News and Reviews

King Arthur: Dragon’s Child By M.K. Hume (Book One of the King Arthur Trilogy)

3.93 · Rating Details · 733 Ratings and reviews.

Uther Pendragon, High King of Britain, is dying. As he weakens, Britain is being torn apart by squabbling kings. Only one man can bring them together. This is the legend of Artorex, the man destined to be King Arthur. Artorex, tall for his years, is growing up in the household of Lord Ector. Artorex was sent here by the Bishop of Glastonbury when he was but a babe in arms and, although his parentage is unknown, life has been unremarkable. That is, until the arrival of three men who arrange for him to be trained in the skills of the warrior; blade and shield, horse and fire; pain and bravery. By the time the men return, Artorex is both a father and a warrior — and married to Lady Gallia. The country is in a desperate state — Londinium is about to fall to the Saxons and Artorex is needed to help fight their advance. But to do so, he must leave his wife and family in the care of others. In an act of appalling treachery, they are slaughtered. But despite his grief, Artorex’s destiny is set. He launches into a campaign of battle against the Saxon hordes, earning himself the trust of all men, and proving himself to be the only worthy successor to Uther. But Uther cannot accept Artorex’s role and hides his sword and crown. If Artorex is to unite the kings and fulfil his destiny, he needs the weaponry destined to be worn by the High King of the Britons. Can he find Uther’s hiding place? The future of Britain is at stake!

King Arthur: Warrior of the West (Book Two of the King Arthur Trilogy)

In King Arthur: Warrior of the West, retired Queensland academic M K Hume fuses history and myth to offer an imaginative retelling of the later years of Arthur’s reign. This is historical fiction of the most bloodthirsty and roistering kind…… Warrior of the West reads perfectly well as an independent novel. Fans of Fiona McIntosh, David Gemmell’s Troy and Manfredi’s ‘Alexander’ series will greedily devour this book…… – Australian Bookseller & Publisher Magazine (November 2009, Vol 89, No. 4)

I’ve really been looking forward to reading this book: the first novel in Hume’s Arthurian trilogy was one of the standout books of 2009 for me. It was gripping, historically accurate and told a great story convincingly……….. This is Camelot as it could have happened, with very little myth and hardly any magic, save for that of a good story well told………I enjoyed this as a worthy successor to the first book. I can’t wait for the final volume. ….Excerpts from review by Ian Banks www.spechusphere.com

MK. Hume is now on my favourite author’s list. I find that her writing style is quite unique in its level of detail and originality. Her ability to paint gory battle scenes and then move on to describe the subtle complexities in human relationships is second to none. You will certainly not be disappointed if you are looking for `blood and guts’, but will also be pleasantly surprised with the wonderfully described human thought processes and characterisation…..I have read and greatly enjoyed Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian trilogy but have to say that M. K. Hume’s Arthurian saga is an excellent alternative rendition of perhaps one of the most best loved British legends. This story contains all the traditional elements of the popular legend but is fresh, gritty and most importantly believable. I eagerly anticipate further works from this remarkable author. – J. Cooper 27 August 2010

…..as the second book progresses into the reign of Artor (his adult name) we start to see the boy we had watched grow in Dragon’s Child, mature into a man that has to make viciously hard decisions in a brutal and bloody world….. These first two instalments in Hume’s King Arthur series are thus an excellent addition to the world of Arthurian fiction. Refreshing in their approach if not their subject matter, the two novels create characters that will endure, and most crucially these are not always the “usual suspects” of this kind of work. It is the nameless Celts who make these novels, rather than the warrior legends a reader might expect…..I for one am looking forward to the final book in this debut series, and can only hope that Hume keeps up the momentum of the first two books. Somehow, I think she probably will. – www.bookgeeks.co.uk

King Arthur: The Bloody Cup (Book Three of the King Arthur Trilogy)

The first two volumes of M.K. Hume’s Arthurian trilogy were released in 2009 to critical acclaim…This is an amazing conclusion, but still manages to offer some surprises along the way….. The story, retold, retooled and ripped-off as it has been over the years, is instantly recognisable and it’s hard for any author to come up with new things to say about it…..Hume not only manages to give us a historically realistic Arthur, but also manages to twist the established legends into new forms, making us think about their meaning anew. – Ian Banks Specusphere (March 2010)

The third book in this debut series was eagerly awaited by the reviewer, intrigued as to how the author would deal with later stages of Arthur’s life. The fact the novel is “The Bloody Cup” is also intriguing, given the obvious link to the Holy Grail and all the connotations this attached…….. Having created Artorex the boy, and then Artor the King, in Dragon’s Child and Warrior of the West, in this volume Hume undertakes what must have been a heartbreaking task: the slow destruction and decline of all that had been built before – Artor’s twilight years……..I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciated strong prose and effective storytelling. The real King Arthur may have been a myth. He may have been a Celtic warlord, or nothing more than an embellished folk tale. Whatever the case, M.K. Hume’s Artor lived and breathed for three captivating novels. Impressive, and thoroughly enjoyable. –– Jon Owens @ Bookgeeks

…..it’s an altogether totally original version of the Arthur legend, owing more to Cornwell and Iggulden than to Malory….. but it’s the characters who stand out in this fantastic story of how his arch-enemies sought to bring about the demise of the man who united Britain at the very beginning of the Dark Ages. It’s a slice of history that’s totally, utterly believable. Magnificent. Read them all – www.booksmonthly.co.uk 01.04.2010

……it was a with bated breath that I had to wait to see if the third part in the series would live up to my expectations…… What occurs within is not only a fitting tribute to perhaps the reality of Arthur (as MK Hume sets the tale in Post Roman times) but perhaps a great example of an author who loves her work so much that she’ll go the extra mile to make sure that it will please the reader…… A truly great series in the historical fiction world and one that I really can’t recommend enough. – www.amazon.co.uk Gareth Wilson “drosdelnoch2′′ 21.03.2010

I discovered this trilogy by accident, but I’m so glad I did – it’s an altogether totally original version of the Arthur legend, owing more to Cornwell and Iggulden than to Malory, – it’s different enough to grab my attention, and it’s kept me engrossed over several days and nights during the exceptionally cold March here in North Norfolk. It’s a set of books I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s a slice of history that’s totally, utterly believable. Magnificent. Read them all…If I had to choose one trilogy on Arthur, I really think it would have to be this one… – Books Monthly.2010

Prophecy: Death of an Empire. (Book Two of the Merlin Trilogy)

This is the second instalment in M.K. Hume’s Merlin Trilogy. Keen to uncover his father’s identity, but also driven by the need to further develop his healing skills and knowledge, 19-year-old Myrddion Emrys, with a group of companions, leaves Britain and travels across France and Italy to Constantinople.. The young healer makes powerful enemies on the way as he becomes involved in a fight for survival, threatened not only by Attila’s hordes, but also the deadly politics of the dying monolith Rome which is disintegrating under the weight of corruption and decadence.

This is an original and gripping story about the young Merlin before he becomes advisor to Arthur. The author portrays Myrddion/Merlin as a healer with an uncontrollable ability to see the future. Fast paced and well written, the author brings alive the death throes of a corrupt Rome. The action scenes are well written and exciting, while the characters are vibrant and totally convincing. I can’t wait for the next book. Recommended. – Historical Novel Society

Prophecy: Web of Deceit. (Book Three of the Merlin Trilogy)

M. K. Hume’s epic retelling of the legend of Merlin concludes in this gripping tale of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal. This is the earth-shattering conclusion to the legend of Merlin.

Returning from his epic journey to Constantinople, Myrddion Merlinus finds Briton in the grip of Uther Pendragon’s blood-thirsty war against the Saxons. Coerced into obedience, Myrddion must serve Uther’s brother Ambrosius, the High King, in order to spare the lives of his beloved fellow travelers.

Ambrosius is an honest and wise ruler and Myrddion’s skills are put to good use setting up a spy network while training healers across the land. But when Ambrosius is poisoned, his untimely death propels Myrddion back into the callous hands of Uther Pendragon. The new High King will stop at nothing to force Myrddion to accede to his unthinkable wishes. Myrddion’s only solace is the prophecy that his suffering is not in vain. But will he survive the taint of Uther’s madness and enable good to come from evil? – Goodreads

The Last Dragon. (Book One of the Twilight Trilogy)

Review published on September 30, 2014. Reviewed by Sara Garland.

In Hume’s 7th book in the Arthurian series, the story picks up at the point after the death of King Arthur (referred to as Artor in this book). Based on the historical likelihood that Artor had at least one son, this book picks up at a point when his bastard son grows into manhood. The book is the first of the Twilight of the Celts sequel, which follows the previous trilogies – King Arthur & Merlin.
The son is called Arthur and he has a very strong resemblance to his father. Conceived when his mother, Lady Elayne slept with the king, he has been brought up and loved by Bedwyr, who is loyal to Artor and fully aware of his wife’s indiscretion.

Following the death of the king, Ector is deemed heir to the throne. Arthur has to quickly realise that he must behave impeccably not to be seen as a threat to the throne. In this tale, Arthur is a tall, muscular young man, good natured and sharp, without need to or wish to usurp the intended rightful heir to the throne, who also happens to be his best friend.

