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The Winter King

The Warlord Chronicles, Book 1
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Series: The Warlord Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade.

Uther, the High King of Britain, has died, leaving the infant Mordred as his only heir. His uncle, the loyal and gifted warlord Arthur, now rules as caretaker for a country which has fallen into chaos - threats emerge from within the British kingdoms while vicious Saxon armies stand ready to invade.

As he struggles to unite Britain and hold back the Saxon enemy, Arthur is embroiled in a doomed romance with beautiful Guinevere.

©1995 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lee
  • 30-07-2016

Another great book by Bernard Cornwell

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. Jonathan Keeble is by far one of the best narrators I have heard, and I'm nearing 200 audio books now. The book is a little slow to start while Bernard is building the characters. It has an interesting and different spin the the King Arthur and Lancelot tale. Well worth the listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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winter drone

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

not sure but you would like long winded tales of not much

What will your next listen be?

something better the wellington series was better will go for LG Ross books again

Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Keeble’s performances?

He is good in some books not so good in others

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Winter King?

i don,t think i would have edited it could not get passed first few chapters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book

Fills the gap between Vikings and game of thrones with English class, historically written, epic and blood thirsty. Great narration as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A long haul

I’ve wanted to read Bernard Cornwell for a while and just found this to be too hard going. It meanders without much point.

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Very slow start but finished very welll

Loving all of Bernard cornwells books I was excited to listen to this one.
For the first 6/20hours it was painfully slow with very few moments of excitement that kept me super engaged.
Once it got going it was good, as expected.

The later parts of the book were great and I really really enjoyed them.

The final chapter was epic and amazingly well written and worth waiting for.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-07-2019

Slow and boring

Story was so slow, i almost stopped in many occasions. The accents were poor and really annoying. I had high hopes as I love the sharpe series by Bernard Cornwall, but I will not be getting the second in the series.

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  • Matt
  • 29-08-2014

Simply Brilliant

Would you listen to The Winter King again? Why?

This is the kind of story you can enjoy over and over again. The Winter King boasts an engrossing, complex and compelling storyline rarely found in stories based on the Arthurian legends, which tend toward the tradition of chivalry, knights, round tables and simple good/evil battles against Mordred, Oberon and Morgan Le Fay. Bernard Cornwell has done a masterful job in The Warlord Chronicles of creating an Arthur that is believable, an Arthur desperately trying to hold post-Roman Britain together when the stabilising forces of the empire have gone and the chaotic forces of inter-kingdom warfare, religious conflict and Saxon invasions have come. This brilliant story is told by a brilliant narrator, Jonathan Keeble, whose voice and performance are absolutely perfect for this dark historical fantasy.

What did you like best about this story?

Perhaps the story's strongest aspect is Bernard Cornwell's careful maintenance of historical realism. It is easy to imagine a Britain in the grip of the early Dark Ages, unsure of itself and vulnerable in the aftermath of the departure of the Roman legions and the arrival of hordes of Saxons. It is all the more moving when you realise that history holds the eventual end of the story; we know that the Saxons succeeded in conquering much of Britain, and it doesn't matter how hard Arthur fights. The Saxons will win in the end.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Jonathan Keeble's performances of all the characters in this audiobook are brilliant - he is the perfect narrator for this story. But perhaps his greatest success is in his portrayal of Arthur himself. The voice that Keeble uses for Arthur is only slightly different than the voice which he uses to portray the main character, Derfel, but it is enough. A slight tone in Arthur's voice immediately identifies him and carries across his humanity, compassion, ambition and altruism all at the same time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The only downside to this audiobook is its sheer length. At almost 20 hours, it is impossible to listen to the whole thing in one sitting - unless you are possessed of resolute determination, an iron will, and a lack of need for sleep. I would have liked to listen to all 20 hours without a break, as I found that when I had to turn it off to sleep and resumed it in the morning the story became a little disjointed. However, this is only a minor complaint and I would much rather have a long audiobook that takes multiple sittings than a short one that's over too soon.

Any additional comments?

This is an excellent example of historical fiction and of a legend being historicised. I cannot recommend this audiobook highly enough and eagerly await next month's credit so I can download the next instalment in the trilogy.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • The Wolf
  • 20-11-2014

Classic

Would you listen to The Winter King again? Why?

The narrator was entertaining and brought the story - one of my favourites - to life.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Winter King?

The part where Gundlias comes to the Tor....

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I really liked his various voices for the male characters. The female characters were sometimes OTT and verging on the Monty Python, Life of Brian "He's not a naughty boy" kind of thing but, overall, Keeble was an excellent narrator.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud a few times, thanks to both Cornwell's understated writing and Keeble's acting.

Any additional comments?

I read this series when it first came out and thought the audiobook would be a good way to go through it again without actually reading it. I wasn't disappointed and look forward to listening to the next two books with my membership credits.

Steven A. McKay, author of WOLF'S HEAD.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RJB1
  • 08-01-2015

The start of a great trilogy

Any additional comments?

Another excellent series by Bernard Cornwell. In my opinion this is his second best series behind The Saxon Stories. His portrayal of magic is excellent such that it becomes believable in a historical fiction setting, rather than fantasy where magic usually belongs.

As always with Cornwell, the battles are marvelously described, seeming to put you in the middle of the shield wall with the protagonist, Derfel.

The narration is superb, Jonathan Keeble has a powerful orators voice and is able to do a wide variety of accents so you immediately know the character who is speaking.

If you enjoy historical fiction, fantasy or other novels by Bernard Cornwell you should definitely try this one.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-07-2019

Simply Amazing

In my opinion the greatest work by Mr Cornwell - a fantastically paced series with engrossing characters. Derfel is (unlike Uhtred) a man we can empathise with and we follow his tale as a young boy to an old man. There's a great hook too which you pick up in the first chapter - the answer to which is teased subtly throughout. I read this series pretty much every year and now i can listen to it as well. Really well narrated and nigh on perfect.

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  • Kipperjam
  • 07-07-2019

Marvellous

Gripping and well narrated. Characters vividly brought to life. This must be how it may have been.

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  • Tiago
  • 01-07-2019

Best audio book ever!

What a narator.. what a novel.. the details are so vivid and the magic of superstition is all around... If Artur ever existed. this his his true tale.. well done Mr Bernard Cornwell..

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-05-2019

A must read

loved it amazing, thanks, the story was enriched by the different voice's. Well done 🙏

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-04-2019

wonderful story

it's a wonderfully entertaining detailed story that keeps you gripped and interested until the very end

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-04-2019

Good listen but

Been many years since I read the book and I did enjoy the audio book but for one thing the terrible impersonation of the Irish accents perhaps this is just cause I am from the blessed isle but it really did spoil an otherwise good telling of a tale

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-04-2019

Magic & Tradition

I have to say, it was somewhat heavy going keeping track of names and places as the pace of the story picked up.
Once again however a Cornwell flavour of words painting a vivid picture took shape in this story.
Superb