The Eagle: The Concluding Volume of The Camulod Chronicles

The Eagle: The Concluding Volume of The Camulod Chronicles

by Jack Whyte

NOOK Book(eBook)

$7.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Beginning with The Skystone, the first in his riveting Camulod Chronicles, Jack Whyte has embarked on an ambitious and remarkable re-telling of the Arthurian cycle, giving us a fresh and compelling take on a story that has been beloved for centuries.

The Eagle brings us at last to the heart of the tale, the creation of fabled Camelot and the love story that enshrined its glory. Whyte takes us into the minds and lives of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, three astonishing but fallible people who were bound together by honor, loyalty, and love. Three who created the glory that was Britain's shining dream…and, some say, caused its downfall.

The Gaulish nobleman Clothar—known in our time as Lancelot—is drawn to the young High King's court by tales of honor and nobility, where he meets a man whose love of law matches his own. More, he finds in Arthur a life-long friend whose dream of uniting the people of Britain in peace Clothar embraces. And Clothar meets Arthur's queen, a wondrous beauty whose passion and ideals match her husband's. Together they work to bring Arthur's dream to life.

But dark forces rise in opposition to Arthur's plans for creating this noble island nation and it is hard to tell friend from foe in the swirling chaos that ensues. Many tales have been told of the dream that shined and died. This one will astonish even the most jaded.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466833678
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Series: Camulod Chronicles , #9
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 218,723
File size: 665 KB

About the Author

JACK WHYTE was born and raised in Scotland and has lived in Canada since 1967. He has been an actor, orator, singer, and poet at various stages of his life, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters for his contribution to Canadian popular fiction. Whyte is the author of the internationally bestselling Dream of Eagles series (known as The Camulod Chronicles in the U.S. and Legends of Camelot in Great Britain) and the Guardians of Scotland trilogy ( The Forest Laird , Robert the Bruce, The Guardian). He lives in Kelowna, British Columbia.
JACK WHYTE was born and raised in Scotland and has lived in Canada since 1967.  He has been an actor, orator, singer, and poet at various stages of his life, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters for his contribution to Canadian popular fiction.  Whyte is the author of the internationally bestselling Dream of Eagles series and the Templar trilogy.  He lives in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The word apparently made no impression on the man to whom I had spoken, so I said it again, raising my voice slightly, despite the absolute silence, to make sure that he could hear me. Again, however, he chose to ignore me, his attention focused on the layer of whiteness that ended at the threshold of the cave that sheltered us. It had started snowing early that afternoon, tiny, individual flakes blown on a chill wind, their appearance unsurprising beside the sudden, harsh reality of the drop in temperature and the wind's strengthening bluster. But the snowfall had increased steadily ever since, so that now, a mere two hours later, the entire world had turned white, and the leaden clouds overhead were already leaching the light from the day, creating a premature dusk.

“What about them?” It was a dismissive response, and he kept right on talking, ignoring his own question, as though by merely acknowledging my reference he had dealt with the chariots in full. “This snow does not appear to be passing us by, my friend. It looks as though we might have to bring the horses inside. We could be here for the night.” Arthur Pendragon, nominal High King of All Britain, squinted at me in the darkness of the cave with snow-dazzled eyes. “That means we will have smelly lodgings, but well sheltered, and at least their body heat should stave off the worst of the chills, in the absence of firewood.” Stooping to avoid banging his high, crested helmet against the low ceiling, he moved inside to where I sat with my back securely in a corner of the wall. He placed his long, sheathed sword carefully againstan outcrop in the cave wall where it would not fall and then nudged my outstretched foot with his toe. “Move over, unless you want the entire floor for yourself.”

I made room for him, and he eased himself down beside me, then bent forward awkwardly, tugged the heavy war helmet from his head and placed it on the floor between his upraised knees. That done, he sighed and leaned back, scrubbing at his short-cropped hair with the palms of both hands before turning to peer more carefully into the depths of the cave that sheltered us, his dark, yellow-flecked eyes narrowing in concentration as he tried to penetrate the gloom back there. He was two and twenty that year, but looked older than he actually was, his face lined prematurely with the strains of leadership, and somehow, in spite of our relationship as High King and Frankish Outlander, he had become my dearest friend in the four years that had passed since my arrival in Britain at the age of sixteen.

