Enemy of God (novel)

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Enemy of God
BernardCornwell EnemyOfGod.jpg
First edition cover
Author Bernard Cornwell
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Warlord Chronicles
Genre Historical, Fantasy novel
Publisher Michael Joseph
Publication date
5 September 1996
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages 416 pp (hardcover edition) & 472 p. (paperback edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-7181-0051-4 (hardcover first edition)
ISBN 0-14-023247-8 (paperback edition)
OCLC 36166674
Preceded by The Winter King
Followed by Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur

Enemy of God is the second book in The Warlord Chronicles series by Bernard Cornwell. The trilogy tells the legend of Arthur seen through the eyes of his follower Derfel Cadarn.

Plot introduction[edit]

Arthur, against all odds, has achieved peace among the warring British Kingdoms and is soon set to turn his attentions against the Saxons. Merlin arrives with a dangerous and near impossible quest into the lands of the most terrible of Britain's enemies in an attempt to recover an ancient relic which will help him restore Britain to its former glory. All the while, Arthur's enemies close around him, ready to destroy his world for their own aims...

Plot summary[edit]

Chapter One: Enemy of God starts off where "The Winter King" left off, with Arthur's unexpected victory over the combined armies of Powys and Siluria. Both Gorfyddyd, king of Powys, and Gundleus, king of Siluria, are dead. Gorfyddyd's son, Cuneglas, shares Arthur's desire for peace and also his dream of an alliance between the British kingdoms that will destroy their common enemies, the Saxons.

Derfel is ordered to follow Cuneglas to Caer Sws (Caersws), capital of Powys, where the Edling is to be crowned king. As for the vacant Silurian throne, Arthur tells Derfel of his plan to make Lancelot king and marry him to the princess of Powys, Ceinwyn, thus cementing the alliance between Dumnonia, Powys and Siluria. Derfel does not reveal that he is in love with Ceinwyn, and wants her for himself, and goes to Caer Sws, and witnesses Cuneglas' acclamation. Days later, Arthur arrives with his court, including Guinevere and Lancelot. Derfel watches with frustration Ceinwyn's betrothal to Lancelot, and her apparent happiness with the marriage.

Derfel speaks with Merlin, and Merlin tells him that Arthur wants him to marry Gwenhwyvach, Guinevere's plain and apathic sister. Merlin asks Derfel to meet him and Nimue late that night on a hilltop, where Merlin has Derfel drink a hallucinogenic potion. Derfel hallucinates about Ceinwyn and sees a dark road and a ghoul, and he describes his vision to Merlin. Merlin tells him the ghoul was Diwrnach, a vicious Irish king of Lleyn, and he also asks Derfel to accompany him on the quest (which also requires the presence of a virgin) for a magical Cauldron, one of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain, but Derfel is committed to taking his men to aid Arthur in his campaign to drive the Saxons out of eastern Britain. Merlin gives Derfel a bone, and tells him that all he has to do is break it and his wish will be granted, namely that Ceinwyn will choose him over Lancelot, but warns that if he breaks it, he will be bound to Merlin's quest.

Characters in "Enemy of God"[edit]

  • Derfel Cadarn – main protagonist, narrator, warrior and monk
  • Arthur – son of Uther, protector of Mordred
  • Guinevere – Princess of Henis Wyren, Arthur's wife
  • Merlin – Lord of Avalon, druid
  • Mordred – child King of Dumnonia
  • Nimue – priestess, Merlin's lover
  • Lancelot – King-in-exile of Benoic
  • Galahad – Lancelot's illegitimate half-brother
  • Ade – Lancelot's mistress
  • Sagramor – Numidian commander in Arthur's service
  • Morgaine – Arthur's oldest sister, Merlin's ex-lover
  • Tristan – Prince of Kernow, King Mark's son


Release details[edit]