Friday, 19 October 2007

Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie

On the night of Guinevere's birth, a wise woman declares a prophecy of doom for the child: she will be gwenhwyfar, the white shadow, destined to betray her king, and be herself betrayed. Years pass, and Guinevere becomes a great beauty, riding free across Northern Wales on her beloved horse.

She is entranced by the tales of the valorous Arthur, a courageous warrior who seems to Guinevere no mere man, but a legend. Then she finds herself betrothed to him and, like the knights that follow him, swiftly falls under Arthur's spell ...At the side of King Arthur, Guinevere reigns strong and true. Yet she soon learns how the dark prophecy will reveal itself - she is unable to conceive.

Arthur's only true heir is Mordred, offspring of a cursed encounter with the witch Morgause. Now Guinevere makes a fateful choice: to raise the child as her own, to teach him to be a ruler and to honour Camelot. Mordred will be her greatest joy - and the key to her ultimate downfall.

Told from the viewpoint of Guinevere this tells the story of Guinevere from a young girl to Queen and the tae of her love for two men - Arthur and Lancelot. A tale told so many times but, her told so beautifully, the beautifully developed characters that we know so well, and Guinevere's jealous cousin Elaine. Its quite different from other books that sometimes feature more of Arthur's battles.

Most of us know of Guinevere's story marrying Arthur and her affair with Lancelot but, this book goes more in-depth than that, with descriptions of the Arthurian world and comparing to other books this doesn't show Guinevere as the whiny young woman some books portray her as, but for me you see so many different sides to her, a truly stunning portrayal.

This is a long book but, not laboriously so I enjoyed this immensely, I prefer this type of books of the re-telling of the Arthurian saga as opposed to the ones more based on battles and whilst I wouldn't say this is my most favourite re-telling, for me Mist of Avalon is extraordinrily hard to beat this is a really beautiful and engrossing re-telling.

Loved it!


Daphne said...

I loved this book. It was nice to see a "non-whining" Guinevere for a change, wasn't it?!

Rhinoa said...

I read this a few years ago and enjoyed it too. It seemed based on the ideas of Mary Wesley and her Merlin trilogy which I loved as well.