Reviews of Historical Novels set in
Arthurian Britain (c.425-c.550)
Text and graphics copyright Howard Wiseman 2008-2018.
Last Modified: 15th March 2018
Below I rate some historical Arthurian novels I
have read (or, for a few poorly rated cases, partly read). The ratings
might look harsh but that is because I use the full scale from 1 to 9
(no 10s yet), so above 5 is above average. I then give
detailed reviews of those on my short-list for the best novels.
Finally, I discuss the choice of chronologies that authors have to
make, and why they make the choices they do. Note that I have
not included novels in which
the fantastical or contra-historical elements are so strong that they
have to be classified as historical fantasy rather than historical
fiction. This includes several works I admire, all by female authors:
Diana Paxson, Mary Stewart, Joy Chant, Ruth Nestvold, and Gillian Bradshaw (though the
last book in her Down the Long Wind
trilogy I have counted as historical fiction below). I also do not
include my own work from 2015, Then Arthur Fought, which I call a quasihistory. However, I do include all 6 of these works as data points on the plot at the bottom of the page.
Ratings of the Novels
||Plot and Characters
||Absence of Fantasy
Crimson Chalice Trilogy
||The Warlord Chronicles
||Conscience of the King
|Faraday, W. B.
||Arthur, the Bear of Britain
||The Summer Stars
& Beloved Exile
|Hume, M. K.
||King Arthur Trilogy
||Men Went to Cattraeth
Arthuriad of Catumandus
||Black Horses for the King
||The Last Legion
Duke of War (Y)
of Battles Series
Lies Arthur (Y)
||The Last Pendragon
(Y) & Sword
||The Green Man (parts
||The Camulod Chronicles
& Golden Eagles
Road to Avalon
(Y) indicates a book
aimed at younger readers.
(i) For the letters in the column "Setting", see below
for an explanation.
(ii) Fisk is inconsistent in his setting - in the first paragraph the
narrator (Taliesin) says the battle of Badon was in 515, but on several
later occasions he
implies it was c.495.
(iii) The third book in the Albion
Lame Dancer, is unpublished, and
was provided to me in private communication by the author, Patrick
McCormack, in 2007. Click the name to dowload a print-ready pdf file I
have put up on my site.
The Arthuriad of
This novel purports to be a history written by one Catumandus (Cadfan),
an ex-patriot Briton living in the Eastern Roman Empire, in about 535
A.D. Lees goes so far as to invent a story as to how he (Lees) obtained
the papyrus manuscript by Cadfan. As its title suggests, it is
about Arthur, and Cadfan is in fact Arthur's illegitimate son,
in the dying days of the Roman Empire in Gaul. Over the course of the
we find out about events going back to the invitation of the Saxons
by Vortigern. The main narrative begins when Cadfan arrives in Britain,
as an Imperial envoy, not long before the battle of Badon. In this
it is in the tradition of Arthurian romances
where this decisive defeat of the Saxons was only the start of the
The story follows the fate of the Britons up
to the battle of Camlann, after which Cadfan returns to the East.
1. Lees puts Arthur's Britain in the wider historical context of the
Roman Empire. The death throes of the Western Empire and the revival of
the Eastern play important parts, and no historical facts are
2. He uses the oldest Welsh and Anglo-Saxon traditions for creating
the characters and politics of Britain. For example, the Welsh
are the source for the kings of the petty British kingdoms.
3. Lees has a strict chronological framework and he sticks to it. There
are no obvious inconsistencies in the work.
4. He manages to tell the story in one moderately sized novel.
1. Lees incorporates too much of the Arthur of the romances in a
way, which was not convincing to me. To give just a few examples: the
grail, the Fisher king, the siege perilous, the incest with Morgan.
Lees tries to make them fit into his strict dark-age
they seem out of place.
2. The relations between Gwenwhyfar and Cadfan, and her past
with Lasanleawg (Lancelot) I found rather tedious. The same
for Cadfan's sex life.
3. Myrddin (Merlin) I also found rather tedious. He is another
character (he actually belongs a few generations after Arthur). This
matter except that Lees knows that Myrddin is out of place so he has to
arrange for him to have a grandson, also called Myrddin, to be around
the right time. This is another example of Lees trying too hard to
the authentic history and the romances.
4. The descriptions of battle are poetic rather than
blood-soaked ground, shining blades etc. I guess this might just be
but I found it did not move me.
Hengest is invited
460-75 Ambrosius is sureme ruler of Britain.
