Pendragon Reviews

Pendragon has been receiving some great reviews. That’s always hugely gratifying when you’ve laboured over a novel for a year, but it’s particularly nice when people ‘get’ what you’re trying to do. Here’s a couple:

Deadly culture clashes and earthy mysticism (complete with witchcraft and visions fueled by magic mushrooms) combine in this exciting saga about a dark time in European history. The plot doesn’t go where you’d expect, and there are more than a few fierce, stereotype-defying women characters.

Though it works successfully as a standalone, Pendragon can also be viewed as the beginning of a much larger tale. The events weaving together aren’t just changing individual lives, they are shaping a nation. Wilde’s latest skillfully deconstructs the myths of Arthur and Camelot but creating a stunning prequel.

 

Pendragon – Published Today

Before King Arthur. Before Camelot. Before Excalibur. Every Legend Has A Beginning.’

Out today! The last days of Roman Britain. The seeds that will grow into the legend of King Arthur one hundred years later. An epic tale reaching from Hadrian’s Wall and Stonehenge to Gaul and Rome at the heart of the empire. Battles, conspiracy, rival factions and a colourful cast of soldiers and courtesans, spies, Emperors, barbarians and mystics.

Order it from your favourite bookstore, or buy it from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pendragon-Novel-Dark-Age-Book/dp/0593076044/

Pendragon – The Times Review

Great review of Pendragon in The Times today:

Pendragon has all the hallmarks of a traditional historical adventure story – there are battles, swords, and he bantering of violent men, all done with style. However, there is also intellectual heft to the story, with its themes of myth-making and the nature of power.

You can check it out or pre-order it here.

Why We Need Camelot

Arthurian lore is stitched deeply into my new book, Pendragon, published in just a few short days.  This is a story-telling tradition that may well go back one thousand five hundred years.  Perhaps even longer, if – as some think – Arthur was not a real, historical figure but based on a mythic hero arising out of tales of Annwn, the Welsh Otherworld of gods and magical beings.

Arthur matches the promise embedded in T H White’s title, The Once and Future King, by returning time and again in fireside tales, books, films, radio dramas, comics, and in every one slightly reinvented to speak to the concerns of the time in which the story is being told.  That’s because Arthur’s true importance is as a symbol, rather than as an historical figure.

And it’s a consideration of this element which lies at the heart of my telling: why do we need the myth of King Arthur so much that we keep bringing him back in new forms?

Pendragon is set one hundred years before Arthur was supposed to have lived and looks at how the man, the legend, both entwined, might have arisen out of historical events.  It’s decidedly and defiantly different from the Arthurian fiction you may be used to – no re-telling of oft-told tales.  All the familiar elements are there, but we come at them from oblique angles in the hope that the reader might see them in a new light.  In that way it’s a meditation on the meaning of King Arthur, as much as being about Arthur himself.

Or as the review from Parmenion Books says:

Pendragon…. the name just screams Arthur, Genevieve, Lancelot and all that goes with it. Well take that preconception and throw it out the window. Not since Bernard Cornwall took on the Arthur myth has any writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story.

This constant reinvention of Arthur is a turbulent process, but the anchors remain the same to hold the idea fast – Excalibur, Camelot, the Round Table and the rest.  And they too are symbols, more powerful than their mundane appearance suggests.

Folklore speaks to why we keep calling Arthur back into our world.  He is the hero who sleeps beneath the hill with his loyal band of followers, waiting to be summoned in the hour of England’s – or the world’s – greatest need.  The saviour.  The ideal.  The non-religious symbol of something greater than ourselves that speaks to the highest callings – of service, of sacrifice, of the values, the striving for goodness, that bind us all together.

There are times when we need Camelot more than ever.

This is one of them, I think.

The UK has never been more divided.  The US too.  Divided socially, politically, geographically, financially, divided in how we see ourselves, in our purpose.  It’s important to look to greater principles to find those ties that bind, if divisions are ever to be overcome.

And lest we forget, symbols are more powerful than words, more powerful indeed than the men and women who purport to lead us.  Countries which marshall their national symbols thrive.  Those which don’t, struggle.  The USA, a country built on symbols, now almost wholly communicates with them.  From images of an eagle, or stars and stripes, or the gunslinger standing alone in desolate landscape, we understand very complex, multi-faceted ideas about the philosophy of that nation.  And that communication is more powerful than anything when the USA is selling itself across the world.

King Arthur is also a symbol of Britain.  He sells a layered but powerful idea of who we are as a nation.  As we edge out into an uncertain world, we need that too.

Pendragon: The First Review: ‘Highly Recommended’

If you were on the fence about picking up my forthcoming novel, Pendragon, the first review is now in…

Pendragon…. the name just screams Arthur, Genevieve, Lancelot and all that goes with it. Well take that preconception and throw it out the window. Not since Bernard Cornwall took on the Arthur myth has any writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story.

 

Tolkien, Fantasy And The BBC

Interviewed live on the BBC the other day. I was talking about the influence of Tolkien and the large and still growing impact of fantasy in literature and popular culture in a debate with Oxford University scholar Dr Stuart Lee and the author Robin Hobb. Stuart and Robin are both knowledgable people, as you’d expect, but also good fun to be around, and we got into some interesting areas.  The general consensus was that fantasy is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the literary world, and now has a degree of respectability. Which kind of irks me. I always liked the outsider status, and that sense of fantasy as a transgressive genre. I don’t want to be part of the club.

I’m an old hand at TV interviews, but it still gives me a thrill to walk into the iconic Broadcasting House in London’s West End.  Old media has a buzz about it, even now, and in that place you feel bound into the long tradition of the BBC and broadcasting in general. The green rooms are still a bit shabby and the studios oddly unreal out of the context of the box in the corner of the lounge.

And my editor will be pleased to know I remembered to ramble, briefly, about Pendragon (published on July 13), King Arthur and the connection between history and myth.

Pendragon Proofs Now In

The road to publication follows familiar landmarks – finishing the first draft, the various edits, through the delivery of the first box of books to publication day and the subsequent round of publicity and signings.  One of the key moments is the arrival of the uncorrected proofs – softbound copies of the novel, usually replete with the odd error, that go out to reviewers and booksellers.

The proofs for Pendragon, by the ‘other me’, James Wilde, are now in.  If you fall into one of those two groups, get in touch with Penguin Random House UK publicity to order your copy.

“Before King Arthur…before Camelot…before Excalibur…the Legend begins…”

You can pre-order this reimagining of the beginnings of the Arthurian myth here, or from your favourite book store.