Today I’m going to be reviewing The Bear of Britain, book 4 in the Warrior Druid of Britain series by Steven A McKay.
This review is well overdue so I hope it’s been worth the wait!
Here’s the blurb
AD 432. BRITAIN. The winter snows are melting at last, but spring will bring more than just rebirth this year. The Saxons are coming, and that means war.
Bellicus, Duro and Cai have travelled south to join the warlord, Arthur, and his growing army of Britons. New friendships have been made and exciting adventures await the warrior-druid and his companions, but the threat of Hengist and his invaders casts a dark cloud over all. For years, the Saxons have been content to remain mostly confined to the eastern parts of the country, but now they are marching west, and Hengist has amassed the biggest army seen on these shores since the Romans left over twenty years ago.
Arthur – dubbed the Bear of Britain by his advisor, Merlin – has never truly felt he’d earned such a grand title, but now he will have a chance to prove himself. The addition of a new, crack unit to his ranks will, he hopes, be enough to sweep the Saxon threat from Britain once and for all, and herald a generation of peace and prosperity for his people. But nothing in war is straightforward and even their own countrymen can turn violently against them at any moment, as Bellicus discovers to his cost…
The Saxons are ready to attack.. War is coming to Britain.. the only thing standing in their way is Arthur, the Bear of Britain… well not just Arthur. He’s got help from the big warrior druid Bellicus!
A lot has happened to Bellicus and his faithful companion Duro but the upcoming war is going to push them to their limits.
As Arthur sets about raising an army to face the Saxons Bellicus manages to get himself into scrape that nearly costs him his life. I really enjoyed seeing Bellicus’s vulnerability as he recovers.
Vulnerability is probably the word I’d use to best describe the development in this instalment as the author manages to show the human toll paid during war. Duro is a fine example, there’s a sadness to him, still haunted by the past when his wife was brutally murdered… will this be his chance to heal those wounds?
Character development is key to a series.. you need to keep things fresh and boy does the author know how to keep the readers hooked. My favourite character had to be Sulinus. Arthur needs cavalry to win the war.. and Sulinus is the man to train them, he’s a former Roman solider and knows his stuff.. unluckily for him though Arthurs men are not trained to the same standard as the legions.. they aren’t soldiers so he’s got his work cut out for him. It’s Sulinus’s humour that really makes you love him.. you can’t help but smile.
For fans of history, you see the author take on some well know figures, we have Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot…how can you not get excited when you hear those names. Each of these characters felt perfect.. it’s hard to explain but you have expectations when you think of historical names but McKay knows just how to tackle big characters and do them justice!
I don’t want to spoil anything too much but I can’t write my review without talking about one scene.. Merlin and the Sword in the Stone…wow. I’m not going to say any more than that.. wow!
The Bear of Britain is a wonderfully written book. I’m kind of in awe of the author and how he manages to keep offering up gripping tales, weaving his skill and imagination throughout history. His tales are exhilarating, the characters believable and exciting and the action hard hitting.
I can’t give the book any less than a 5*…when’s the next book?? Ha. This series is a must!