Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick

Wow! What an amazing beginning to this trilogy and I am hooked. The Kingmaking is Hollick's story of Arthur and the king that he might have been. It begins with our first introduction to Arthur as he meets Gwenhwyfar and finds that someday he might be king. The Kingmaking takes the reader on a journey, both Arthur and Gwenhwyfars', and the struggles and triumphs that may lead to Arthur becoming king. It is a journey filled with blood and battles, love and redemption, and so many other things that make up a great novel.

Can I just say right now that I loved this novel? I mean this is historical fiction at its' best and I was entranced. I fell in love with Arthur and Gwenhwyfar's relationship right at the beginning of the story. I felt like Hollick portrayed Arthur realistically so that the reader could see all of his faults along with his strengths. This just helped me to like his character even more although there were times that I wished I could shake him when he was making the "wrong" choices. This was a gritty novel that brought to life the legend of Arthur and made it come across as realistically as possile.

Helen Hollick is a very talented writer and the writing flowed for me. For such a long novel (over 500 pages), I found myself knocking off huge chunks at a time as I couldn't put the book down. I flew through this story and when I was finished I instantly wanted more. I'm so excited to read the next portion of this story and can't wait to get my hands on the 2nd book. Here is a taste of Hollick's writing:

"Gwenhwyfar smiled at him, her eyes crinkling. She remembered her hand, and shyly withdrew it. She liked him! He made her laugh. With mock sincerity Arthur said, 'I grant you are an exceptional girl, Gwenhwyfar, but a man needs other men.'
'A man needs a woman to comfort him through the night and to give him sons.' Gwenhwyfar's retort came with a knowing grin."

All in all, I absolutely enjoyed this book and am going to highly recommend it. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction should give this one a try as it is an epic tale that kept me on my toes. Seriously, this was a really great read and a huge thanks to Paul at Sourcebooks for sending this one to me. I'll be posting a guest post from the author so check that out as well :)

My Rating/Recommendations: 4.5 out of 5; Recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction
Challenges: New Author Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("K" Title), 100+ Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge


  1. Great review Sam. It was really wonderful, wasn't it. I love a chunkster like that too that I can sink into for long periods of time. Glad you liked it so much.

  2. Dar- That would be the perfect analogy for this book..."sinking your teeth into it" I'm so glad that I read this one :)

  3. I thought this was a great read too.
    Glad to hear you enjoyed it :)

  4. Naida- I enjoyed reading all of the reviews on this book. It seemed like a lot of people enjoyed it as well :)

  5. I also loved this book! I don't often read entire series but I will with this one!

  6. Teddy- I'm looking forward to the rest of this series as well :)

  7. I think I'd really like this one :)

  8. Ladytink- If you enjoy historical fiction then you would definitely like this one. I was hooked!

  9. Hello - Helen here! I'd like to say thank you for the wonderful review (blush blush) and for inviting me aboard your Blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting you all again when book two comes out (September '09)

    Thanks again!

  10. Helen- Thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful guest post. I am most definitely looking forward to the 2nd book :)

  11. I liked Hollick’s depiction of Arthur: much more real-to-life than the traditional legend. I felt the author did a good job of blending history with myth, and creating an accurate picture of post-Roman Britain.

    Arthur definitely had moments where you disliked him, among his other good qualities. Gwenhwyfar was the same way. There were times where I questioned her, but overall, she was more like-able than Arthur.

    What did you think of the antagonist characters? Did you think they were well-rounded and complex? What did you think of Winifred? Did she have any redeeming qualities in your mind?

    Also, now that I think about it, I would have liked to see Morgause as a more regularly character throughout the novel. What do you think? I thought she was an interesting, conflicting character.

  12. Steven Till- I had mixed feelings about Winifred. I felt bad for her at times because it was obvious that she did love Arthur in her own way and he always treated her badly. Then she would pull something and I would dislike her all over again. I feel like Morgause will come into play in future books but I'm not sure how. I'm anxious to read the next one just to see what direction the story goes. Thanks for stopping by and the thought provoking questions!


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