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The Battles of King Arthur

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Member Reviews

Princess Fuzzypants here:  Fact or fiction.  That has been the debate about King Arthur.  Did he exist and if he did what was he like?  Were his exploits based in flights of fancy or was there a historical base to them.  This book attempts to set the record as straight as it can be with lots of research  from modern as well as ancient sources.  Naturally, some of the material that has been handed down from that time or shortly thereafter is both scarce and suspect.

But what the author does very effectively is he looks at the world in which Arthur would have existed.  He looks at the transition from Roman to Romano-British and then the various influxes of other people, both peacefully and not.  He spends a lot of time on the various Germanic tribes and their impact on what Britain would become.  It is fascinating. It also shows how little man has changed in the millenia.    Our weapons may be different as are our lives.  We are, however, driven by the same wants and needs.

For the reader who loves the minutiae and maps, there is plenty of substance.  It is also interesting for the reader who prefers the bigger picture.  Four purrs and two paws up.
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I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in history and in particular King Arthur and associated myths and legends. A well researched book on the time period concerned as well as the many battles he fought in with very plausible locations for these battles.He explores the tribes in Britain at the time and the politics involved in changing culture..
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I like the style of writing of this author and I was interested in this book. It's another interesting and well researched book.
Learned something new in a pleasant way.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Having read "King Arthur: Man or Myth?", I jumped at the chance to read and review "The Battles of King Arthur", by the same author. I love the way Tony Sullivan has presented this book, with clear lines between what is fact and what is possible. The writing is very good, too.  This is a must-read for any King Arthur fans. There is one idea that truly excited me, and if you want to know what it is then you'll have to read it yourself!

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
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The first thing to say is that this is not necessarily a book for those who are interested in the legends surrounding King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is very much a factual account of the various battles which a real-life Arthur might have been involved in. Much of the first half of the book is dedicated to setting the scene and explaining the backdrop against which a real Arthur might have existed. Life in Romano/Anglo-Saxon Britain is examined, along with the various battles that took place, the structure of the society and the weapons used in warfare. It isn't until Chapter Seven that there is a detailed examination of the battles themselves (although they are briefly referred to throughout the book) and the author is very focused on providing the context for these battles. Consequently, the book seems to be less about King Arthur and more about the society of the time. The link to King Arthur feels more like a hook upon which to hang the history. 

The book gives a very detailed account of the various kingdoms and leaders who were all fighting with each other and considers the question of how long Roman influence took to deteriorate and what impact that had on those who came next. The author acknowledges the difficulties of relying on unreliable sources for information and makes it very clear where he has made assumptions and this makes it much easier for the reader to accept that some of his arguments are based on these assumptions and sometimes there is more evidence to back up his conclusions.

What the book does brilliantly however, is demonstrate why it is that there are so many places across the British Isles which are associated with King Arthur. Historically speaking, there is limited evidence for Arthur's presence in Cornwall and yet, in the myths, he is very closely associated with the county and the south-west more generally. The history suggests that he may have fought in Wales, Ireland and the North of England. If the myths and the history are combined, there is no wonder that there are so many places associated with the same man.

Just as this isn't a book for looking at the legends, I'd also say it wasn't an account for the light historian. It's a serious work which deserves to be read seriously. King Arthur is often dismissed as nothing more than a legend and whilst this book doesn't necessarily dispel that idea, it does force its readers to consider the possibility that the legends may have stemmed from a real person. Not a legendary king, paragon of chivalric virtue, but rather a powerful warrior, typical of his time, fighting against those he considered his enemies.

I wanted to read this book as research for my own middle-grade fantasy novel and it was certainly helpful for that, as it gave me a different perspective to the legends. With thanks to the publisher & NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review it.
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Mr Sullivan has written a most profound book on who was Arthur and what were his deeds in the far past of Britain. I was amazed at the information and scope of experiences that Arthur and his followers experienced. What is even more fantastic about this book is that it actually makes use of records and lots of theories ad puts them together in a fascinating story! The list of Arthurs battles is impressive. To be honest I never understood what or how such a person could perform in so many battles and seem to be nothing more than a legend. After reading this exceptional work I understand why he fought and what we know about the battles. Fans of Arthur and history buffs will love this as well as anyone looking to understand Britain of long ago.
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The ninth century Historia Brittonum is the first source that mentions Arthur and lists twelve battles, including the famous Badon Hill. Much ink has been spilt debating the identity and location of Arthur. This book will demonstrate that some of the battles can indeed be located with some confidence. Rather than fit a specific theory as to his identity the battles are placed in the fragmenting provincial, political and military context of the late fifth and early sixth century Britain. 

As a history lover, King Arthur is one historical figure that I knew very little about prior to reading this book. So I was delighted to be granted my wish to read an advanced review copy of ‘The Battles of King Arthur’ by Tony Sullivan, who has written several books on King Arthur. It’s a wonderful trip back in time and very interesting to read a non fiction account of a figure who is so popular in myths and legends! I will definitely be checking out Tony Sullivan’s other books. I’d recommend this to anyone who is a lover of history or for anyone who, like myself, went into the book quite unfamiliar with the legendary King Arthur. A wonderful read. 

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an arc in exchange for an unbiased review.
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