After finishing the first six books of the Camulod Chronicles, I was both delighted and confused to see that the publication of a seventh book was imminent. Delighted because I regard Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles to be one of the best retellings of the Arthurian legend, confused because the title was "Uther". By the end of book 6, "The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis", Uther is long dead and his son Arthur just installed as High King of all of Britain. I ignored the anachronism and ordered the book anyway.
My faith in Jack Whyte was rewarded as "Uther" turned out to be one of the crowning jewels (sick pun intended) of the Camulod Chronicles. In the time line, "Uther" covers the same period as book 3 of the series, "The Eagle's Brood". Where "The Eagle's Brood" was told from the point of view of Merlyn, "Uther" is told from the point of view of. . . Uther. I suppose this book can be considered an alternative historical fiction, but I won't go there. . .
This book continues in the same sweeping, luxurious style of the others in the series with the only difference being in narration. The first two books were narrated by Publius Varrus, the next four my Merlyn himself. The all-seeing, all-knowing author narrates "Uther", and I feel that this point of view offers a nice change of pace in the series and works well. Although this book covers the same time period as a previous installment, the overlap of actual events is minimal. In "The Eagle's Brood", Merlyn regards Uther as a pariah. In "Uther", we are given the balancing story in which some of the major mysteries from earlier in the Chronicles are solved.
Overall, the whole series is different from most in its handling of Uther. In the original Mallory and all of the retellings I had read up to this one, the character of Uther is not a particularly well-developed one. He appears as almost an incidental character who co-incidentally sired Arthur. If he is given any ink, as in Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy, it is to describe him as a brusque, brutal, and lustful creature with no redeeming qualities other than his great physical strength and prowess as a warrior. Mr. Whyte has made Uther into a man of high nobility, deserving of our respect, admiration, and sympathy. And, this is only fitting if we are to consider that his son Arthur was renown for his nobility, personal strength, and sense of justice. Although Arthur never knew Uther as an adult, we all grow up hearing that the fruit seldom falls far from the tree.
I have read dozens of retellings of the Arthurian saga, and am nowhere near having my fill. I regard the Camulod Chronicles as one of the best. I look forward to reading book 8 of the chronicles as soon as it is written.