Aurthora: Celtic Prince
In Aurthora, R. W. Hughes has written a tale of adventure, love, loyalty, and betrayal set in 5th- century Britannica. Rome has withdrawn from the island, and a power vacuum is developing. King Erion of Elmet has formed an alliance of Celtic tribes in anticipation of encroachment by the Anglo-Saxons from the North. In preparation, Erion has had the men trained by ex-pat Roman soldiers who chose to remain in Britannica. The Celtic alliance recognized the power the Roman fighting methods will provide them against the barbaric Anglo-Saxons.
The novel is based on the British legend of a warrior named Aurthora, who, along with his friend Ethellro, served in King Erion’s army as representatives for their families. The history of this period in Britannica is relatively unknown; although there is evidence that a kingdom of Elmet did exist during this era, information about rulers is less clear. Legends about Authora do remain, and Hughes has used his knowledge of the region and the battle tactics of the Roman legions to flesh out an intriguing tale.
Stylistically, I found the writing difficult at times, but I assume this was done intentionally for effect. That said, this is an interesting interpretation of the Arthurian legend and will be enjoyed by those who place Arthur earlier than medieval Britain.