CLOTHAR THE FRANK, the 6th novel in Jack Whyte's extended series THE CAMULOD CHRONICLES, steps back from Dark Ages England and moves across the channel into post-Roman Gaul to provide an imaginative, extraordinarily detailed, historical back story to the birth, education and development of Lancelot.
Many reviewers complained bitterly that this novel was long-winded and completely failed to advance the story of the King Arthur legend. In a sense, I agree totally. But I'd also suggest to these readers that, if they relaxed and simply accepted the book on its stand-alone merits, they would realize that this, far from being a weakness, is, in fact, its strength and virtue. This is a side bar to the Arthurian legend, something intended to fill in the blanks as it were. The dust flap tell it quite simply ... "Clothar's story is the story of Lancelot - his past, his loves, his loyalty and his role as King Arthur's friend and betrayer".
CLOTHAR THE FRANK is the exciting story of a wealthy family's life in Gaul. Clothar, raised and educated by a saintly Catholic bishop, learns that he is the son of a local king. An exceptionally well-rounded education allows him to step into the role of soldier, leader and a warrior and to accept his role in a bloody internecine civil war. We learn of the reasons behind Clothar's voyage to a dark ages England, besieged by the savage Saxons and Danes after the departure of the Roman legions, where Arthur has yet to be crowned as the High King. As with any good historical fiction novel, CLOTHAR THE FRANK provides plenty of realistic period atmosphere and colour.
I couldn't help but smile at the final scene in which Clothar actually meets the newly crowned King Arthur for the first time. I'm pretty sure that Jack Whyte had dreamed about Robin Hood and Little John the night before he penned the details of this particular chapter. See if you don't agree! A highly recommended addition to any historical fiction lover's library.