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Shadows in the Mist:

The Life and Death of King Arthur


About this book:

  • ISBN: 190 452 4389 (paperback)

  • Published 2006

  • Price £17.50

  • 172 pages
  • Illustrated with black and white photographs

About this Book:

WHAT little we can learn about a possible historical King Arthur must be gleaned from accounts of his battles recorded in written form in the ninth century AD. Other than these accounts, which are really nothing more than listings of place-names, there is the doubtful testimony of heroic poems, pseudo-histories, medieval romance, modern fiction and Celtic Reconstructionism.
Valuable as these first early sources on Arthur’s battles would appear to be, their veracity has been brought into question by a generation of scholars. Rather than seeking firm identifications for the battle sites, an exercise in philological and geographical investigation which might well point the way to a viable historical candidate for Arthur, scholarly opinion in general now rests content with concluding that no historical Arthur ever existed.
Shadows in the Mist seeks to reverse this academic trend in an effort to return the field of study to its proper sphere of endeavour: the eventual discovery of a genuine historical Arthur. To accomplish this goal, the author embarks on a systematic treatment of the battle site place-names. Identifications made for these battle sites will display an obvious pattern of military activity and suggest not only a power centre, but the most probable location for the king’s final resting place. With Arthur’s territory clearly defined, a critical re-examination of the Arthurian genealogy preserved by Welsh tradition will reveal the true identity of the great Dark Age king.


August Hunt sets forth an excellent case to turn away from the conceit among modern scholars that there was no historical Arthur and to turn back to the scholarly examination of the evidence, which has long indicated that Arthur did exist.  The author joins the growing ranks of scholars who locate Arthur and his activities in the north, rather than the south, of Britain, particularly in the region of Hadrian’s Wall.  Dr Linda A. Malcor, co-author of 'From Scythia to Camelot'

‘Shadows in the Mist’ is a glimpse into the depths of time, an attempt to lift the misty veil that rests upon the Age of Arthur. August Hunt takes the linguistic approach in order to pin down the towns, forts and battlefields where Arthur and his contemporaries once set foot. Robert Vermaat, historian, editor Vortigern Studies & Wansdyke Project 21

It is perhaps one of history’s greatest ironies that the period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire has been referred to by classical scholars almost contemptuously as ‘the Dark Ages’, for this is a period in British history rich in a literature almost unequalled again until the days of Chaucer and Shakespeare. Graham Sumner, illustrator, MAAI&S

At a time when there is so much of little academic value being written on the subject of Arthur and the origins of his myth, it is all the more refreshing to read a work that is obviously the result of in-depth and careful research. Such a work is August Hunt’s ‘Shadows in the Mist’. This is fascinating and thought-provoking stuff for devotees and sceptics alike. Matt Bunker, historian and manager of ERA a 5th Century Living History society.

'Shadows' is a book specifically written to try to reverse the academic trend of what we might call 'Arthur denial', the apparently increasing tendency by scholars to question the historical existence of either Arthur or even an Arthur-type figure. Moreover, 'Shadows' not only argues for Arthur's reality but also claims to identify areas of military activity and his final resting place.
It is hard to fault the author's enthusiasm and erudition for Arthurian matters: graduating in 1985 with a degree in Celtic and Germanic studies, he writes regularly for the Vortigern Studies website and is the author of a range of Arthurian fiction. He gets a thumbs-up from John Matthews' Foreword, which describes Hunt's "bold new interpretation" of Arthur's theatres of war in northern Britain and his stimulus for "radical rethinking" on Arthurian reality.
Hunt sets up the case against a West Country Arthur, proposing instead that Arthur’s line of descent be traced to royal Northern ancestors who had ties with both Strathclyde and Irish-founded Dalriada. He places Arthur's centre of operations in Cumbria, in north-west England, with the range of Arthur’s battles spreading north to the Firth of Forth and south to the Peak District.
He goes on to identify Avalon as the Abalava Roman fort on the western end of Hadrian's Wall and Camlann as the Camboglanna fort only a few miles away. Now not all of these identifications are novel, but what is different is Hunt's melding of personal and place-name, linguistic, literary and mythological studies, together with a reinterpretation of limited archaeological investigations.
Pendragon Journal, 2008

About the author:

August Hunt published his first short stories in his high school newspaper, The Wildcat Wires. These were followed by stories and poems in The Phoenix literary magazine of Clark Community College, where he received a writing scholarship. Transferring to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, he continued to publish pieces in local publications and was awarded the Edith K. Draham literary prize.
A few years after graduating in 1985 with a degree in Celtic and Germanic Studies, he published The Road of the Sun: Travels of the Zodiac Twins in Near Eastern and European Myth. Magazine contributions include a cover article on the ancient Sinaguan culture of the American Southwest for Arizona Highways. His first novel, Doomstone, and the anthology From Within the Mist are to be published soon. Numerous essays on Arthuriana and other Dark Age British subjects are available at the award-winning Vortigern Studies website.
A screenplay entitled The Perfect Gunfighter is in development with Cinema Classics of Burbank, California. In the planning stages are The Secrets of Avalon: An Introduction to Arthurian Druidism, The Creation of Avalon: A Guide to the Design and Construction of Arthurian Sacred Space, The Spirit of Avalon: Summoning Merlin the Mad, The Cauldron of Arthur: Finding Immortality in the Holy Grail and The Goddess of Avalon: Healing the Wounded Arthur. He also intends to launch upon a series of novels based on the Arthurian legend of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain. He is a member of the International Arthurian Society, North American Branch. In his spare time, August enjoys designing and building replicas of ancient European megalithic monuments.


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