“It's dark back there,” he grunted, and I did not contradict him, for I already knew the cave was both long and deep. We were seated in the day-lit area before the cave swung to the right, about five paces in from the entrance. Beyond where we were sitting, the darkness became absolute. Across from us, the corresponding angle in the wall was sharper, a knife-edged projection of stone jutting outward to form a flat-sided baffle that concealed the widening of the cave from anyone looking in from outside.

Past the corner formed by the flat-edged rock, the place widened to become more of a cavern than a simple cave, although it was pitch-dark back there. I knew from my first casual exploration that the roof was high enough to permit a tall man to stand upright, because I had done so and been able to stretch my hands above my head. I also knew there was a well-used fire pit in the middle of a spacious floor, because I had blundered into it, falling forward onto my hands and coming perilously close to twisting my ankle. One outthrust hand had landed on a smooth fire stone, and after I straightened up I had lobbed it into whatever lay in the darkness ahead of me. The pause that followed, and then the sounds as the stone struck the wall and fell to the floor, told me that there was more than sufficient space for men and horses beyond the limits of my vision.

Arthur turned back to me in the fading afternoon light. “It's not exactly a bedchamber in Camulod, is it?”

“It's dry,” I responded, “and it's large. There's a fire pit, too, so it'll warm up, once we drag some dead wood up here.”

His face wrinkled into his familiar half smile. “Up here from where? And did I hear you say ‘we'? Are you suggesting that the chosen Riothamus of Britain should go out foraging for dead wood? That he should slide and slither down a mountain in a snowstorm and then fight his way back up again, dragging a tree trunk like a common charcoal burner? Is that what you are trying to tell me?”

“No, not at all, Seur King.” I wrapped my cloak around me more securely, shutting out the chilly draft that was gnawing at my legs.

“What is that?”

“What is what?”

“That word . . . that expression you use when you address me as king. You could be calling me nasty names, for all I know.”

I thought hard, wondering what in the world he was talking about, and then I laughed. “Oh, you mean Seur!”

“That's it. What does it mean?”

“Nothing dire, rest assured. It is a term we use at home in Gaul. A term of respect used in addressing a superior, as in Seur King, or Seur Something-else. That's all. And sometimes we use it as a personal gesture of honor, when we are dealing with someone who has no royal rank, but who is otherwise admired as a clever or a noble man. Like Merlyn, for example. I might call him Seur Merlyn in speaking to him, or perhaps even Seur Caius.”

“Aye, very well. Now, what were you saying, before I interrupted you? You had made some kind of unacceptable suggestion . . . a hint, if I remember correctly, that I might think seriously about toiling like a common charcoal burner.”

I shrugged. “I was suggesting nothing, other than that you should, perhaps, think in terms of fuel, rather than of firewood, and that there are large amounts of it down below us, quite easily accessible. We could take our horses down with us and let them pull the load up—the snow's not deep.”

“Not yet, but give it time.”

“Hmm. No need. It will take all the time it needs and wants, Seur King, heedless of whether or not we choose to give it any. Most important of all in this discussion, however, is the self-evident truth that I, as a loyal retainer and faithful companion, might well go down there alone, as you propose, and do what needs must be done. But the storm is worsening, as you say, and I might only be able to make one passage. Thus, it seems to me that if you would prefer your kingly arse to stay warm all night long, instead of having it freeze to the bones in the darkest hours, you might consider it worthwhile, for once in your life of slothful privilege, to set aside your dignitas and concern yourself with simple comfort and survival.”

“You mean I should come with you—share the labor—work like a common clod?”

“Did I say that? Aye, I suppose I did. But think of it as sharing the warmth afterwards, rather than the labor beforehand.”

“Put like that, I admit the notion does have a certain logic to it.” He scratched his chin. “Slothful privilege. You know, you're the only man in Britain who would dare say such a thing to me, in such a way.”