Battle of Badon.
Battle of Camlann.
The Warlord Chronicles by
Cornwell's trilogy (The
Winter King, Enemy of God, Excalibur)
to be a narrative written
by one of Arthur's younger
unlike Lees, Cornwell does not pretend to be the owner of Derfel's
manuscript). He is one of Arthur's warriors who becomes a monk, and
is based on a character in Welsh hagiography who was said to have
at Camlann. Derfel tells the tale, almost all from first-hand
how Arthur rose to power in Dumnonia, forced the Britons into a sort of
unity, was betrayed, recovered, thrashed the Saxons at Badon and
met his end at Camlann. Also intertwined are some traditional Brittonic
including Tristan and Iseult and the hunt for the 13 treasures of
1. These novels for me captures the spirit
of the British
Dark Ages politics better than any other. The level of organisation,
civil wars between the British states, the struggle for succession on
death of a king, the importance of dynastic marriages, and the
between Briton and Saxon are all convincingly portrayed.
2. The description of battle is detailed,
and, from what I've read elsewhere, realistic.
3. There is some humour. Merlin in
4. There is no feeling of inevitability
Partly this is because Cornwell has invented new story lines rather
just selecting from the old ones. But also one feels the characters to
agents, not being guided by the hand of fate which hovers ponderously
in some novels.
5. Arthur, Derfel, and many other
and believable, but also people the reader could look up to. I guess I
am just old fashioned, but it pleases me to follow the lives of such
Other characters are too villanous to be believable, but
they are Derfel's personal enemies so perhaps we can't expect an
6. Mordred is not Arthur's son. He is Arthur's half-nephew, and is
the rightful heir to the throne of Dumnonia. This is more in line with
the old Welsh traditions and also made for a better plot I thought.
1. There is a supernatural element which had an ambiguous
(i.e. it was not clear whether it was real or not). This I did not mind
except that in the last book it becomes too overt for my liking (and
almost took the novel into the realm of historical fantasy).
2. Paganism (druids, human sacrifice etc.) is unrealistically
The one thing Gildas (writing probably at most a generation after
did not criticize the rulers of his day for was paganism.
3. Cornwell does not make use of the known (or at least traditional)
history and genealogies of the time. He makes no mention of
or Vortigern, who were surely the most important Britons of the time
Arthur (although he does mention Cunedda in passing). There is no
of the Roman Syagrius in Gaul, even though he would have been in power
at the time Arthur was supposed to have been there.
4. The geographical extent of the British kingdoms do not correspond
to what we know. It is highly unlikely that Gwent would have once
the middle of Britain, or Dumnonia as far as Sussex.
5. Cornwell is slightly inconsistent in his chronology in various
places. The worst is that, at least to
my reading, Derfel starts off about 10 years younger than Arthur, but
up close to him in age.
Battle of Badon.
Battle of Camlann.
Bearers and Sword at Sunset by
Sutcliff's "young adult" novel The
Lantern Bearers, and its adult sequel Sword at Sunset
are the most
influential historical Arthurian novels of the last century. They tell the history
of Britain from its final abandonment by the Roman army (which
Sutcliff puts in c.450) to the death of Arthur. Strictly, Arthur is
mortally wounded at the end of Sword
at Sunset, as he is its narrator.
The earlier novel is narrated by Aquila, a Roman soldier. Sutcliff's
story follows fairly closely the narrative of Geoffrey of Monmouth,
except that she ignore's Arthur's fictional career as conquerer of
north-west Europe. But
she also weaves in bits from the Anglo-Saxon
chronicle, Welsh legends, the romances, and even archaeology.
1. There is no fantasy in these novels -
are straightforward, realistic, and powerful.
2. The historical context is strong, with references to events in the
Roman Empire and back to the late 4th century.
3. The poem by Brett Francis Young that opens Sword
1. The story is rather predictable. This comes from
following Geoffrey of Monmouth I suppose.
2. Sutcliff has severe problems of internal inconsistency.
By my reckoning there is a dislocation of about seven years at the
boundary of the two
books (c.471 in The
suddenly becomes c.478 in Sword
Sunset), but there is also a discrepancy of another seven
years, at least, regarding the birth date of Cerdic, son of Vortigern
and Rowena. There are other miscellaneous discrepancies of up to four
3. Although there is no fantasy, the hand of fate is annoyingly
4. The political context, and the way battles were fought
realistic to me than in Cornwell's novels.
