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Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Rosalind Miles
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.95
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $5.96 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Camelot--a vibrant pageant of love, heartbreak, hatred, jealousy, revenge, and desire--as seen through the eyes of its queen, Guenevere

Raised in the tranquil beauty of the Summer Country, Princess Guenevere has led a charmed and contented life, until the sudden, violent death of her mother, Queen Maire, leaves the Summer Country teetering on the brink of anarchy. Only the miraculous arrival of Arthur, heir to the Pendragon dynasty, allows Guenevere to claim her mother's throne. Smitten by the bold, sensuous princess, Arthur offers to marry her and unite their territory while still allowing her to rule in her own right. Their love match creates the largest and most powerful kingdom in the Isles.
Arthur's glorious rule begins to crumble, however, when he is reunited with his mother and his long-lost half-sisters, Morgause and Morgan. Before Arthur's birth, his father--the savage and unscrupulous King Uther--banished his wife's young daughters, selling Morgause into a cruel marriage and imprisoning Morgan in a far-off convent. Both daughters will avenge their suffering, but it is Morgan who strikes the deadliest blows against the King and Queen, using her evil enchantments to destroy all Guenevere holds dear. When the Queen flees to Avalon, Morgan casts a spell on Arthur and seduces him.
In the chaos that follows his betrayal, Arthur sends a new courtier to protect Guenevere, the young French knight Lancelot. Her loyalty to Arthur already destroyed, Guenevere falls in love with Lancelot, a love that may spell ruin for Camelot.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

This is the first part of a trilogy chronicling the life of Queen Guenevere. Beginning with the young King Arthur who is preparing for the war that will unite Britain, the book recounts the marriage of Guenevere and Arthur, the growth of Arthur's court, and Guenevere's adulterous affair with Lancelot.

Although told mainly from Guenevere's point of view, this is a truly epic narrative, encompassing pageantry, political intrigue, war, and the conflict between the old pagan religion and Christianity. At times earthy, sensual, and violent, it is a powerful romantic drama firmly rooted in historical Britain, a modern yet traditional retelling of the stories given definitive form in the first four books of Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur.

The characters are grippingly evoked as realistic, living, and breathing human beings rather than simple archetypes, yet the writing is effortlessly lyrical, with the elegant flow of folktale. In emotional depth, Guenevere is comparable to Parke Godwin's fine Arthurian romance, Firelord.

This title is Rosalind Miles's 17th book. She is the author of the highly praised I, Elizabeth and The Women's History of the World. In 1990, she won the Network Award for outstanding achievement in the field of writing, and the same year she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. --Gary S. Dalkin,

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific English journalist and novelist Miles (I, Elizabeth) offers a feminist, New Age version of the Arthurian legend in her amply stocked but overripe work. Through his marriage to Guenevere, queen of the pagan matriarchy of the Summer Country, Arthur is well on his way to becoming king of all the Britons. However, Merlin, his tutelary spirit, frowns upon this marriage and prophesies that Guenevere will prove untrue. Guenevere is bedeviled by the machinations of her malevolent step-cousin/uncle Malgaunt, while Arthur's unknown, unhappy past invades his life in the figure of his half-sister Morgan le Fay, who seduces him and lures Arthur and Guenevere's only son, Amir, to an early death. The incestuous fruit of Arthur's union with Morgan?Mordred?becomes Arthur's nemesis. In Miles's take on the legend, the principals are locked in passionate conflict: Queen Guenevere is stronger, more resolute, courageous and persevering than King Arthur. Though portrayed as a frank, generous golden knight, Arthur nevertheless proves putty in the successive hands of Merlin, Guenevere and Morgan le Fay. Merlin, a wild, withered, yellow-eyed druid, is also undone by Morgan and appears to abandon Arthur to his fate. Only when Arthur falls under Morgan's sway does Guenevere succumb to her love for Lancelot, one of the novel's freshly conceived figures. The matriarchal way of life in Guenevere's Summer Country, with its capital at Camelot and its goddess residing in the misty Vale of Avalon, appears as infinitely more civilized and attractive than those states where men rule. Unfortunately, the novel's characterization is sometimes trite, and its prose style is trying, veering between downright coarse (perhaps in an attempt to be lusty) and syrupy. Aficionados of Arthurian romance will be pleased with the included maps, family trees and list of the novel's 75 or so characters.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 986 KB
  • Print Length: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,244 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another version of the tales, with little to add August 3, 2000
I read most current versions of the Arthurian legends; most of them are no great shakes. This one, sadly, falls into that category. This is not a /bad/ book, it is just not a terribly /good/ one.
Like many current works pertaining to the tales of Arthur, this one is set nebulously in "historical times". There are trappings to make it seem like tale takes place just a bit after the Romans pull out of Britain, but only hints. There are a host of anachronisms which would not stand out if only she had placed the tales outside of time, much as Sharan Newman did. Of history, there is little. Of fantasy, there is little, also -- no dragons, no magic, just a lot of very strong-willed and weak- willed people. In fact this is one of the problems -- her main characters cannot make up their minds as to whether they are dynamic leaders or merely swept along by events larger than themselves.
Guenevere is neither a truly strong nor engaging character. At least half of her dialogue takes place in her head; she seems incredibly reticent to speak her mind. Her love for Arthur is immediate and wholehearted, without any real reason. She leads a group of vague pagans who all worship The Mother, a wholy benign being who seems to insist on a lot of sex, very little ceremony, and no strong thought other than "We Are Not Christian". Apparently Guenevere should be a warleader as well as a political leader for her people, yet despite the fact that she is 20-odd years old when we first meet her, she has had no training in battle. On the other hand, she has an immediate grasp of tactics the moment she views a battle.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time February 6, 2005
By Iris
I love Arthuriana and am always interested in any new take on the legend. I was happy to find this book at the library...until I started reading it. I wish I could give it zero stars, but Amazon doesn't allow that.