I could no longer keep my face straight and grinned at him. “Aye, I know. You keep telling me so. But that, as you are always pointing out, is because I'm nothing but a foreigner, lacking the proper awe of your status and stature.”

“Status and stature? Both in one breath? That's clever, Clothar, that's very good. You always manage to redeem yourself just short of the executioner's sword.” He glanced again towards the back-lit entrance and its curtain of swirling snow. “Damnation, I swear it's getting worse. Even God has no respect for my situation here.” He sighed dramatically. “Well, I suppose we had better go and see to it. No point in sitting here idling while things worsen. Come on, then, up you get.” He rose quickly to his feet, giving the lie to his earlier act of weariness, and held out his hand to pull me up.

“How do you feel?” he asked then, all traces of levity gone as he leaned forward to peer closely into my eyes. I had had a deep-seated headache earlier in the day, probably caused by over-tiredness born of little sleep in the previous three nights, but it had abated steadily as we traveled and now my head was clear. I reached down for our helmets and clutched my own under one arm as I held the King's out to him.

“I'm fine now. But I'll feel better when I'm warmer.”

Our horses were ground-tethered just outside the cave, still saddled. We brushed the melting snow off our saddles and remounted, then made our way down the slope to the wooded area at the bottom.

Within an hour we were back inside the cave and had a healthy fire crackling between us, its light sending shadows dancing high on the vaulted ceilings at the very rear of what had turned out to be a huge and ancient cavern. I was conscious of the melted snow steaming gently around the periphery of the fire pit. It was snowing harder than ever outside now, the swirling flakes agitated by a keen, biting wind that had sprung up just as we put our horses to the upwards slope of the hillside. Each animal had dragged up a large, rope-tethered bundle of dead branches, and we had scampered uphill beside them, clutching their bridles and slipping and sliding on the treacherous slope.

Once back at the cave, our first concern had been to light a fire, and I had spent some time attending to that, working carefully in a corner far from the gusting winds, plying flint and steel against dried moss and wood shavings until we had a flame that would not go out. As soon as we were sure we could leave the fire to burn safely on its own, even though it was not yet as alive as it ought to be, we off-saddled and led our animals into the rear of the cave, where we rubbed them down and left them with their nose bags on, contentedly chewing on a double handful of oats apiece while we busied ourselves in the main cabin, seeing to our own comfort. Arthur wielded my battle-axe expertly, chopping our hard-won fuel into manageable pieces while I laid kindling for a second fire, this time in the shallow pit inside the cave that had been well used for the same purpose frequently in the past. I then carried the live coals from the first fire, over in the sheltered corner, to ignite the main one. The wood we had found was dry and well seasoned, so it burned almost without smoke, and the little smoke that there was drifted straight up and disappeared into some kind of natural flue in the overhead rock.

Warm and reasonably comfortable now that our work was done, we sat with our saddles bracing our backs, eating cold rations together in companionable silence, aware, because we had checked carefully to be certain of it, that no hint of our fire could be detected from the darkness outside the cave.

I could tell from the expression on Arthur's face that something was troubling him and I knew him well enough by now to know, too, that whatever it was, it was far from being a casual, passing annoyance. I said nothing, however, knowing from four years of close friendship with the man that he would speak when he was ready.

Finally he sniffed and folded the remains of his meal into a square of cloth before stuffing it back into the leather scrip at his waist.

“Chariots, you said. What about them?”

I knew better than to comment on the fact that more than an hour had elapsed since I last mentioned them. “I've never seen a war chariot before. Thought they were used only by the ancients. But I counted nigh on a score of them out there this morning, and they're impressive, dangerous-looking things. Where would Horsa's Danes have found such things here?”

“Here?” Arthur's lips turned down in doubt. “They might not have. I've never seen any here. They probably brought them over with them when they came.” He picked up a heavy section of branch and thrust it deep into the flames. “They break down easily enough for shipping, despite the solid look of them. Wheels and axles come apart and are easily stowed, and the bodies are no more than strips of hammered leather, woven over sturdy frames. They'll stack one atop the other. Those Danes riding in them today could have brought the things over years ago—no telling when—and the horses could have been stolen from anywhere. These great Roman roads of ours have reversed the wheels of time, providing causeways to permit our enemies nowadays to put their weapons to the best use they can make of them, with little peril.”

