Monday, March 25, 2019

“Arthur Rex: In Principio ” by J.A. Cummings

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the legends and stories of King Arthur. But this version has a quite unique perspective on the boy who will one day become King.

Arthur was left by the druid Merlin to be raised and protected within Sir Ector’s household. With no idea who his birth parents were, Sir Ector’s family is the only one he has ever known, and even Sir Ector did not know who Arthur truly was. He only saw him as a child who was to be raised with his own family.

I do need to include for those reading this book a trigger warning as well as warning that this is not a book meant for younger readers. At one point, a young Arthur is brutally beaten after unsuccessfully attempting to stop the rape of another boy. At this point in history, rape of either sex was unfortunately a fairly common practice as those who were strong enough to take what they wanted often did so without concern for anyone but themselves.

Seeing his friend suffer through being raped sets the stage for Arthur’s future sense of how everyone should be treated, no matter who they are or what their station in life is meant to be.

I found this a fascinating story with a very original look into how the young Arthur will grow to become the great King Arthur of legend. It was well written and catches the reader’s interest from the very beginning. And while I did catch a few typos as I read, overall I felt that the book was well edited with excellent writing that made it quite difficult to put down.

All of the characters one expects to find in an Arthurian tale are there: the Ladies of the Lake, Merlin, the many Knights we have come to recognize as part of this story, and even the beginnings of those who will likely play a much bigger role in the next book in this series.

If you enjoy a good Arthurian tale, this is one you won’t want to miss. While it does contain a few scenes that are a bit graphic in their content, those scenes do fit with the nature of how life was at that point in history and are critical to showing how a young Arthur develops and grows into the man he is destined to become. Without them, it would not have been as clear as to why he believes so completely in what is right or wrong, despite how those around him seem to see things differently. I will definitely be waiting to see where the author takes this story next when book 2 in the series is released. Recommended.

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