I was eager to read Excalibur Rising Book Two, sequel to the unique Arthurian novel Excalibur Rising Book One by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts . Excalibur Rising had unusual twists and characters, from a newscaster on the skids to a crime boss and a second world, one where Arthur truly reigned in the 1200s. Book Two picks up right were Book One ended, and we spend the entire novel in Albion and meet a peasant family who finds a surprising sinkhole on their property.
Mordred is long dead but his heirs are very much alive and dedicated to killing Arthur and taking over the throne of Albion. Violet and Marcus joined up with Arthur at the close of Book One, and now join him and his knights in Camelot. Of course Mordred, after spending much time in our world, has excellent ideas for low-tech methods to bring down the castle. Along the way his army conscripts all the peasants it can, including the blacksmith father we meet at the start of the book.
One problem that King Arthur has in all Arthurian legends is his lack of an heir. He has Mordred, illegitimate and nasty, but no legitimate child. Even if Arthur defeats Mordred Albion still faces a succession crisis and likely civil war. Hodgetts finds a solution which is obvious and, to be blunt, a bit trite.
In this sequel we learn a little more about Albion along with Marcus and Violet, and as they do, decide it isn’t quite the place we want to live. Albion is at war and Mordred will win. Also, the ladies of the lake have hidden Albion from the rest of the world behind a mist. What happens when Albion suddenly catches up with 800 years of history?
Characters and Setting
We don’t get much character development in Book Two. People who are nasty get nastier, sneaky ones get sneakier, frightened ones get more scared. The author keeps the characters we know and simply strengthens their characteristics. The new peasant family are stock characters who didn’t engage me.
We learn more about Albion in Book Two and decide it’s not exactly the romantic paradise of the Arthurian legends. Instead Marcus and Violet decide to return to Earth and start searching for a way home. The way home is tied in with the Arthur’s solution to the succession, part of the reason the plot disappoints.
Overall Book Two is OK. It is not as good as the first book which I rated 4+ stars to in this review. Book 2 is good enough to finish reading and interesting enough that I looked forward to reading Book Three.
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