“But they look unassailable, Arthur, and most of them had blades attached to the wheel hubs. They will cause havoc among our horsemen when they join battle, with their weight and bulk and speed.”

The King pursed his lips and nodded agreeably, looking remarkably unperturbed, it seemed to me, considering the gravity of what he was acknowledging. But as I was about to learn, he knew more than I did about this topic.

“Aye, they might,” he said quietly, “were they ever able to reach our horsemen. But they won't be.” He brought both hands up in front of him, arms extended, and mimed the actions of pulling a nocked arrow back to his ear. “No chariot builder, here or anywhere else, ever thought to encounter a weapon with the strength and accuracy of our Pendragon longbows, Clothar. You wait and see. My bowmen will kill every single charioteer before any of them can come within a quarter mile of our ranks. No gamble involved, either, my friend—at least, not on our side. An attacking charioteer, whipping his team straight forward towards combat against us, is a dead man. I don't care how gifted or skillful he may be, or how much he weaves and wavers in his approach. Sooner or later, simply because he is steering a chariot, he will have to turn it around and steer it straight towards us in order to attack. And then he will die, before he ever comes within striking range of us. You wait and see.”

Twice in that little address he had told me to wait and see, and I grinned. “I might have to.” I waved towards the now-dark cave entrance behind us and beyond our sight. “If the snow keeps falling out there, we won't be able to move, let alone fight a battle tomorrow, so the wait might be a long one before we see anything.”

I estimated we were about three, perhaps four, miles distant from our army, an hour's ride in normal weather, but we had not anticipated the snow coming so early or so heavily, and now I found myself wondering if we could reach our encampment at all, with darkness falling so quickly. We had left our forces camped in a valley to the south that morning, while we rode up into the hills to spy on the enemy formations heading southward towards our position. We had been playing cat and mouse with them for a long time now, remaining ahead of them and keeping out of their sight until we could find a suitable spot in which to bring them to battle on our own terms.

Arthur shrugged as well as he could beneath armor and cloak. “We may not be able to move, but neither will they, Clothar. Neither will they. Our enemies and their chariots will be immobilized.”


“What d'you mean, ‘Hmm'?” He turned and frowned at me. “Do you think I'm wrong?”

“No, not at all.”

“Then why do you sound so doubtful?”

I spread my hands, palms upward. “I'm not doubtful, Arthur . . . It's simply that I detect a hint of doubt in you yourself.” I held my hand up now, to prevent the angry retort I knew would spring to his lips, and spoke before he could deny what I had said. “A hint, I said, the merest hint, and shapeless, I will admit . . . but a hint nonetheless. I sense a doubt in you, my friend.”

“Then damn you for having eyes too sharp for your own good. Now look to your own affairs and talk about something else.”

“And how might I do that, my lord? My affairs are all your affairs. I have none of my own and nothing else to talk about. You know that.”

“Then find some.”

“Of course. I shall. Immediately. As soon as the snow stops,” and with that I set aside the remnants of my own meal and pushed my saddle backwards, away from the fire, then stretched myself out to sleep on the opposite side of the fire pit from him.