(as best I could make out)
445 Arthur born.
450 Last Roman troops withdrawn.
458 Night of the long knives.
460 Ambrosius becomes high-king of
471 Battle of Gulophum (Ambrosius'
Sword at Sunset:
478 Battle of Gulophum (Ambrosius' victory)
498 Ambrosius dies
501 Battle of Badon.
518 Battle of Camlann.
Provice by George Finkel
The only novel in my short-list by an Australian, Finkel's Twilight Province
is aimed at
younger readers. It is told by Bedwyr, prince of the eponymous Province
in northern Britain, looking back on the life of Arthur. Many of the
traditional Arthurian characters are here, although sometimes in
surprising form – Lancelot become Olans, a Gothic warrior. The story is
not tied to any Arthurian tradition, but follows a typical line, with
Badon being towards the end of the book.
1. This is definitely an historical novel – no fantasy or hand of fate
2. It places 6th century Britain in a firm historical context, through
Bedwyr's two voyages to Constantinople.
3. The size of armies is realistic, and battles are described well if
not as thrilingly as by Cornwell.
4. It has some nice line drawings. I particularly like that in the
showing a middle-aged Bedwyr looking out over Constantinople.
5. Like Cornwell, Finkel avoids the incest motif. He does include a
for the holy grail, but in a charming way.
1. The relationships are sanitized, I guess because this is for
2. The lack of contact between the British states (prior to Arthur's
becoming Dux Bellorum)
unrealistic. So is the peacefulness of Bedwyr's province for
generations prior to c.520.
3. The peaceful transition of the population of Bedwyr's province from
a mainly British-speaking to a mainly Saxon-speaking population is at
with both nations' traditions. Finkel's Britons are clearly the
mid-20th century English in disguise, so Finkel wants them to be linked
culturally and by descent.
4. Little use is made of the information in Gildas. Vortigern is not
mentioned, and Ambrosius plays a very small role.
5. Some of the line drawings are anachronistic, showing rectangular or
kite-shaped shields, horned helmets, and stirrups.
c.504 Arthur born.
524-535 Arthur's victories.
Trilogy by Patrick McCormack
Unlike the other books reviewed in detail here, The Albion trilogy (The Last
and The Lame
is told in third person, from the point of view of many different
characters. The two most important are Bedwyr and his much younger
companion Nai. The story takes place around 520, thirty years after the
battle of Badon, and ten years after Camlann, but through flashbacks
and narrations by various characters, details of the past are revealed.
These episodes are concentrated in the periods 475-78 and 493-497,
before and after Arthur's great battles.
The story centres around the Chalice
a cup held by a clan of the Attecotti (a tribe of western Scotland)
supposedly since the Britons lost sovereignty to the Romans. In
mysterious circumstances Arthur leads a naval expedition to reclaim the
chalice in 493, and he is acclaimed the Amherawdyr (Emperor) of
Britain. Now, ten years after his death, various kinglets seek to gain
the chalice for themselves, while Nai and Bedwyr try to prevent this
1. McCormack has researched the history and Welsh legends of these
times very thoroughly, and has woven them together expertly. He almost
completley avoids the influence of Geoffrey of Monmouth or the romances.
2. His descriptions of life are full of detail and completely
convincing, especially life in the decaying towns of the Britons, and
life on a Saxon boat.
3. Like The Arthuriad, the
story has a consistent internal time-frame.
4. The characters are complex and flawed, but there is much to admire
in some of them.
1. There are strong elements of fantasy in the ability of characters to
foretell the future, and in the way legends of the past are repeated in
2. Sometimes the narration of past events by certain characters goes on
for an implausibly long time given the setting in which they
are supposed to be telling the story.
3. The novels have many plot threads, which is fine, except that there
seem to be a few loose ends.
4. There are few descriptions of full-scale battles --- most of the
fights are between a handful of warriors on each side.
Timeline (personal communication from the author)
425- Vitolinus = Vortigern is high-king of Britain.
