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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 (71 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

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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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    1 out of 5 stars

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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Gripping

I just couldn’t stop listening! Bernard Cornwell is an expert story teller. I can’t wait to start the second book in the series. The narrator does a great job too.

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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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  • Guy Selickter
  • 07-09-2019

Breath Taking

loved it, what else can I say? need at least 15 words, well...Good book, very well narrated

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Darren
  • 31-07-2019

Long in the tooth...BUT!

Admirably done
A great take on an old story. Made you do some research on pre-Roman Briton. Takes the fictional literary yarn of Author much more human.
Twas a bit long but gripping in the end. Bernard Cornwell delivers for me.

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  • Colm O'Connor
  • 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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven A. McKay
  • 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Stuart Rees
  • 14-09-2019

Great book, not so great narration

As far as the story goes, it's fantastic! This is one of my favourite books, and I've read it many times before. This trilogy is Cornwell's best work in my opinion. I did have some issues with the narration though...
To be clear, Jonathan Keeble has a terrific voice and gives a strong performance, but this book is choc full of Welsh words that are so consistently miss pronounced that it occasionally drove me, a welshman, to distraction! This complaint is somewhat specific to myself, but I also didn't like the voice he gave to Nimue (who's name is also mispronounced), which at times was so cartoonishly Irish that it weakened the character's gravitas.
I'd suggest trying an alternative reading of this great book if any of that sounds like an issue to you, but if not, this is a great listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr. J. S. Bray
  • 03-08-2019

Great story but let down by pronunciation of names

This is a good story and generally well told but the Welsh names are poorly managed. A phoentic guide would have made all the difference.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • S.C.Forest
  • 15-12-2016

Great story, poor pronunciation

I have previously heard an abridged audiobook of this story, and it is a great story. Of course, there are many 'versions' of the Arthurian story available, and since there is little or no provable facts concerning Arthur, one is free to accept any one which appeals, or refuse them all. at the end of the day, we are dealing with a legendary warlord. I think that in post Roman Britain, he was the sort of figure Britain was desperate for, and was the subject of hope and desire, rather than a flesh and blood character.
This version of the Bernard Cornwell story is very good indeed, but in this recording, the pronunciation of many of the words, ( because I suspect, of their Welsh or Cornish origins), are wrong. however, for all that, it is quite an acceptable effort, and I found that after an hour or so, my brain was making the necessary adjustments, and so I ended up enjoying the production immensely. This complete edition is way superior to the abridged version. give it a go, - you owe it to yourself!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam Allen
  • 29-08-2019

As good an audio book as it is an epic read!!

I read this year's ago and loved it for it's different, more realistic, take on a legend. To listen to it again just reaffirms this awesome story!! I wish they would make it into a series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-2019

spectacular story

Awesome story again given a whole life of its own by the narration of Jonathan Keeble.

Will definitely read the other books in the trilogy.

1 of 1 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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mr j m tattersall
  • 28-10-2019

another excellent novel by B Cornwell

A little hard to get to grips with early on but what an exciting listen as the story unfolded.
Having listened to the remaining books in this series, I take back the first 11 words of my earlier comments.This is an excellent series. Couldn't stop listening to Excalibur.