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Jack Whyte - "The Skystone "and "The Singing Sword".

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Elzbieta Januszewicz gr. A6 Jack Whyte - "The Skystone "and "The Singing Sword" Jack Whyte was born in 1939, raised in Scotland, and educated in England and France. He emigrated to Canada from the UK, in 1967. The writer's interest in 5th Century history and especially the 460-year Roman military occupation of Britain springs from his early Classical education in Scotland during the 1950s, and he has pursued his fascination with those times ever since. That interest, associated with a similarly enthusiastic preoccupation with the Arthurian legend, led him, in 1978, to a sudden realization of the probable truth underlying the legend's central mystery of the Sword in the Stone. Then, knowing how it had been done, Whyte set out to tell the story, and to establish King Arthur securely in a realistic and feasible historical context known as "The Dream of Eagles" or "The Camulod Chronicles". Jack Whyte is consider to be one of the most interesting and successful contemporary writers by many literary critics. This is mostly because of his development of characters and his ability to write strategically. Character development is an important element in a story because if readers feel strongly about the characters, they are interested in reading further. Therefore, Whyte is totally in control of his art and his characters are well developed, multi-dimensional in depth, allowing the reader to picture them as real and alive. ...read more.


Before his character is even introduced into the story, the Seneca family is established as hateful by Caius when he says to Publius in "The Skystone": Humph! You must be a man of great subtlety, to bring out the decency in a Seneca"2(27). Publius meets Claudius Seneca for the first time when Seneca begins ordering Publius and his friend Plautus around while they are relaxing at a tavern. Whyte's development of Seneca becomes clear quite quickly in "The Skystone" as Plautus describes Claudius : The face of a god, the personality of a pit viper and a lust to be famed as the most degenerate swine in history"3(241). Seneca's development as a villain progresses as he decides on carrying a fight with Publius, resulting in a victory for Publius, and the accretion of a lifelong enemy in Caesarius Claudius Seneca. As a result of this conflict, Seneca later kills two of Publius' friends while searching for him, adding to the wickedness of his character. To take revenge on the deaths of his friends, Publius Varrus arranges for Claudius Seneca to be kidnapped. Publius is certain he has killed Seneca once and for all when he says in "The Skystone": "I jerked my arm back hard, wrenching my blade from his chest, and watched as he fell, first to his knees and then forward onto his face"4(614). Jack Whyte develops Seneca as a villain that seems phenomenal when he is discovered to have survived the stab wound. ...read more.


"The Singing Sword" ends when Claudius Seneca enters Publius Varrus' house and kills three of his friends before he is killed by Publius wielding Excalibur. Once again, Jack Whyte ends the story with an exciting fight, and the comfort of knowing Claudius Seneca is dead. Additionally, the fact that the sword Publius spent much of his life making is the sword that kills his enemy, Claudius Seneca, shows that Whyte's strategically writing covered the entirety of the two novels. Through Jack Whyte's exciting beginnings and endings, it is apparent that much thought went into the organization of events in his novels, demonstrating his ability to write strategically. In "The Skystone" and "The Singing Sword", Jack Whyte is an interesting and successful author because of his character development and his ability to write strategically. Whyte is effective in his development of characters because of his ability to make the reader feel strongly about the characters. His ability to write strategically immediately gains the attention of the reader through detailed struggle, and his endings leave the reader feeling satisfied knowing the villain is taken care of, and the plot has come together. Jack Whyte's ability in capturing the interest of the reader through character development and well planned writing has been the key to his success. 1 Jack Whyte "The Skystone" , Penguin Books, 1993 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Jack Whyte "The Singing Sword", Penguin Books, 1994 6 Jack Whyte "The Skystone" , Penguin Books, 1993 ...read more.

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