452 Arthur born. (Bedwyr a few years later.)
460 Ambrosius becomes Magister Militum.
475 Arthur and
480 Arthur becomes Magister Militum.
491 Battle of Badon.
494 Arthur gains the Chalice of Sovereignty.
511 Battle of Camlann.
of the King by Alfred Duggan
Uniquely, Conscience of
the King is
from the perspective not of Britain's defenders, but of one of the
Germanic invaders: Cerdic (the King of the title), who narrates the
story of his long life. That said, Cerdic in this version is really
Coroticus, a Roman-British nobleman, although with German ancestry
("Woden-born"). Moreover, his early military career was in the service
of Ambrosius before he flees, as a fugitive from justice, into the
service of Oisc of Kent. His lack of scuples (the title of the book is
wholly ironic) leads to his fleeing again, this time into the service
of Aelle, before he finally gathers his own following to found the
kingdom of the West Saxons. It would not be appropriate to call this in
Arthurian novel --- though it certainly does fall under the header of
page --- as Cerdic never meets Arthur except in battle, and knows
about his origin or fate.
1. Duggan is renowned for the accuracy of his historical novels and
here he has, as he states, "used all the evidence there is for the
Coming of the Saxons". In particular, he has an explicit time-frame
based upon the Anglo-Saxon chronicle and the Annales Cambriae.
2. It contains several detailed descriptions of large-scale military
3. Although Cerdic is an unprincipled scoundrel, his intelligence,
frankness, and desire to found a civilized state enable the reader to
warm to him.
1. Considering it was published in 1951, this novel holds of
surprisingly well in the light of subsequent scholarship, but there are
a few aspects that are dated, such as (i) the Saxon's use of the
"blood-eagle", (ii) the Britons being largely exterminated in Saxon
occupied areas, (iii) the Britons' use of rectangular shields, and (iv)
Arthur's use of stirrups and couched lances.
2. It would have been nice if Arthur's career had been more fleshed
particular how he acquired from Byzantium the horses, training, and
equipment to field 1000 cataphracts, and how he was betrayed by one of
446-58 Vortigern is King of Britain.
451 Cerdic born.
469-73 Ambrosius is Count of Britain.
495 Cerdic founds Wessex.
& Beloved Exile
by Parke Godwin
as in Sword at
tells his story from his deathbead, while in Beloved Exile
Guinevere tells her (surprising) story of the next forty years. Firelord
is heavily influenced by themes from the romances, including Merlin,
the Holy Grail and the Faerie people. But this is not fantasy: Merlin
is Arthur's alter ego who
appears to him occasionally, the Holy Grail is a
real cup believed (by some) to be that from the last supper, while the
Faerie people are Picts from north of the wall. Godwin also includes
motifs from Welsh legend, in particular regarding Modred and Guinevere.
While not being predictable, Firelord
follows the usual narrative line for Arthur's life. But in
Godwin's imagination is free to run. The result is interesting, but
with less of the high drama of Firelord.
1. There is a grandeur and depth of emotion in Firelord.
Godwin explores the difference between British and Saxon societies: the
former being aristocratic, kin-based, honour-bound, poetic and
chivalric; the latter much more democratic, land-based, law-bound,
prosaic and pedestrian. These are stereotypes, for sure, but it gives
novels a sense that something is at stake in the struggle between the
two societies. Godwin also makes one believe that Arthur's
are the Welsh of old, without diminishing their heroic stature.
3. The portrait of Guenevere as a woman of power is compelling. Her
power comes from her intelligence, pragmatism, and royal birth
(unlike in lesser novels where she is often portrayed as a
warrior-princess, or mystical priestess, or
4. The time-line is clear, and there are strong if infrequent
references to continental events.
5. Godwin uses genuine British tribal names, and also features
Vortigern (briefly) and Ambrosius.
1. Arthur's intimate relations with a group of Picts, whence came his
son Modred, is an interesting way to work in the clash between Modred
and Guenevere, and Modred's rebellion. However I just did not find it
believable that Arthur, raised in relative luxury of a Romanized
could bear living in a Pictish hovel for six months, let alone find it
his true spiritual home.
Various parts of the story follow Geoffrey or the romances too closely
to be realistic. For example: the prominent brothers
which in reality was a distant, small and poor island unlikely to have
had any relations with the Romanized south.