Copyright © 2005 by Jack Whyte. Originally published in Canada by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Eagle (Camulod Chronicles Series #9) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
hlselz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this series is so good- but this final book is not :(
cajela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, is this it? Damn. I feel let down. I've been following this series, have all nine books, and loved eight of them. This one is similar in style, as you'd expect - long on immaculately researched history. Lots of battles and politics from 300-500AD, as small colonies struggle to keep up a vestige of civilisation after the Romans leave and the Saxons begin to arrive.But this book is the payoff where we expect the Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot story to be told, and it bloody isn't! OK, it's in the same style and still quite enjoyable, but I felt cheated.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful retelling of Arthurian mythology from a more realistic and less mythological standpoint. Great read!
bryanspellman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fine ending to the Camulod Chronicles. It seems however that Jack got a little tired and we never see the end of Arthur. Just through heresay and specualtion. Still a good read
kendosam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No, unfortunately my rating of 2.5 stars is not a mistake. In the grand scheme of things this is not a terrible book but set against the rest of the series it is quite disappointing. To me, the story seemed rushed and there was not a lot of meat to it. The whole last battle of King Arthur and fall of Camelot takes place in one short chapter. Jack Whyte planed initially to end the series at Sorcerer because he felt that the fall of Camelot and death of Arthur had been done to death. The only saving grace about this book is that Whyte doesn't make this book about the whole Lancelot, Guenivere, and Arthur love triangle. For readers of the A Dream of Eagles series, I would recommend stopping at Sorcerer as Jack Whyte intended in the first place. Uther is a good read and answers a lot of questions about the series, but imo the eagle is a disappointing ending to an amazing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having just read all nine books in the series in the last five weeks, I can’t say enough about Jack Whytes story telling and ability to paint a wonderful picture of the period. He has obviously researched extensively to add an air of authenticity to this saga. I hated to see it end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the first 557 pages: Battle. Battle. Battle. Battle. Battle. Battle. Battle. For the final 10 pages: King Arthur sends for Seur Clothar to return to Camulod. War is coming to Camulod. Arthur wishes for Clothar to travel with Queen Gwinnifer to Gaul for their own safety. Arthur promises to send for them both once war is over and peace prevails. Arthur dies! Gwinnifer and Clothar fall in love, marry and have children in Gaul. Everyone Clothar ever knew, dies. He is an old man, now. He misses everybody. Shouldn't that last part take at LEAST 100 pages to write???? And isn't THAT the whole crux of the matter???? I was left scratching my head.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series, but was very disappointed in the last two books. This book especially was a complete "cop-out", giving almost no details about the last days of Camulod. Instead, we spend Arthur's last days in France, with only the occasional letter from the King to fill us in on what is happening in Britain. Horribly disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this whole series this is a good book but not as good as the rest seemed a little short for the story. If you read all the others you will need to read it to see how it plays out!! LONG LIVE THE KING!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this to be about average for the series as a whole. There are some great elements in Jack's King Arthur novels, but they move along much too slowly. Some interesting threads get dropped before he has a chance to develop them.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Hearing tales that King Arthur of Camulod insists that laws should rule not personalities, wealth or power, young Gaul noble Clothar believes the High King is right with this novel concept. When he also learns of honorable deeds performed by those sworn to Arthur, Clothar decides to join the High King¿s court. Especially exciting the idealistic knight is the long term goal of a united England living in peace, prosperity, and preparedness especially from outside Saxon invasion. Clothar joins those loyal to King Arthur. Arthur¿s aspirations are difficult to achieve because provincial monarchs refuse to cede power to him without a struggle. Two particular kings Symmachus and Connlyn unite to oppose King Arthur. Meanwhile within Camulod, Clothar is attracted to Arthur¿s wife Queen Guinevere though he knows no honor if he ever acts upon his deep feelings for her. As Clothar still holds to the dream of a united peaceful kingdom, he is sent to his home to save Gaul from the invading Huns. Several years later he returns to Camulod in time for a final encounter with the forces led by the rebellious provincial monarchs. --- The ninth and final Camulod novel is an exciting finish to a strong epic saga. The tale is told by Clothar so much of the story line occurs away from Camulod so to a degree, newcomers can enjoy the last book however, to better understand how the three heroes (Clothar, Arthur and Guinevere) got to where they are, previous tales are a must. Shockingly to this reader, after eight strong tales with many detours and sidebars, the final battle between the progressives and the status quo seems rushed. Still Jack Whyte¿s final installment will please Camulod fans as he completes his interpretation of the legend. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
This last tome from Jack Whyte concludes the Camulod Chronicles. It finally fills-in the relationship between Arthur, Clothar (Lancelot) and you-know-who. It's a plausable and satisfying ending. The series still leaves the early and developing relationship between Arthur and Clothar missing in the years between 'The Lance Thrower' and 'The Eagle' unexplained. There's a book missing somehow, between these two. But, overall it's a terrific and compelling read.