Grail (Pendragon Cycle Series #5)

Grail (Pendragon Cycle Series #5)

Grail (Pendragon Cycle Series #5)

Grail (Pendragon Cycle Series #5)

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Overview

A great king faces the ultimate challenge: a dangerous quest through realms of magic and the undead toward a confrontation with his destiny

Drought, plague, and war have left the Isle of the Mighty battered and its heart, the beloved Arthur, grievously injured—until a secret relic is brought before the dying King; a Holy Grail that heals his wounds and restores his vigor.

But soon evil enters the royal court in the guise of a beautiful maiden; a soulless, malevolent force capable of seducing the King’s loyal champion, confounding the sage whom some call Merlin, and carrying the sacred Grail—and Arthur’s adored Queen—off into the dark unknown.

GRAIL

“Suspenseful . . . soulful, philosophical . . . engagingly drawn . . . Arthurian Britain is invoked with robust verisimilitude.” –Publishers Weekly


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380781041
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 08/26/2008
Series: Pendragon Cycle Series , #5
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

About The Author
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion. Lawhead makes his home in Austria with his wife.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

1. Gwalchavad, Lord of Orcady, write this. And no gentle labor it is. Nor less rough the reading, I fear. Unlike Myrddin, or the brown-cloaked clerics, I am no master of the scribbler's craft. God's truth, the sword hilt better fits my hand than this close-pared reed. Even so, I am assured my crabbed script will live long after the hand that framed it is dust. This Brother Aneirin assures me, and he is wise in such things. So be it.

I was born in sight of Ynys Prydain, with my brother and twin, Gwalcmai--both sons of noble Lot, himself a king of the Orcades. My birth, in itself, is of small consequence. But for Arthur, I would have lived all my days in that wild place and never traveled beyond the boundary stones of my father's island realm; but for Arthur, my life might have passed in hunting, fishing, and settling the squabbles of petty chieftains. I would never have heard of the Kingdom of Summer--much less the Grail--and truly, I would not be writing this at all.

Still, I will persist in my endeavor so you may know the way of it. Anyone with ears has heard of Arthur and his trials and triumphs; tales and more tales flood the land from Lloegres to Celyddon. Many bards tell them now, and a few of the monkish kind have written them, too. A sorry scribe I may be, though perhaps not least among these gall-stained ink-spillers.

They speak of wars and battles, and that is right, They tell of brave men defending the Island of the Mighty with their lives. These tales are good, and some are even true; I take nothing away from them. But my task is ordered differently.

See, now, it is the Grail I tell: that strange stirrerof marvels, that most uncanny vessel of desire. Dangerous, yes, and more beautiful than words alone can tell, it is the holiest treasure in all this worlds-realm. But for Arthur, that precious cup would surely have been forgotten, and its healing virtues lost through ignorance and neglect. Yet, truth be told, but for Arthur, none of the terrors and tribulations I describe would have befallen us. But for Arthur, the Grail was almost lost, and a flame of Heaven's pure fire extinguished on the earth.

That is a tale few have heard, and it is worth more than all the others. Ah, but I race before myself. Know you, the Battlehost of the Ancient Enemy is large, and falters before nothing save the True Word. And the sound of the clash when those two combatants met will echo through the ages, I do believe it. Blessed among men, I was favored to ride at my king's right hand in the foreranks of the fight. Tremble and turn pale; sain yourself with runes and strong prayers, call upon the company of angels, and harken well to my warning: where great good endures, great evil gathers close about. This I know.

Hear me! Speak of the Grail and you speak a mystery with a secret at its heart, and I, Gwalchavad, Prince of Orcady, know the secret as none other. If the telling gives you pleasure, well and good . . . but I should not like cold eyes to read it in this book.

Therefore, look to your heart; look long and hard. If you are friend to all that is true and right, then welcome and read on. But if you would savor the sauce of slander and shadow tricks, feast on lies, betrayals, and seductions, you will find little to your liking here. Blessed Jesu, I mean to tell the truth of what I know.

Thus, I begin:

For seven long years we warred against the ravaging Saecsens--seven years of hardship and privation, misery, torment, and death. Under Arthur's command, and with the aid of the Swift Sure Hand, we prevailed in the end.

This is well known--indeed, even small children know how the warhost of Britain raised the wall on Baedun Hill and destroyed the bold invader--so I will not say more, except to point out that we had scarcely drawn breath from our hard-fought victory at Baedun when we were beset by the wandering Vandal horde. Fighting first in Ierna, then in Britain, we chased Amilcar, that greedy boar of battle, over most of Lloegres before he was subdued.

A strange war, that; it lasted little more than a season, yet brought more waste and destruction to our land than all the Saecsen battles put together. Why is it that trouble always seems to come in threes? For with the havoc of the Vandali came plague and drought as well. Those who grumble and complain would do well to remember that the Pendragon had three enemies to fight, not just one. If there is another king who could have done better against such odds, then show me that man, I say, or shut your mouth. There is no pleasing some people. Though many raise their voices in accusation and make loud lament over lost lands and such, I still think Arthur chose the better course.

The thing is over now, in any event, so it does no good to piss and moan. If they knew the Bear of Britain at all, they would realize their miserable whining only hardens his conviction the more.

Better a trustworthy foe than a treacherous friend, and we have seen enough of scheming friends. The Island of the Mighty is better off without the likes of Ceredig, Morcant, Brastias, Gerontius, Urien, and their rebellious ilk always making trouble. The Devil take them all, I say. They will not be missed.

Where were they--those who make such loud complaint-when Arthur stood against the Vandal lord? Urien and Brastias thought to usurp the High King's portion, but did I hear them offer to take the High King's place on the blood-soaked battleground?

Grail. Copyright © by Stephen Lawhead. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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