M. K. Hume [King Arthur Trilogy 04] The Last Dragon

BOOK: M. K. Hume [King Arthur Trilogy 04] The Last Dragon
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Copyright © 2014 M. K. Hume

The right of M. K. Hume to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

First published as an Ebook in 2014 by HEADLINE REVIEW
An imprint of HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP

Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

All characters in this publication – apart from the obvious historical figures – are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

Epub conversion by Avon DataSet Ltd, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire

eISBN 978 0 7553 7959 0

Cover design © Larry Rostant

HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP
An Hachette UK Company
338 Euston Road
London NW1 3BH

www.headline.co.uk
www.hachette.co.uk

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

About the Author

Also by M. K. Hume

Praise

About the Book

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Dramatis Personae

Map 1 – Myrddion’s Chart of Pre-Arthurian Roman Britain

Map 2 – Myrddion’s Chart of The Celtic Tribal Areas

Prologue

Chapter I

Chapter II

Master Bedwyr’s Family Tree

The Family Tree of King Bors Minor

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Map 3 – The Landscape of Crookback Farm

Chapter VII

Map 4 – The Saxon Attack on the Hospital at Caussenae

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Map 5 – Plan of Warriors’ Dyke

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Map 6 – Saxon Advances into South-West Britannia

Chapter XII

Map 7 – Taliesin’s Plan of Calleva Atrebatum

Chapter XIII

Map 8 – The Battle of Calleva Atrebatum – The Cavalry Charge

Map 9 – The Battle of Calleva Atrebatum – Stage One

Chapter XIV

Map 10 – The Battle of Calleva Atrebatum – Stage Two

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

Chapter XVIII

Map 11 – Arthur’s Trek from Tintagel to Onnum

Chapter XIX

Chapter XX

Postscript

Author’s Notes

Glossary of Place Names

Glossary of Tribal Names Used

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. K. Hume is a retired academic, who is married with two grown-up sons and lives in Queensland, Australia. M. K. Hume completed an MA and PhD in Arthurian Literature many years ago and has previously written six magnificent novels: the King Arthur trilogy,
Dragon’s Child
,
Warrior of the West
and
The Bloody Cup
and the Prophecy trilogy about the life of Merlin:
Clash of Kings
,
Death of an Empire
and
Web of Deceit
.

By M. K. Hume and available from Headline Review

King Arthur Trilogy

King Arthur: Dragon’s Child

King Arthur: Warrior of the West

King Arthur: The Bloody Cup

Merlin Trilogy

Prophecy: Clash of Kings

Prophecy: Death of an Empire

Prophecy: Web of Deceit

Twilight of the Celts Trilogy

The Last Dragon

PRAISE FOR M. K. HUME

‘Hume brings the bloody, violent, conniving world vividly to life . . . will appeal to those who thrill to
Game of Thrones
and other tales of intersecting, ever-warring, noble lineages’
Kirkus Review

‘Hume deftly navigates the Arthurian legends, populating them with likable and despicable characters, and casting them in a fully realized historical setting’
Publishers Weekly

‘Historical fiction of the most bloodthirsty and roistering kind’
Australian Bookseller & Publishers Magazine

‘Exciting, violent and bloody . . . Up there with Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell’
www.lovereading.co.uk

‘It’s a slice of history that’s totally, utterly believable. Magnificent’
www.booksmonthly.co.uk

ABOUT THE BOOK

King Artor lies slain and Ector, a mere boy, is acknowledged as the legitimate heir to the kingdom. But the land of the Celts is weakened and Ector grows up torn between a sense of doom and duty.

Meanwhile, in the Forest of Arden, it is revealed to young Arthur that he is the Bastard Prince, son of King Artor and Lady Elayne. Trained in the skills of a warrior, Arthur cannot challenge the position of his ruler and childhood friend, but nor can he stand back and watch Briton crumble under the threat of invasion. As the Last Dragon, he must ensure that his father’s legacy lives on . . .

This book is written in memory of my dear friend, Robyn Jones, who passed away on 29 December 2010. She pulled me up when I was at my lowest, and simply would not tolerate cowardice or giving up when the going became tough.

She taught me that bullies only have power over us if we give it to them. At the table in her garden, she made me promise never to give up on myself, no matter what I was told – even when she was dying and my problems were as nothing to those she was carrying with quiet heroism. There are no words of sufficient eloquence that can repay such a gift.

