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Enemy of God  By  cover art

Enemy of God

By: Bernard Cornwell
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
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Publisher's Summary

At the end of The Winter King, Arthur fought the battle that forces unity on the warring British kingdoms and now he sets out to face the real enemy - the English (it is one of the great ironies of the Arthur stories that he should have become an English hero when, if he existed at all, he was a great war-leader who opposed the invading Sais). First, though, Merlin leads a perilous expedition into the mysterious west to retrieve a cauldron, one of the treasures of Britain - this cauldron story is almost certainly the root of the holy grail strand in the Arthur tales. The treasures of Britain, Merlin believes, will bring the old Gods onto the side of the British in their struggle against the Saxons (and the Christians, whom Merlin hates). But the treasures will also set Briton against Briton - especially as Guinevere, now Arthur's wife, wants to make a magic of her own. "Chaos was now thick across Britain, for someone had spilt the Cauldron's power and its horror threatened to engulf us all."

©1998 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Enemy of God

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great take on Arthur legend

Cornwell does a great job with the characters and the story. The narrator is excellent. Period warfare and period lifestyles are described with detail that makes them believable

7 people found this helpful

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Last quarter of book okay, the rest is tedious

I have always been a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. I have read most of his work (not yet Last Kingdom series) and I love the Sharpe series and his stand alone historical and modern day seagoing novels. But I find the Warlord Trilogy to be pretty awful. I have always looked at a Bernard Cornwell book as a sure fire bet to be a wildly entertaining read. But Enemy of God, like The Winter King before it, is a rather tedious read. So, what don't I like? First, I usually find that Cornwell does good historical research for his historical novels, but The Warlord Chronicles reads like a B-grade sword and sorcery novel. You've got wizard contests that seem to come straight out of Conan the Barbarian. And Cornwell's description of early British Christianity has no historical accuracy at all. I realize that Cornwell enjoys poking a stick at Christians in his books, but in this series he just assembles all the nasty caricatures he can from mid-20th century western Christianity and projects it back to the 500's. And so we read about how early British Christianity featured a rather odd mixture of a doomsday cult believing that the world was going to end in the year 500, an excessive Pentecostal charismatic mania, and an extreme self-flagellation movement that comes from the worst excesses of what you see in fringes of the Philippine Catholic church. Any of that historically accurate? Nope. And his British paganism seems to come from B grade sorcery novels. The whole thing just is so amateur, when I know that Cornwell can do so much better. Second, while Cornwell usually has some very enjoyable, if colorful, characters, it is really hard to like any of them in this series. Arthur comes across as a pretty much inept leader- one time like a Prince Harry married to Megan Markle (aka Guinevere), another time like a hapless Joe Biden covering for his wastrel son Hunter (aka Lancelot). Arthur might be a decent fellow in this story, but someone so inept wouldn't be made into a legend. And then there is Lancelot, who we learned from the first book is a momma's boy who is a coward but whose mom forced the bards to write laudatory poems about him. Everyone sees he is a cowardly traitor, but neither Arthur nor anyone else does anything about it. Merlin and Nimue are pretty much insane psychopaths. The only likeable person is Galahad, but he is a minor character. Third, this book claims to be a re-telling of the Arthurian legend, but it really isn't. It uses the names, but the plot has very little to do with the Arthurian stories. Cornwell does a little better in this book than the first one, but not nearly enough. Fourth, most of this book is just tedious and uninteresting. Unlikeable characters do silly things. That said, I will say that the final quarter of the book was okay, as there finally was some action. Sure, the underlying storyline was nonsensical, but once I got past that, it felt a lot more like the Cornwell I know with battle action, raids, etc. All in all, I would not recommend this book or this series. I will plow though the final book because I want to read all of Cornwell's material, but I am hoping, hoping, hoping that his Last Kingdom series is a lot more like his other work and a lot less like the Warlord Trilogy.

3 people found this helpful

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A darker Camelot

This series is unique among Cornwell's historical works in having no actual history underlying it.

Nevertheless it is a wonderful alternate portrayal of the Matter of Britain.

3 people found this helpful

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Few things are as good as the original...

This is true of Enemy of God, it's not quite the story that The Winter King was, but it is awfully close. I could not stop listening! Excited to hear the next in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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Marred by Anti-Christian Bigotry

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Cornwall, a master novelist, has written an action packed story based on the legend of King Arthur's court in early English history. However, the story was marred by Cornwall's portrayal of Christians as being an unruly mob with a self serving political agenda. If Cornwall's portrayal had been accurate, the Christian faith would never have become the underlying force shaping the Western world.

If you’ve listened to books by Bernard Cornwell before, how does this one compare?

"Enemy of God" was on a par with his other books in terms of action, but the character development was not up to Cornwall's standards. Guinevere and Lancelot were both portrayed as morally flawed individuals while Arthur himself was an idealist who sought peace above all else while insisting on loyalty to the despicable royal heir, Mordred. Arthur was a poor judge of character who was utterly crushed on learning of Guinevere's unfaithfulness.

What three words best describe Jonathan Keeble’s voice?

powerful, genuine, authentic

Was Enemy of God worth the listening time?

The book was narrated by a master, but the content was disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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fantastic!!!!!

loved the story, great reader, cant wait for third story!!! crnwell at his best again!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent story! Plausible History, and fresh!

The author creates a new view of the Arthurian story. I thought it was going to be another rehash, but I couldn't have been more wrong. the characters for fresh both with their motivations and their flaws.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator is amazing!

Book is very well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The narration is amazing, I could listen to Jonathan Keeble read a recipe book and still enjoy it. While this book may not be 100% historically accurate, it is plausible and a great read for any Athur fan.

1 person found this helpful

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Keeble, the great storyteller

I love listening to Jonathan Keeble's narrations. He can make the worst story into something awesome. As for this story, I found it a little underwhelming until the last 1/4. I enjoyed the beginning and the end but the middle almost lost me. I'm hoping the next in this series keeps me engaged throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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Solid book, enjoyable listen

If you like Bernard Cromwell books well this is a Bernard Cromwell book. Similar to the second series but generally very enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful