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The King's Peace (The King's Peace, Book 1) Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 30, 2000
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The people, the politics, the details of warfare and daily life, all ring as true as the steel sword the heroine wields so doughtily. This is much more than a retooling of the Matter of Britain: it is a fully-imagined, living, magical world." --Delia Sherman
"There is not an ill-written sentence...Never lacks immediacy or loses its historical quality. Sulien is a soldier first, honorable, capable, and trustworthy, and she is a wonderfully believable character." --VOYA
"A truly engrossing character-driven novel with strong female characters...Highly recommended." --Vector
"I really liked this sideways take on the Matter of Britain and I highly recommend it." --Mythprint
"Beautifully and thought-provokingly tells a story set in a world and a history almost like ours, but different enough to be in itself a kind of elvenland. It's good to know that there will be more." -Poul Anderson
Top Customer Reviews
From my personal perspective, the most refreshing aspect was the absence of a Merlin-figure and the author's heroic restraint from turning the queen, Elenn, into Guinevere. Overall, there is refreshingly little romanticism.
The voice of the writer, that of Sulien, is that of an elderly (very elderly, age 93) woman looking backwards. The style is an excellent approximation of late Latin chronicles. There is violence, there is heroism, and there is also, praises be, a high valuation placed on common sense and practicality.
The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel. I hope it comes soon.
Jarnish raiders (counterpart to the Saxons and Angles who invaded post-Roman Britain) continue to attack AlTanagiri (Britain) and catch 17-year old Sulien ap Gwien and rape her. She vows revenge, then joins with Urdo (Arthur) and his horsemen (and women). Urdo is trying to carve out a true peace where the Jarns can live in peace with the traditional inhabitants, subject to a common set of laws and with respect to all the gods. He is, of course, opposed by both Jarns and many of his own people who see his acceptance of the invaders as betrayal.
Jo Walton chooses to present this story as a retrospective from an aging Sulien--a technique that cannot help but distance the reader. Too, she occasionally slips into a fairly ponderous version of English, possibly to represent the mythical nature of her story. Walton's story, with its mythical power and its appeal to very real emotions, overcomes these devices to speak to the reader.
This is a highly credible first novel. I look forward to future works by Walton.
The book is fairly obviously based in some sense on the Matter of Britain: the story of King Arthur. But it seems a mistake to make too much of this source material. It is not intended as a strict retelling of the Arthurian tales, nor even as a fantastical retelling of a version of the real history of Arthur, or of other kings of his time. It is a fantasy set in a world shaped much like our world, in a time corresponding pretty closely to the 7th Century after Christ, and specifically set on an island resembling Great Britain. But while for some characters a corresponding character can be found in the Arthurian tales, not all the characters can be easily mapped to the legendary characters, nor do the available mappings fit perfectly, nor do all the incidents in the book correspond to incidents from the legends. And the world of the book is neither our world, nor a fantasy world corresponding to traditional versions of the Arthurian tales. This novel needs to be judged on its own virtues: the Arthurian echoes are certainly there, and perhaps they are unavoidable in a novel by a contemporary Welshwoman dealing with the subject matter of making a nation of the people of Great Britain, but they are echoes of inspirational material, not any sort of strict template.
The story itself is told by Sulien ap Gwien, a woman warrior, daughter of the King of a small part of the island of Tir Tanagiri.Read more ›
Not only a captivating story, with real people to it, but one with depths of meaning that echo off things I knew, things I almost remember, and leaving me with places where I know that if I knew a little more about this myth, that branch of philosophy, or the other nuance of history, whole new nuances would Unfold to me like a revelation from the gods.
You want this book. Even if you didn't know you wanted this book, you want it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I KNOW I don't like Arthurian trilogies. But then I find a new one by someone awesome, and the writing is great and I love the characters, and I tell myself, oh, maybe this time... Read morePublished 2 months ago by alannaeowyn
I really enjoyed this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys Jo Walton's other books, as well as those by Mercedes Lackey and Elizabeth Moon.Published 11 months ago by rabbitofhope
There is the structure of a great fantasy novel in this book...unfortunately, the details don't live up to it. Read morePublished on May 30, 2014 by Miriam Z
This was lousy. I don't say that because it took a woman's view. Read the excellent Paksarnarion books and you know that we can find women heroic figures. Read morePublished on July 31, 2013 by David Wilkin
Good reworking of the Arthurian and irrelevance in a fun fantasy package. A fun read, with action and plenty of plot twists.Published on January 17, 2013 by C. Janney
As long as you don't mind a lead character who is a woman who lacks every female characteristic, it's okay. Read morePublished on December 20, 2012 by Gary Gagliardi
This book is a beautiful remake of the Arthurian legend set in a fantasy world. It's all the heroism of the classic tale without the added sorrow of betrayal and pain; her... Read morePublished on April 5, 2008 by Daniella Antilla
This is a really good book. It takes a little getting into -- there is a lot of local terminology used in the world and none of it is explicitly defined. Read morePublished on May 16, 2007 by JudyGS