Tuesday 13 October 2009

King Arthur

Finished October 13
Gwenhwyfar: the white spirit by Mercedes Lackey
I've always enjoyed the various series by authors around the character and times of King Arthur and his knights. This new book is no exception.
This novel is told from the point of view of Gwenhwyfar, third daughter of a Celtic king. Lackey has gone back to Welsh myths and found a story of Arthur having three queens in succession with the same name. This Gwenhwyfar is the third queen. While a dutiful princess, Gwenhwyfar also knows her own mind from a very young age. Although blessed with the power of the Goddess, she feels a strong pull to be a warrior and idolizes a woman warrior in her father's kingdom, Braith. Acknowledged by Braith and encouraged by her father, who has no sons, she begins her warrior training with her mother's reluctant approval.
We see the young girl grow into the strong warrior, helped by others to recognize her particular strengths and using them to the best advantage of both her father and the High King, Arthur. She excels in the life she as chosen and is respected by both the war chiefs and Arthur's chief strategist, but in the end, she is still the daughter of a king and must conform to the duty required of her as a princess.
The character of Gwenhwyfar is made to come alive more than in most other Arthurian books I've read where she is often a peripheral figure. Here, she is central to the action, and speaks her own mind when it matters.
This book is well written and engaging and allows us to see many of the other well-known characters in this world in a new light.

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