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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Hart House Readings

Was at the best Hart House reading in a long time tonight. Jack Whyte was talking about and reading from his new novel Clothar the Frank, about Lancelot of King Arthur fame.

Whyte is one of those authors I've been aware of without really knowing what his books were about. He started off by giving some background to his current novel, namely a five-book series he wrote, collectively titled A Dream of Eagles, which is his take on the Arthurian mythos. Five books which start off four generations back from Arthur, and end with the Sword from the Stone.

His talk on the age was fantastic. The only time in history Arthur could have lived was the 70 year period between the retreat of the Romans from Britain, and the conquest of the Anglo-Saxons. There are no records from Britain during this period, as the Romans took all the clerks and the like with them. Whyte's books assume that a) the Arthur myths are based in fact, b) there is no magic, and c) everything has to jibe with the actual 5th century historical record of the rest of Europe.

Anyway, his talk and reading was so good I ended up buying not the book he was reading from, but the first in the Dream of Eagles sequence, and even got it autographed. It may be been a terrible snowy night, but I'm glad I took the trouble to go out.