The Last Companion

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9780786714940: The Last Companion

Ten years after the Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur was slain, Budoc the hermit waits for death in the Sacred Wood, his world crumbling into darkness. Raiders roam the coasts of Britain in wolf packs, burning crops and slaughtering villagers. Among them is an Irish war party in search of a magical chalice, accompanied by a witch doctor. Thirty years before, after his great victory at Mount Badon, Arthur had sailed north to the mist-shrouded Western Isles, taking with him a select band of warriors. There he won possession of the chalice and was declared emperor of Albion. Now, as the flame of civilization dims and the hordes rush in on Britain from all sides, Budoc and a ragtag band consisting of two warriors, a captured Saxon boy, and a village girl must rely on the powers of the Sacred Wood and the martial arts of Arthur's companions to save themselves and Arthur's dream of Albion. In The Last Companion, author Patrick McCormack offers a uniquely compelling take on the great battle for the chalice and the secrets of Dark Age Britain.

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From Publishers Weekly:

McCormack's debut novel about life in Arthurian Britain, the first of his Albion series to be published in the U.S., is an overstuffed tale of sorcery, knights and medieval mayhem in which a cast of 99 characters with consonant-laden names (from Bedwyr to Wicga) navigate the dark, damp and gloomy period of Britain's decline 10 years after Arthur's death. Budoc, a hermit, is actually Mab Petroc, the last of King Arthur's fabled knights, known here as the Companions. He now guards a wooden chest containing the holy relic that assured Arthur's rule (no, it's not the Holy Grail). An evil warlord, Vortepor of Dyfed, hires vicious Irish mercenary Eremon to find the relic, believing possession of it will make him king of all Britain. After a series of bloody coincidences, Budoc teams up with two brave Briton warriors, a Saxon boy and a peasant girl, to protect the relic and fight off the attacks of Eremon and his gang of brutal raiders. Numerous flashbacks to Arthur's reign keep the going rather slow, but McCormack provides all the requisite battles, magic, savagery and romance, as well as a very satisfying conclusion. Agent, Pollinger Limited (U.K.).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Set in the dark years following the death of Arthur in the Battle of Camlann, this mystical adventure revolves around the attempts of Budoc the Hermit to preserve and protect the Arthurian legacy. Once Arthur's proud companion, Budoc has sought refuge and solace in the Sacred Woods, one of the few places of power left in a meaningless and brutal world. Plagued by disturbing dreams and memories of the past, he senses a time of great reckoning is at hand. When a band of Irish marauders intent on recovering a mythical chalice invades Britain, it is up to Budoc and his own motley crew of followers to ensure the sanctity of both the Holy Grail and Arthur's dream of Albion. The first installment of a trilogy, this intriguing post-Arthurian saga should find a ready-made audience among fans of this constantly reworked and evolving legend. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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