Blog Tour/Giveaway and Review of Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick

Pendragon's Banner: Book Two of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy

Who was the man
… Who became the legend
… We know as
Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.
At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britain—and keeping his wife and three sons safe—proves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.
In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.

I have been a naughty girl, I arrogantly thought I could study for my midterms and finish 5-6 books that all have over 300 pages each in two weeks. I have learned my lesson because as today is my day to post my review for Helen Hollick's fantastic book, Pendragon's Banner, I am only 250 pages in. I am going to go ahead and post my review on the book up to the point that I am at and I do want you to stay tuned for the remaining part of my review. I am thinking that what I will do is just create a new post over the weekend with the complete review. Let me tell you, this book is worth each and every page.

I do not pretend to know much about Arthurian legend. I love the movies like King Arthur, Merlin, Excalibur, Mists of Avalon and even Disney's Sword in the Stone. I love the fluff however, I am glad that the first book about Arthur Pendragon I read is "Pendragon's Banner". This is Book Two of Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner Trilogy. Although this is the second book of a trilogy, it has been able to stand alone. (I am DEFINITELY going to read book 1, The Kingmaking, that's for sure!). Helen Hollick's world of Arthur is dark, gritty, bloody, tumultuous, and gripping. There is no glamor in war, there is blood and death, and no holds barred. Even having to put a child to death to maintain Pendragon's rule. The British and English fighting and Arthur trying to maintain control. Hollick has created a strong Gwenhwyfar. I felt through Gwenhwyfar I was able to feel her pain, her frustrations, anguish and strength. A true queen without a castle who is holding her husband up, her children together and dealing with betrayal. Morgause is perfectly evil. This time in history, worldwide, was rocky and hard, and I feel that if I were to dream about Arthur, Hollick's is realistic.

Each chapter is short but powerful, Hollick's descriptions will open up all of your senses to which you will smell blood, feel stress, lift with power, and see the battles and watch the children grow. If you enjoy a gritty, realistic, dark and powerful book, this King Arthur is for you. I have, so far, enjoyed each and every page of this book and as I said, watch for my complete review over this weekend as I finish this powerful book.

With a huge thank you to Sourcebooks, I was given a complimentary copy of Pendragon's Banner to read and review. Also, they have also kindly offered YOU a chance to win one copy of Pendragon's Banner for your reading enjoyment.

The rules for the giveaway:
1 winner
USA and Canada, Only.
Answer this question: How do you perceive King Arthur? Do you see him as gritty, dirty, hard and a fighter (such as Helen Hollick's depiction) or do you see a glamorous Arthur with Merlin, Excalibur?
As always, I do not require you to be a follower of my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. I will post an announcement of the winner here on my blog and it will be up to YOU to contact ME. I suggest following my blog, if not, setting up a google alert for your username.

Winners will be chosen via
Contest ends on November 20th!
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

A thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with this complimentary review copy. disclaimer: I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.


  1. I see a mix of the two types you listed. I picture him as a fighter, strong, noble, and with Merlin and Excaliber as well.

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  2. Granted, I have not read Helen's first book either, but I've always had a rather dreamy portrayl of Arthur in my head. The story of Excalibur and the round table and Merlin always seemed so glamourous! Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. My favorite portrayal of King Arthur
    was in a book I read a few years ago by Bernard Cornwell. He was a warrior and Merlin was his adviser but there wasn't magic. Some trickery but not magic:)

  4. My gosh. What a fantastic review you have given. I look forward to reading what you think of the story in its entirety.

    You must read The Kingmaking as it is a fabulous read. Hellen does a fabulous job laying out the background of Gwenhwyfar and Arthur before his rise to being a King.

    I absolutely love how Hellen Hollick portrays Arthur and Gwenhwyfar. I do prefer to see him as the "gritty, dirty, hard and a fighter"! For me, her portrayal makes the story come alive for me!

    I so look forward to reading The Pendragon's Banner. I am hoping to get to the read in December.

  5. I like perceive King Arthur as the glamorous Arthur with Merlin, Excalibur because that would be the fairy tale version but to be a great leader you need to be a little dirty.

  6. After reading The Kingmaking my portrayal of Arthur is as a fighter and a man with a huge heart full of love for his significant other. He reminds me a lot of Barak from The Triumph of Deborah. I REALLY want to win this one!
    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  7. When I think of Arthur, at first I think of the boy with Merlin, magic & Excalibur, but then I go to an older man - one who is courageous, steadfast, handsomely rugged and extremely loyal. One who would go to any length to protect those he loves and those he trusts. He is the man that every woman's knight in shining armor is based upon.

    Thanks for the chance to win this. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed. This sounds like such a good read!

  8. I think that at least a little of Arthur's grittiness and hardness would come from trying to control the knights of the Round Table and make them more or less get along with each other. They weren't all pure-as-the-driven-snow Sir Galahads. :)

    So yes, I like the idea of a tougher, seasoned, maybe even cynical Arthur.


  9. I haven't read Hollick's Arthur series (but am looking forward to doing so). I guess when I think of King Arthur I think of noble, brave, strong, but also willing to get dirty and fight next to his men (that's part of the noble and brave part).

  10. Mostly I see a glamorous Arthur with Merlin, Excalibur. However, there would have to be a little of the gritty, dirty, hard and a fighter in him too for him to be the person he was.
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  11. I see a mix of both; the fearsome warrior, and the noble king.

  12. I always had the glamorous version in my you got me thinking...

  13. I prefer Helen's character depiction and that is how I see King Arthur. I know there wasn't a lot of bathing going on back then so really I can't see him as a metro-sexual male or a Playgirl centerfold.

    rubymoonstone at gmail dot com

  14. Now that I think about it, I've always seen him as the the latter: the glamorous Arthur.

    I saw a recent documentary narrated by Patrick Stewart about the legend, that may switch my views, however.

  15. I, too, see Arthur as a bit of a mixture, but I definitely see him tipped much more toward the "gritty" and hard-edged fighter you described, but with a dash of whatever-it-took (in those days) to be a successful politician--be it "manhood" or loyalty or shrewdness or "networking" Dark Ages style.

    I would love to read this book, as well as the first in the series.

    Thanks for the great giveaways as always!

  16. I think I see King Arthur more as Hollywood has portaryed him, but I would love the chance to see this other side:) This book sounds great! Thanks!

    christinbanda AT yahoo DOT com

  17. Thank you for the fantastic review and the wonderful support from everyone. I have so enjoyed this Blog Tour - and I'm thrilled that it seems Pendragon's Banner is a definite "hit"

    I look forward to meeting you all again when part three, Shadow of the King comes out next Spring

  18. I guess I think of King Arthur as tough fighter but fair and glamorous leader. I'd like to read this version! Thanks for a chance to win.

  19. I think that Arthur was more of a gritty fighter as the times dictated, but he was able to convince his kingdom that he was a special character and as his legend move verbally from town to town his aura grew into something much larger than life.


  20. I see king Arthur as a fighter, who struggled to do what he thought best for his kingdom.

  21. Hi :)
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    I think King Arthur is more realistic the way Helen Hollick describes him.
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  22. I think King Arthur and Merlin as glamorous figures.

  23. I see him as a fighterand he uses that to maintain peace in the kingdom

  24. I used to always see the more glamorous view, but as I have learned more about the times I see he was more dirty, hard, fighter
    copperllama at yahoo dot com