Information about M. K. Hume:
M. K. Hume is a retired academic. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Arthurian literature and has fulfilled her life-long dream of writing novels about the legend of King Arthur and Merlin. She currently lives in Australia with her husband.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Dragon's Child:
The Dark Ages: a time of chaos and bloodshed. The Roman legions have long deserted the isles and the despotic Uther Pendragon, High King of Celtic Britain, is nearing death. As the tyrant falters, his kingdom is being torn apart by the minor kings who jostle for his throne. But only one man can bring the Celts together as a nation and restore peace – King Arthur.
We meet Arthur first as a shy, subservient twelve-year-old living in the home of Lord Ector, who took in the boy when he was a babe to protect him from murderous kin. One day, three influential men arrive at Ector's villa and arrange for Arthur to be taught the skills of the warrior: blade and shield, horse and fire, pain and bravery.
When they return years later, the country is in desperate straits, for the great cities of the east are falling to the menace of the Saxon hordes.
In spite of Uther, Arthur becomes a war chieftain and wins many battles to earn him the trust of his Celtic warriors and prove that he alone can unite the tribes. But if he is to fulfill his destiny and become the High King, Arthur must find Uther's crown and sword.
The future of Britain is at stake.
A REVIEW OF M. K. HUME'S DRAGON'S CHILD
M. K. Hume's Dragon's Child is a bit different kind of a retelling of the well-known and famous legend of King Arthur. The author explores King Arthur's background in a surpringly deep way from childhood to adulthood. This novel tells how King Arthur becomes the man he is and what makes him do the things he does.
Dragon's Child is an epic historical adventure that follows a young man's journey from an unknown, but respected steward to the High King of the Britons. It's a story about family ties, village life, innocence lost, betrayal, deception and wartime horrors.
There are probably readers out there who wonder if Dragon's Child is historical fiction or historical fantasy. In my opinion this novel is historical fiction that contains a few fantastical elements (prophecies etc), so it differs a bit from normal historical fiction.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
- In the prologue Uther Pendragon is a dying man in the palace of Venta Belgarum. Morgan keeps him alive with drugs.
- Lump is a 12 year old boy and lives with his foster father Lord Ector and his family at the Villa Poppinidii. When strangers come for a visit, things change for him and people begin to call him Artorex. He has to learn several new things and he finds out about how he was brought to Lord Ector and what happened to the woman that saved her. Targo teaches him how to fight and he slowly grows up and learns new things about fighting and also about life. When Artorex has grown up, Myrddion and his friends arrive to take him with them, because he has a destiny to fulfill...
M. K. Hume writes fluently about the characters. The characterization is good and detailed. It's great that the author takes time to develop the characters and shows how they grow up etc, because it adds depth to the novel. The author explores fascinatingly what is good and what is evil through her characters, because the characters make their own choices and they have to live with what they have done or haven't done.
The cast of characters is diverse and there are plenty of characters in this novel. Here's a bit of information about certain characters so that readers can see what kind of characters there are in this novel:
- Artorex is a young man who has a lot to learn. His early life is full of learning etc, but he's a man who has a good head on his shoulders and knows what's right and what's wrong.
- Gallia is an intriguing young woman. She talks a lot, she's brave and she's not afraid to say what's on her mind - she's very outspoken.
- Caius, Artorex's foster brother, is an evil character and his deeds are horrifying. The author paints a vivid picture of him and his evil nature.
- Lord Ector, the foster father of Artorex is an interesting character, because he's the lord of the Villa Poppinidii. He refuses to see certain things about his evil son, although he knows about his evil deeds.
- Morgan is a fantastic evil woman. She's full of hate and she's obviously mad. Everybody fears her, because they think that she's a witch.
- Myrddion is a bit mysterious man. The author writes well about him and tells how he supports Artorex.
I enjoyed reading about Artorex and his life. It was fascinating how the author wrote about his early years and how he became a leader. There was plenty of love, loss and pain in his life (it was great that the author hinted mysteriously to what may happen to Artorex in the future and what his life may be like).
I also enjoyed reading about Morgan and her evil doings, because she's one of the best and most malicious female characters I've ever read about. She's a beautiful, but dangerous woman who can see things and gives prophecies. She has her own motives for doing the things she does.
Dragon's Child is a novel for adult readers, because it contains all kinds of brutality from child mutilation and domestic violence (wife beating) to sexual violence and bloody murders. The scene involving the dark god worship and the altar was a brilliantly brutal and disturbing scene and it may be a shocking reading experience to readers who aren't used to reading dark and disturbing material. All the readers who like grim and dark stories will be thrilled to read about it.
I think it's good to mention that in this novel bad things happen to good people. This is good, because it shows that the author doesn't shy away from difficult material and isn't afraid of shocking her readers. I've always respected authors who are willing to take risks with their stories and make readers move away from their comfort zones.
There's also sex in this novel, but the sex scenes aren't very explicit. The author has written these scenes well.
One of the best things about Dragon's Child is that the past events affect the future events. The author has created a story that relies on the past events. For example, what Caius has done has an effect on his later life.
There's even a bit of humour in this novel. For example, it was fun to read how Gallia came for a visit to Villa Poppinidii. These humorous moments are written delightfully.
M. K. Hume has a talent for creating a good and believable atmosphere. The poisonous and malicious atmosphere in Uther Pendragon's court is amazing, because the old king is dying and he's mad (Morgan despises him, but keeps him alive with her potions to prolong his suffering). I loved reading about these scenes.
The author also writes well about how heavy the burden of leadership can feel and how difficult it is to make decisions that affect the lives of several men and women. It was interesting to read how Myrddion and Artorex had to make difficult choices and how they coped with the choices they had done.
M. K. Hume has an interesting way of avoiding typical clichés associated with Arthurian legends and historical fantasy novels. She hasn't made easy choices and writes unflinchingly about brutal scenes, which is very nice. She has taken quite a lot of liberties with the legend of King Arthur, but that's a good thing, because it was nice to read a new retelling of the famous legend. She has made many changes to the story, but these changes are interesting.
I have to admit that I was impressed by how easily the author wrote about the life and the customs of the people at the Villa Poppinidii. She pays attention to small details and makes everything feel realistic and beliavable. Her descriptions of the people and their lives were interesting. She has plenty of imagination, because she has created a believable vision of Celtic Britain in the Dark Ages (she has had courage to write about what life was really like during the time of King Arthur).
The author's detailed descriptions of the ancient life are so believable that at times it felt like I was reading a history book. This didn't bother me at all, because I'm interested in ancient history, but it's possible that it may bother some readers. In my opinion this kind of storytelling adds an interesting flavour to the prose.
It's a bit difficult to compare M. K. Hume to other authors of Arthurian novels and stories, because she has her own writing style that separates her from other authors. Her writing style reminds me a bit of Karen Azinger. She has the same kind of talent of writing fluently and vividly about the happenings as Karen Azinger and she keeps the story moving all the time.
I think it's good that the author has used old words and terms in this novel, because it adds a bit of realism to the storyline. I also have to mention that the maps, family trees and author's notes are probably useful to several readers, because they help the reader to understand certain things.
It's possible that Dragon's Child may split readers to those who like it and to those who don't like it, because it isn't your usual kind of King Arthur story. There's plenty of morality in this novel and the author also shows that the actions of the characters have consequences and it's up to them to either learn about their mistakes or ignore them. I personally enjoyed reading this novel, because it was something a bit different.
I'll soon read and review The Warrior of the West, which is the second novel of The King Arthur Trilogy. It'll be interesting to see how the author continues the story, becaue this novel laid a good foundation for the sequels.
I can recommend Dragon's Child to reader who like Arthurian stories, because it's an interesting reading experience. It's an entertaining piece of historical fiction that tells the legend of King Arthur in a totally different kind of way, because the author concentrates on writing about King Arthur, his life and his feelings. It's not an easy novel, because it contains brutal scenes, but it's interesting entertainment. I think that Dragon's Child will be of interest to readers of historical fiction and epic fantasy, because it contains an epic story arc and vivid descriptions of life in ancient Britain.