3. Lucius Tiberius
(Arthur's Gallic adversary in Geoffrey of Monmouth) features here as a
patrician in Gaul under Clovis' thumb. But Arthur never engages
in war in Gaul, so it is hard to know why Godwin introduced him, except
to tease the too-knowledgable reader.
c.452 Arthur is born, and Guenevere also
c.462 Vortigern hands the Kingdom over to Ambrosius
476 Arthur becomes King
497 Battle of Badon
538 Death of Guenevere
Men Went to Cattraeth
by John James
It may surprise to find a book titled Men
Went to Cattraeth
in a list of novels of Arthurian Britain, as this battle is generally
dated to the late 6th century. However, like so much else in this
period, this dating is debatable, and James chooses to set it much
earlier (around 491 seems to be indicated on p.8), when Arthur is still
a toddler. Apart from this, the story follows a conventional
interpretation of the poem of Aneirin, which is the only account of the
battle: 300 or so British horsemen, feasted for a year by Mynydog of
Eiddin (Edinburgh), rode to war against the Anglo-Saxons of
Northumbria, and ultimately to their death at Catterick in Yorkshire.
The novel is the first-person recollection of Aneirin, one of the few
Britons who survived the battle, and is very dark in tone. War and the
clash of cultures are its themes, but Aneirin reveals snippets of
the bigger story, from the coming of the Saxons in the time of
Vortigern to the triumph of Arthur.
1. James' descriptions of war and genocide are horrifying to
sensibilities, and through James' skill in writing we sense that he
shares our horror, and sympathizes with the Saxons, while
maintaining Aneirin's Dark-Age sensibility and anti-Saxon polemics
Godwin, James makes much
of the difference between British and Saxon societies, but in even
more extreme ways. The aristocratic Britons are a free-spritited
warrior society, but also poetic: "The true aim of a kingdom is to
nurture poets" says their war-leader. Aneirin and his comrades
despise the "Savages" for having a so-called King who does manual work
alongside his subjects, and for the way they kill and clear the forests
to grow wheat ("the evil plant"), to support a dense population of
bread-eaters. When Aneirin makes it back to British territory, he
celebrates how he can hunt for his dinner again, eating "as a free man
... food gained not by sweat and labour of hands but by guile and
3. There is a tragic irony greater than the optimism of the doomed
expedition to Catterick: Anerin and the Britons steadfastly conceive of
themselves as Romans, and their ways as civilized ways, whereas the
reader recognizes that the Saxons are in many ways more advanced than
the Britons. Aneirin says the Savages "have wizards to conjure [their]
ships together, making the sides firm with planks of oak, because
they have not the wisdom to sew leather as civilized people
do". Even the Britons' Christianity is suspect, as they worship
the Virgin rather than God or the Christ.
4. The heroes of Cattraeth do not die in vain, even by their own terms.
First, the last of them die knowing they will be immortalized by
Aneirin: "If we have died only that a poem is made, then we have died
for a better thing than ever we lived for." Second, the campaign of
Mynydog's 300 weakens the Saxons of the North so much as to enable the
later victories of Uther and Arthur.
5. In general, the description of life and battle seem authentic
(though the differences between Saxon and Briton are exaggerated). The
only obvious error of fact I picked up was James' Britons knowing that
Hadrian's wall had been built by Hadrian (this information was
1. Mynydog's motivation for sending the 300 to their doom, revealed in
the last chapter, is not plausible. Although it ties the
story to Arthur's rise to power, it weakened the whole book I
2. Of course I would have liked more about Arthur, and Vortigern, and
Ambrosius, but I recognize that is not the novel James set out to write.
3. Aneirin seems to quote lines from Taliesin relating to Owain son of
Urien, in reference to a different Owain, Owain son of Mark of
Cornwall. But Taliesin certainly is from the mid-late 6th century so it
is not clear what is going on here.
4. Arthur is Mynydog's nephew for most of the book, but James slips in
the last chapter and calls him Mynydog's grandson.
c.460 the Saxons take York
c.487 Arthur is born
c.491 The battle of Cattraeth.
?520s Arthur, battle-leader, has triumphed over the Saxons and set up
Mordred, his heir apparent, as ruler in the North.
on the Timelines
Of the eight books or series reviewed in
above, five agree quite closely in their timeline: Arthur is born in
445x455, Badon is fought in 490x501, and (except for Firelord) Camlann
is fought in 504x522.