Arthur has been brought up to be a warrior and following the king’s death, the threat of invasion by the Saxons and Jutes has increased. Therefore the need for Arthur to defend the Celtic land is imperative, less consider the risk of brutal deaths at the hands of the Saxons.
Exposed to his first battles, Arthur proves to be a natural warrior. Trained by both a retired warrior in the ways of combat and a monk to educate and guide him, he develops into a well-rounded individual, who has integrity and honour. Maybe too good to be true, but he is a very likeable character, that you will to do well.

Being illegitimate, it becomes apparent that he is still regarded as a threat both as an heir and via his reputation – given his very similar looks to his father and imposing stature in battle. He learns through the action of King Bran that it would suit some if he was to lose his life in battle and so he must become more and more vigilant.

The book is loaded with many a battle, which is very vivid and gory; typical of the brutality of combat in such times. Equally the characters within the book are vivid and memorable. As Arthur’s reputation grows, it starts to become apparent that the Briton is at risk of being overcome by the invading forces and Arthur reactions to his circumstances becomes more and more pivotal.

The prose is intelligent and carefully crafted to give it an enjoyable cadence. There is plenty of mystery, with the slightest suggestion of superstition and an unusual ability to sense danger that is highly intriguing, but not readily significant. There are some great baddies that you want to reach their comeuppance and a developing storyline that makes you want to continue to find out more. I found the story resonated after reading it, which is always a great by-product. I await the next book with a degree of impatience.

The Storm Lord. (Book Two of the Twilight Trilogy)

The legend of King Arthur lives on…
Crippled with hunger and weary to the point of collapse, Gareth Minor enters the fortress of Arden to deliver the dire news that Lord Arthur, the Last Dragon, has been captured by barbarians and taken to the frozen north. With Father Lorcan and Germanus by his side, Gareth embarks on a quest to rescue his master.

Meanwhile, in the Land of the Denes, Arthur and his fellow prisoners enrage the Dene King when they are presented at court. Fleeing for their lives, Stormbringer, their captor turned protector, leads them to safety. But the northern shores are under threat of invasion and Stormbringer and Arthur unite in battle, knowing few will survive… – Amazon reviews

The Ice King. (Book Three of the Twilight Trilogy)

Several years ago Arthur, the illegitimate son of King Artor and Lady Elayne, had been captured by a Dene raiding party and taken to the Dene Kingdom far to the north of Britain. Under the leadership and guidance of Stormbringer, the Sae Dene king, Arthur has honed his skills as a leader and military commander. Desperate to return to Britain to carve out a realm for himself he must put together a band of followers willing to return with him to establish his dream. However, first he must contend with the paranoid, murderous Dene High King, Saxon raiders, a traitor, Justinian’s disease – and a dragon which only exists in his mind.

This is the third book of the Twilight of the Celts. Very enjoyable, the author brings alive the whole bloody, dark period with characters that are dynamic, violent, superstitious, and incredibly brave. The action sequences are realistic without being gratuitous. This is a welcome addition to the Arthurian genre. Although part of a series, this novel can be read as a standalone. Strap on your sword, put on your furs – it’s cold – and enjoy. Recommended.  – The Historical Society

Tintagel: The Blood of Kings (Book One of the Tintagel Trilogy)

The fate of Roman Britain is sealed when Caradoc, King of the Dumnonii tribe in Tintagel, meets Flavius Magnus Maximus, one of the most influential Roman officers in Britannia. Their unlikely friendship leads to an ambitious plan to unite the tribal leaders and, once crowned the first High King of the Britons, Maximus casts his eyes on the throne of the Western Roman Empire.

Leading a force of brave warriors to Gaul, Maximus is victorious in battle. But it is not long after his return to Britain that hubris gnaws at him once again. Despite Caradoc’s pleas to exercise caution, Maximus is determined to march on Rome itself. But who will pay the price for his bloodthirsty quest for power?  – Amazon Reviews

Tintagel: The Poisoned Throne (Book Two of the Tintagel Trilogy)

Hume brings the bloody, violent, conniving world vividly to life…will appeal to those who thrill to Game of Thrones and other tales of intersecting, ever-warring, noble lineages.  – Kirkus Review

Hume deftly navigates the Arthurian legends, populating them with likable and despicable characters, and casting them in a fully realized historical setting. – Publishers Weekly

Historical fiction of the most bloodthirsty and roistering kind. Australian Bookseller & Publishers Magazine, Exciting, violent and bloody… Up there with Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. love – reading.co.uk

It’s a slice of history that’s totally, utterly believable. Magnificent. – booksmonthly.co.uk