People such as Robyn are true friends: those who speak the truth in hard times, but stay by your side to hold your hand in times of need.

My life is the poorer without you, my friend.

M. K. Hume

January 2014

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

When you write historical fiction, proof-reading is a long and tedious task that requires intense concentration. It’s amazing how any number of people can read a manuscript and miss ‘typos’ hidden away in all sorts of strange places, but these ‘bombs’ will be found as soon as the novel has been printed, released and displayed on the shelves of a bookshop.

I try to get around this perennial problem by using (literally) a number of friends to do this difficult task for me, thus giving them an advance read of what takes place in the novels long before they are released for publication.

This process serves two purposes. In the first instance, we pick up most of the ‘typos’ at the right time in the production of the manuscript. But then, and probably more importantly, I get feedback from superb readers on exactly how they feel about the content to which they have been exposed. Fortunately for my ego, their responses are usually favourable, but occasionally they come up with some major ‘boo-boos’ on my part, or sometimes on the part of Michael who handles all the editorial and production problems. I am always grateful for these discoveries, because repairs can be made
before
they become a source of acute embarrassment to me.

As an example of ‘egg on your face’, I utilised potatoes as one of the ingredients in a stew in one of the novels, set in sixth-century Britain. As potatoes did not find their way to the British Isles until about
AD
1500, my recipe was about one thousand years out. I was totally humiliated by this error, because I knew in my own mind that Europe didn’t have potatoes then. I just didn’t pick up on it while in the frenzy of writing.

I thanked my correspondent, red faced, and have tried really hard to remove potatoes from my diet since then.

Similarly, I described the weaponry of Celtic warriors in another novel and mentioned that they were armed with the short Roman stabbing sword that had been used for many centuries by Roman legionaries. However, by the fifth century, the Roman legions were equipped with a longer form of the same weapon. Again, I was embarrassed by my own inadequacies. Fortunately, readers are nice people, so an apology was quickly provided to this knowledgeable critic.

And so my proof-reading friends are very important to me when we are in the final stages of producing each novel. I would particularly like to thank the following for their assistance with proof-reading and constructive criticism: Sue Carpenter, David Hall, David Stephenson, Peter Campbell, Suzanne Beecham, Pauline Reckentin.

To my publicist and source of corporate wisdom, Jolene Hill, my thanks.

I also thank my lovely agent and friend, Dorie Simmonds, who always gives me the confidence to go on, hopefully to bigger and better things.

And to the staff at Headline who always make me feel good about my work. Guys, the covers for the
Prophecy
trilogy were absolutely incredible. I thank you.

My best wishes and my thanks go to you, my friends.

M. K. Hume

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Aelle
One of the Saxon thanes killed by King Artor. He was the father of Cymen (killed at Anderida), Wlencing (killed at Noviomagus) and Cissa who eventually became the leader of the Southern Saxons.

Ambrosius
High King of the Britons (Ambrosius Aurelianus or Ambrosius Imperator). He was the son of Constantine III and brother to Constans II and Uther Pendragon (all of whom were High Kings of the Britons). Constans II was succeeded in turn by Vortigern, Ambrosius, Uther and Artor.

Anna (Licia)
Queen of the Ordovice. She is the legitimate daughter of King Artor and Gallia, his first wife. Her identity was kept secret to protect her from those who would defile her and gain control over Artor. She was referred to as the king’s sister to disguise her true relationship with the Dragon King.

Artair
The king of the Atrebates tribe.

Artor
High King of the Britons. The son of Uther Pendragon and Ygerne (the widow of King Gorlois of Cornwall). He fathered Anna (Licia) on his first wife, Gallia. He also illegitimately fathered Arthur on Elayne. The Saxons refer to Artor as the Dragon King.

Arthur
The illegitimate son of King Artor and Lady Elayne. She is the wife of Bedwyr, the Arden Knife, who fosters Arthur at King Artor’s request. The boy becomes a warrior in his own right.

Bedwyr
Master of Arden Forest, and a member of the Cornovii tribe. Taken as a slave by the Saxons in his youth, he was instrumental in defeating the Saxon forces at the fortress of Moridunum. Later, in company with Galahad and Percivale, he became one of the three warriors who took part in the quest for the Bloody Cup. Married to Elayne, he has five children – Arthur (sired by King Artor), Lasair, Nuala, Barr and Maeve.

BOOK: M. K. Hume [King Arthur Trilogy 04] The Last Dragon
13.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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