Pendragon - Island of the Mighty
The scattered petty kingdoms of Britain are under siege. Enemies press in upon them from every direction -- slaughter-mad Picts to the north¸ Irish pirates to the west¸ and murderous Saxons everywhere their longboars can touch an inch of dry land. Long gone are the troops Rome had assigned to protect the island¸ withdrawn to fight the Empire's final¸ futile battles against the barbarians on its own doorstep. Yet there remain a stalwart few¸ such as the efficient and brutal general Artorius¸ who struggle to keep Rome's glorious military legacy alive in Britain. The half-million warriors massing to attack are only a part of Artorius' challenge¸ though. He must also contend with the infighting of themyriad British princes¸ and the machinations of the Druid bard Merddin and the seemingly mad Christian missionary Gildas. More troubling still are the problems presented by Princess Gwendaello¸ recent successor to the ancient title of Pendragon and rulership of all Britain. This clever and courageous young woman refuses to compromise her followers' freedom for the benefit of Artorius' Pax Britannica¸ and in doing so reminds him that a tradition even more precious than the leavings of Rome waits to be claimed by the true herid of the 'Island of the Mighty.' First published in 1930 and long unavailable to all but the most devoted collectors of Arthurian fiction¸ Pendragon paints an original and detail-rich picture of Britain in the early sixth century¸ one made all the more appealing by W. Bernard Faraday's flair for striking characters and sly¸ razor-edged humor.