Book Review: The Lance Thrower

The Lance Thrower by Jack Whyte is the sixth book in the Camulod Chronicles.  This series is a version of the King Arthur story, but so far Arthur hasn’t been the main character in any of the books.  It takes a “historical” viewpoint of the story where Whyte attempts to tell the story as it could have been.  Thus, there is very little magic behind Merlyn (his spelling), and the pulling of the sword from the stone was all a deceptive trick to bring a sense of awe about to the people of Britain.  The series starts with the great grandfather of Arthur, and the fifth book of the series finally tells of Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone.

I thought The Lance Thrower would be the story of Arthur, or at lest until I picked up the book and took a look at the jacket.  Instead this is the story of Clothar, or as he is commonly referred to as in other Athurian legends, Lancelot.  You can read the introduction in the book to understand why Lancelot wasn’t used as his name, it’s somewhat of an interesting reason.  The book details the childhood of Clothar and follows his life up until he meets Arthur for the first time shortly after Arthur is crowned Riothamus, or King of all Britain.  The first half of this book was very drawn out.  I think the first several chapters could have been condensed completely into a single chapter.  There is a ton of back story about where Clothar came from and his ancestors that, while lays a basis for things to come, doesn’t really advance the story that much in my opinion.  Perhaps these extra plot lines will get wrapped up in the next book (if there is one). 

I felt like the book started getting good sometime in the latter half.  Just about the time that I felt that the book was going well, it ended.  The ending is a bit of a twist on the black knight guarding the bridge story, but in this telling a few of Arthur’s warriors (not called knights yet) were guarding the bridge in which Clothar wanted to cross.

Recommendation: If you have read the other five books in the series and are used to Whyte’s rather drawn out writings then I’d suggest the book.  If you want a really fast paced fantasy/medieval adventure then I suggest you go pick up a R.A. Salvatore book instead.