Since the battle of Badon is the only one of these events which is
surely historical, it is arguably the crucial event as regards the
setting of any historical novel in Arthurian Britain. Of the 33 novels
or series tabled above, at least 9 follow a similar timeline to
that just outlined, including in particular:
Arthur leads the Britons to victory at Badon in c.498 (489x506)
stands for consensus,
or conventional. However, some novels or series in the
above have an Early
setting for Badon:
Arthur leads the Britons to victory at Badon in c.471 (465x77)
leads the Britons to victory at Badon in c.516 (509x21)
There are a few examples of Very
Early and Very Late settings:
Arthur leads the Britons to victory at Badon in 452 or earlier
Arthur leads the Britons to victory at Badon in 534 or later
Finally, there are a few anomalous
Arthur is a war-leader in Britain before Ambrosius' victory
at Badon, with
that battle dated as in the
a war-leader in Britain after
victory at Badon, with that battle dated as in the
It is interesting to consider the
pseudohistorical material which leads different authors to choose
The basis for choosing an anomalous
setting is that
the only reliable source for Badon, mentions Ambrosius but does not
mention Arthur at all. (It should be noted however that Gildas only
names Ambrosius as the British leader in a battle a long time before
Badon, perhaps as many as 44 years before --- see my
article.) The A-X
Nennius mentions Arthur after Ambrosius. The sole B-X setting comes
from wishing to
identify Arthur with Riothamus, the King of the
Britons who was defeated in Gaul in c.470. The identification of Arthur
with Riothamus is also
probably the chief motivation for Hollick, and Wolf, who
chose the Early
don't think it is worth speculating about Whyte's motivation for
choosing a Very
motivation for Finkel and Masefield to choose a Very Late setting is, I
suspect, to enable Arthur's victories to depend upon help from
Emperor Justinian (527-65). For Treece, it is another synchronicity:
The remaining cases are more involved.
setting for Badon, which is the second-most popular, and the one I have
adopted in my
reconstruction, is best justified by the following:
The significance of the last dot point is that this is the only period
the ASC long enough to include the time Gildas describes after
Badon in which "foreign wars have ceased", and "an age succeeded
... that ... has experienced only the calm of the present."
- The Annales
the oldest document to assign dates to Arthur, put Badon in
- If Gildas' 44
counted backward from Badon to Ambrosius' first victory, then Badon
must be dated 517 or later, if Bede's date of 474x491 for Ambrosius is
- The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle claims no victories for the
against the Britons between 514 and 552, a period of 37 years, which is
long as any other such period in the early stages of the English
conquest (449 to 614). If the arrival of Stuf and Whitgar at Cerdic's
Ore in 514
is rejected as a 19-year easter cycle duplication of that of Cerdic and
Cynric in 495, the period becomes even longer – 43 years from 508.
view, which has become increasingly popular, probably owes much to the
influence of John Morris' The
Arthur (1973), explicitly acknowledged by the novelists
and Paxson among others.
It is best justified by
The relevance of the last dot point is that these dates are
years earlier than the dates in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the
Briton's first appeal to the Angles (443) and for the revolt of Hengest
(455). If this correction is made to the subsequent dates in the
Anglo-Saxon chronicle, for the
next eighty years, then the last claimed English victory before 552
would be in
499, or 493 (if the 514
entry is rejected). The
latter date (493) fits well with the suggested Badon dates of 496
or 497, and almost fits Bede's Badon
date of 489x93. It should be pointed out, however, that Bede's date
for Badon is almost certainly based on adding the infamous
Gildasian 44 years
to his date for the English advent, 445x449. Thus, if Bede's advent
date is rejected in favour of a date of 428 then following Bede's
for Badon would result in a still earlier date for Badon.
- Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the oldest document to date
(albeit approximately) the battle of Badon, indicates a date of 489x493.
- The Historia
has a "dangling date"of 497. It has been speculated that the missing
referent is the
battle of Badon.
- If Gildas' 44
counted forward from Badon to the time of Gildas' writing, and if the
Annales Cambriae date of 549 for
Maeglwn's death is trusted, then Badon
must be dated 506 or earlier.
- The Historia
to indicate a date of 428 for the arrival of the English, while the
Gallic Chronicles indicate a date of 440x444 for an English
takeover of a substantial part of Britain.
Finally, it is interesting to look at how the date of Badon in my
selection of Arthurian-period historical fiction (plus the 6 mentioned in the Introductory paragraph) has changed over the years. Prior to
the publication of Morris' Age of
Arthur in 1973, what I have called the C, L,
and VL settings were roughly
equally popular. Since then, the VL
setting has completely disappeared, and the L setting has become relatively rarer. Moreover,
since the publication of Geoffrey Ashe's The Discovery of King Arthur in
1985, the E/VE
setting has appeared. Note that some of the vertical-axis placements
in the plot below are approximate, and in some cases I am not
sufficiently confident about the year the author had in mind to
even an approximate placement.
Return to The Ruin and
Conquest of Britain main