Henry hated was having to dance with other children.

"Couldn't I go to karate instead?" asked Henry every Saturday.

"No," said Mom. "Too violent."
"Judo?" said Henry.
"N-O spells no," said Dad.

So every Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m., Henry and Peter's father drove them to Miss Impatience Tutu's Dance Studio.

Miss Impatience Tutu was skinny and bony. She had long stringy gray hair. Her nose was sharp. Her elbows were pointy. Her knees were knobbly. No one had ever seen her smile.

Perhaps this was because Impatience Tutuhated teaching.

Impatience Tutu hated noise.
Impatience Tutu hated children.

But most of all Impatience Tutu hated Horrid Henry.

This was not surprising. When Miss Tutu shouted, "Class, lift your left legs," eleven left legs lifted. One right leg sagged to the floor.

When Miss Tutu screamed, "Heel, toe, heel, toe," eleven dainty feet
tapped away. One clumpy foot stomped toe, heel, toe, heel.

When Miss Tutu bellowed, "Class, skip to your right," eleven bodies turned to the right. One body galumphed to the left.

Naturally, no one wanted to dance with Henry. Or indeed, anywhere near Henry. Today's class, unfortunately, was no different.

"Miss Tutu, Henry is treading on my toes," said Jumpy Jeffrey.

"Miss Tutu, Henry is kicking my legs," said Lazy Linda.
"Miss Tutu, Henry is bumping me," said Vain Violet.
"HENRY!" screeched Miss Tutu.
"Yeah," said Henry.
"I am a patient woman, and you are trying my patience to the limit," hissed Miss Tutu. "Any more bad behavior and you will be very sorry."

"What will happen?" asked Horrid Henry eagerly.

Miss Tutu stood very tall. She took a long, bony finger and dragged it slowly across her throat.

Meet the Author

Helen Hollick lives in northeast London with her husband, daughter, and a variety of pets, which include several horses, cats, and two dogs. She has two major interests: Roman/Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy—the early eighteenth century.

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Pendragon's Banner 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Set from 459 to 466, Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner Triology. It tells the story of Arthur of Britain, who fought, conquered enemies and brought peace to England. It also tells of the love between Arthur and his wife, Gwenhwyfar, better known to most readers as Guinevere. A king's life was one of war, of alliances and betrayals. There were few families of royalty, and the balance of power between them and the desire for more power fuels much of the action in this book. Arthur had many enemies, men who wanted the kingdom he had carved out. Some of these included Lot, husband of Morgause, Arthur's stepmother; Hueil, a Northern ruler who attempted to defeat Arthur and even his own uncle, who persuaded Arthur's council to split the kingdom. Arthur had other enemies. Morgause was a sworn enemy and cursed him that she would see all his sons dead. Winifred was his first wife, put aside when he met Gwenhwyfar, and resentful of that, wanting to force Arthur to acknowledge her son and willing to join with his enemies to accomplish her goals. There were other women also, slaves he took, women he had affairs with and the Lady of the Lake, who bore him another son. Women's lives were hard; their children lucky to survive to adulthood. There were many ways to lose a child, war, accidents, illnesses, plots. Children were pawns in the power plays of the powerful, and as they grew, they learned to desire and scheme to gain power for themselves. Hollick has created a realistic tale of this ancient history and this mythological man. Arthur is shown as a warrior first and foremost, quick to go to battle, to defend what was his or claim more. He is shown as a man greatly in love with his wife. But Hollick also shows the dark side of Arthur. That love did not prevent him from having other women. Reflecting the violence of his time, slaves were treated as chattel. Those who lost battles were maimed or blinded, or simply killed. In one gruesome episode, Arthur has Lot and Morgause's daughter killed after Lot's defeat, to eliminate her as a problem in the future. Readers of historical fiction will enjoy Hollick's tale and be eager to read the other books in her triology. Arthur Pendragon's reputation has survived for centuries, and a glimpse into what life must have been like in his court is fascinating. This book is recommended for historical fiction readers as well as those interested in a complex tale of power, corruption, love and war.
gl More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Helen Hollick's retelling of this early part of King Arthur's life. Unlike the medieval Arthur who seemed focused on the crusades and the older King who would hold festivals and jousts, the Arthur that we meet in Pendragon's Banner is a young king occupied with winning battles - much of the book is devoted to wresting control of his territory and keeping the land from invaders. Hollick's Arthur is deep into the work of creating his kingdom. He does not yet have his own castle, his Camelot and his round table is just a glimmer of a thought. He must still go through a great deal before establishing himself as the King Arthur of legend, but we can see from the man that he is in Pendragon's Banner the king that he will become. It is easy to care for Arthur, his loyal and skilled Artoriani and his loyal wife Gwenhywyfar. When they face the cunning and treachery of Arthur's longtime enemy Morgause, it make for a gripping tale and a satisfying read. Hollick weaves in bits of the Arthurian legend, details of the man that hint at his life and legend as king. Plus, Hollick's fight scenes are gripping and well done - and as enjoyable as those found in a good Bernard Cornwell tale. Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 2009), 496 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
readtomuchMN More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as much as the first. Hollick's version of Arthur and Gwenhwyar is less a fairy tale and more a recount of history lost. It is a great book to get lost in. It is a well written book. I will return back to this series to read and reread again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best book I have ever read and reread. Spellbinding. Helen Hollick Shows Arthur as a real living, breathing man warts and all. I highly recommend this and the other books in the Pendragon trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting take on the life of King Arthur taking into consideration what historical facts are available. I would have liked more of the "old"religion included.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a series of arthut man lover father leader and king, tough rich with detail and politics and yes warfare, if you are looking for the sirupy arthur of round table fame, sorry wrong series, if not you are in for a wonderful ride
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great new twist on the King Arthur legend. Makes for some surprizes and is compelling. A great storyteller which keeps you reading long into the night. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel continued the story well, but I was most impressed with how thematically different it was. The author's pacing was also excellent. Full of battle, politics, relationships, psychology... a compelling read.
sunshineluvr More than 1 year ago
An excellent read - could not put the book down. It was well-written and not the fairy tale I knew. The geographical and historical background made it an exciting read. The characters were described in a way that made me feel I loved and cared for them or hated them. Loved this even more than the first book and look forward to reading the last of the trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting series with lots of action and no attempt to make believe it is up to the reader to decide if King Arthur were really there.
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scrappynana More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down! The entire trilogy is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable historic novel. I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.
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