Tor, Jul 2004, 14.95, 351 pp.
Caius Merlyn Brittanicus fears that the next assassin sent by his family's enemy Ironhair might prove successful and kill his nephew, eight-year-old Arthur Pendragon. He decides the future leader of his beloved Camulod must be kept safe until he is ready to rule. Merlyn takes Arthur north to Ravenglass, a haven across the sea from Eire where he can expect sanctuary from King Derek and several friends. Still even with Merlyn ready for seemingly any contingency in what should be a haven, another attack is averted by the sorceress Shelagh.
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Derek provides the Camulodians an abandoned Roman fort that they can easily defend from assault. Inside the fort over the next few years, Arthur learns how to be a warrior- soldier using a blade made from the Skystone with an Excalibur symbol etched on it, a military strategist and tactician, and a nurturing but firm ruler of all the people.
The trade paperback version of the fifth Camulod Chronicles, THE FORT AT RIVER'S BEND, is a deep historical piece that showcases in incredible layers the post Roman ancient world of British Cambria. The story line has plenty of intrigue, but the action is on a smaller scale as there is no epic battle, but more a coming of age tale. The secondary cast is an interesting group though Arthur seems a bit too perfect during the years in training for a preadolescent teen. Still fans of the series will appreciate Jack Whyte's intense look at a bygone era.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner