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Merlin, the greatest of the Druids, believes that the ancient gods are deserting Britain, and that the invading Saxons can't be defeated without the help of the gods. Mordred reigns with a brutal hand, and Arthur sees his dreams of peace between the British Kingdoms evaporate. The author provides engrossing descriptions of battle tactics, interspersed with somewhat gruesome depictions of ordinary life in those days--greasy, waist-length beards serving as napkins, lambs bloodily sacrificed before festivals, and rampant lice. But at the heart of Excalibur--what makes the Arthurian legends eternally fascinating--is the larger-than-life company of heroes, from Sagramor the warrior to Taliesin the bard, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Arturus Rex himself. Cornwell treats them all with warmth and dignity, revealing their human qualities without unnecessarily reinventing them.
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