The Last Dragon, by M.K Hume

Review published on September 30, 2014.Reviewed by sara garland

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

In Hume’s 7th book in the Arthurian series, the story picks up at the point after the death of King Arthur (referred to as Artor in this book). Based on the historical likelihood that Artor had at least one son, this book picks up at a point when his bastard son grows into manhood. The book is the first of the Twilight of the Celts sequel, which follows the previous trilogies – King Arthur & Merlin.

That son is called Arthur and he has a very strong resemblance to his father. Conceived when his mother, Lady Elayne slept with the king, he has been brought up and loved by Bedwr, fully aware of his wife’s indiscretion.

Following the death of the king, Ector is deemed heir to the throne. Arthur has to quickly realise that he must behave impeccably not to be seen as a threat to the throne. In this tale, Arthur is a tall, muscular young man, good natured and sharp, without need to or wish to usurp the intended rightful heir to the throne, who also happens to be his best friend.

Arthur has been brought up to be a warrior and following the king’s death, the threat of invasion by the Saxons and Jutes has increased. Therefore the need for Arthur to defend the Celtic land is imperative, less consider the risk of brutal deaths at the hands of the Saxons.
Exposed to his first battles, Arthur proves to be a natural warrior. Trained by both a retired warrior in the ways of combat and a monk to educate and guide him, he develops into a well-rounded individual, who has integrity and honour. Maybe too good to be true, but he is a very likeable character, that you will to do well.

Being illegitimate, it becomes apparent that he is still regarded as a threat both as an heir and via his reputation – given his very similar looks to his father and imposing stature in battle. He learns through the action of King Bran that it would suit some if he was to lose his life in battle and so he must become more and more vigilant.

The book is loaded with many a battle, which is very vivid and gory; typical of the brutality of combat in such times. Equally the characters within the book are vivid and memorable. As Arthur’s reputation grows, it starts to become apparent that the Briton is at risk of being overcome by the invading forces and so how Arthur acts becomes more and more pivotal.

The prose is intelligent and carefully crafted to give it an enjoyable cadence. There is plenty of mystery, with the slightest suggestion of superstition and an unusual ability to sense danger that is highly intriguing, but not readily significant. There are some great baddies that you want to reach their comeuppance and a developing storyline that makes you want to continue to find out more. I found the story resonated after reading it, which is always a great by-product. I await the next book with a degree of impatience.

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