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Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit (A Novel of King Arthur) (Arthurian Novel) Hardcover – October 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Prolific writer Lackey (The Phoenix Endangered) tackles the complex legend of King Arthur's queens in this compelling and heart-wrenching retelling. When warrior-woman Braith announces that the Young Princess Gwen is marked by Epona, the goddess of horses, Gwen's father allows her to train on the warrior path. Although Gwen is deep into training, in the background of her life lay the tales of two other women with the same name-Gwenhwyfar the Golden-both of whom were married to King Arthur. The story of Arthur's kingdom unfolds as Gwen's path as a warrior involves Lancelin, Arthur's closest Companion, and Medraut, the illegitimate and magic-born child of Arthur and his half-sister, Anna Morgause. Lackey places the story in the early dark ages, rather than in the romanticized Camelot of the later Romances. She creates a vibrant world where the old religion and culture of the Celts vies with the invading traditions of the White Christ's followers and Roman influence. Gwen is an independent and formidable woman, determined to follow her dreams, but also dedicated to her duty and to the good of Arthur's kingdom. Though the ending of Arthur's story comes as no surprise, the way that Lackey reweaves old tales to create something new and powerful, with a compelling and sympathetic heroine, is this retelling's strength.
"The way that Lackey reweaves old tales to create something new and powerful, with a compelling and sympathetic heroine, is this retelling's strength." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I felt the book was slow in some parts especially early on, the last 100 pages were intense and flew by. It was the most enjoyable part of reading the book. I was glad that I came away really liking the latter part although it was tragic as this tale always is, because I have the hard cover version and it is a beautiful cover - making it a book I wanted to have on my shelf!
If you love this legend and this era, you should read this book. If you are just looking for a great read in general, perhaps not.
This was my first read from this author and the sometimes scrawny development of the sub-cast is countered by a very composed development of the object of the story: Lackey’s Gwenhwyfar. I “read” this via audio book, but I got roped in by mid-book as the story gains momentum and found myself extending my road trips just to get through the various subsections.