Having finally finished the five book Pendragon Cycle, I figured I might as well finish things off for good, and read this addendum to the series.
James Arthur Stuart was an officer in the British Army, and a generally decent, if nondescript guy. While trying to save his home after his parents die, he finds he’s not who he thought he was. Not only is he really a Duke in Scotland, he’s actually King Arthur reborn, and through his recent bloodlines, the King of England, after the current king commits suicide.
What this story ends up being is a bit of a commentary on modern society. The prime minister of the time has been pushing through reforms to abolish the monarchy, and is one referendum away from doing away with it entirely. James comes onto the scene not knowing if he’ll actually be king in a week or two, but knowing that the British still need a monarch. Channeling a touch of the second sight, and helped by Embries (Merlin), who’s still kicking around, he brings a message of a monarchy to restore the greatness of the British people, and the Summer Kingdom.
Naturally, since Merlin is still there, Morgian is too, but she’s been reduced to Moira, basically manipulating men from the shadows. I didn’t really like what she became. Merlin kept his power and dignity through the thousand plus years since Arthur died, and while Morgian was never dignified, she had power, and it seems odd that she didn’t keep more of it. It did make the story rather pat, though.
What I found far more interesting is that though this was written in 1999, it pretty well encapsulates today – people cynical about all those in power, and fed up with it all. Reading some of the political machinations was a little eery. It’s practically twenty years on from when this book was written, and it could be today.