Previous reviewers have already pointed out everything I found bad about the book (character inconsistencies, poor writing, etc.) I did finish the book (stupidly hoping beyond hope that it would improve) so I feel comfortable advising people looking for an entertaining read to avoid this. If you're interested in Guenevere I'd recommend Nancy McKenzie's "Queen of Camelot", Sharan Newman's series or Persia Woolley's trilogy. I would also recommend Helen Hollick's series for those looking for a telling devoid of magic.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing perspective August 20, 2000
It's always a delight to find yet another perspective of the Arthurian legends, and this one is intriguing. I loved the Mists of Avalon, of course, but Ms. Miles' story encourages us to take another look at Bradley's Morgan and Guenevere. For those of us who haven't read the 80 plus Arthurian books that other reviewers refer to, this is a wonderful story that doesn't dull our wits with Welsh names that are impossible to pronounce (as much as I love Wales... don't get me wrong...). In short, it is a wonderful story and it presents the reader with new ideas. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because it could have given the "witches" at Morgan's convent a more comprehensive historical background. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pass This "Novel of Camelot" By June 1, 2000
Guenevere is the daughter of the Queen of the Summer Country, a title she takes on upon her mother's inopportune death, engineered by Merlin. Merlin has foreseen the dangers that Guenevere poses to Arthur, so he arranges everything he can to prevent the two from meeting. He did not forsee the persistence of Arthur, indeed, does not foresee that Arthur can think for himself. In this novel, it is always a danger when Arthur thinks for himself. He is much better off when he takes the advice of his advisors, rather than thinking on his own.
Unlike most recent novels that try to avoid Mallory and his romantic predecessors by focusing instead on Celtic and Roman legends and mythologies, Miles tries to blend the two. It might have been a successful blend had the characters been more likeable and fully fleshed. Guenevere is not the powerful Celtic queen, but the helpless, selfless (and I hate to use the term) nag whose extreme love for her and Arthur's son leads to a breakdown in their marriage, especially after Arthur (yet again following his own counsel) takes the boy to the battle that leads to the boy's death. Arthur finally falls victim to Morgan's wiles (who inexplicably is always trying to destroy Arthur. Apparently you are supposed to kill the son of the man who imprisoned you, even when the son is the one who gets you out of the nunnery and gives you your very own palace.) and Guenevere starts her liaison with Lancelot in the annoying manner of courtly love. Reading Lancelot whine about his honor sets one's teeth on edge.
The characters rarely break one dimension, especially Lancelot, but this follows in the tradition of Mallory and de Troyes. I have complained in other reviews that the character of Arthur is rarely fully fleshed out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Guienevere
I like the story like a legends or fairy tales. This one is the first book about King Arthur and his love to Guenevere, it's a legend from the first young years of King Arthur in... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Yuliya
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time, don't bother
Was the last 1/3 of the book written by the same author as the first 2/3rds???? I swear it turned into a romance novel that was so tedious and dull. Read more
Published 12 months ago by jeepjeep
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining enough but disappointing
I had high hopes for this book when I first read the description (who doesn't love a good retelling of the King Arthur legends? Read more
Published 18 months ago by Meghan H
2.0 out of 5 stars Sketchy
This book was a fresh perspective of the Guenevere tale. However, it didn't really reach it's full potential in character portrayal.
Published on January 14, 2010 by Susan Jordan
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent author!
I have been reading Rosalind Miles for some time now, and I love how she delicately weaves history through her story... Read more
Published on May 10, 2009 by Dacia Weese
4.0 out of 5 stars Guenevere: Queen of Summer Country
i recieved the item in a good period of time and it was in the condition described. good seller to buy from :)
Published on April 26, 2009 by Annika J. King
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Read in a Long Time
After a year of disappointing reads, I turned to a new author and series... and was not disappointed. Read more
Published on December 21, 2008 by Sita900
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
I'd been wanting to read this book for a while. Finally picked it up yesterday, made it through almost 200 pages on the plane, and gave up. Read more
Published on February 25, 2007 by Alyssa
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
This book was really entertaining. I got really engrossed in the storyline and cannot wait to read the sequel. I highly recommend it.
Published on October 3, 2006 by Kristen L. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible read
This book, even though fiction, accurately protrays the history of that time. The determined spread of Christians, by any means, and the undying love between a woman and her... Read more
Published on June 29, 2006 by J. Herron
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