The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

Compared to Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, this thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.

I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history…

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time. (publisher)

I haven’t read that many books based on King Arthur so I was curious enough to try this and there aren’t too many books set in sixth-century Scotland either.

Languoreth is a twin of Lailoken who will be known as Merlin. Growing up Languoreth wants to become a Wisdom Keeper, a druid, like her brother and hates the fact that her fate lies in marriage. She is wed to Rhydderch, son of a Christian High King, but she has fallen in love with Maelgwn, one of Pendragon’s man.

Languoreth is an easy character to like. Strong and fearless who soon learns the ways of the court intrigues. Her marriage to Rhydderch doesn’t start in a promising way but in time they develop mutual respect for each other.

It was interesting to see the coming of Christianity and slowly losing the Old Ways. Anglo-Saxons are coming and there are wars and bloodshed. The book is from Languoreth’s point of view and I think it kind of restricts the story. It would have been nice to see what happens elsewhere, like in battles and such.

One real complaint from me is that Languoreth and Maelgwyn’s romance was a bit too instalove for me. They meet and in a manner of days, they’re so in love with each other that they’ll pine for each other for nearly 20 years.

The start dragged a bit but once things start to happen it flows nicely. In the end, I just wanted to know what happens next. All in all, I think this was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book.

3,5/5

Published: Touchstone (September 4, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

Shadow of the King by Helen Hollick

shadow of the kingShadow of the King (Pendragon’s Banner 3) by Helen Hollick

Britain lies uneasily at peace, and Arthur Pendragon, King of Britain, is secure in his stronghold in the heart of the Summer Lands. Ever the fighter, he defies the advice of his wife Gwenhwyfar to sail for Gaul to defend his territories in Less Britain, leaving his country vulnerable and leaderless.

When word comes that the Pendragon has fallen in battle, Gwenhwyfar, at Caer Cadan with their small daughter, faces overthrow by the powerful council headed by Arthur’s uncle, who is anxious to reassert Roman ways. Also opposed by Arthur’s ambitious ex-wife, Winifred, keen to advance her own son as the rightful heir, Gwenhwyfar must struggle to carve out a future for herself and her daughter.

But, unknown to Gwenhwyfar, events abroad mean a far mightier battle for the Pendragon throne – and the very future of Britain itself – lies ahead. (Goodreads)

Arthur is planning to go fighting to Gaul for Rome yet all isn’t well in his kingdom. His uncle Aurelianus Ambrosius wishes to bring back old Roman ways and his son Cedric is starting to become a real problem.
Discovering treachery in Gaul, Arthur comes to realize he’s very close to defeat for the very first time on his career.

This is the final book of the trilogy and I’ve loved watching Arthur’s and Gwenhwyfar’s relationship through. It wasn’t easy marriage but I loved seeing how they managed to make it work despite everything.
Arthur is still a bastard at times but we see more humane and emotional side of him in this book. And I noticed there was no mentions of his women towards the end. I’d like to think he spent less time womanizing but I’m most likely just dreaming. He might be asshole most of the time but I still liked this realistic version of him.

It was great seeing Bedwyr and Ider again. Poor Bedwyr nearly got what he wanted…

The book started little slow and the parts during Arthur staying away from Britain dragged little bit but when he returned the book got lot better. Surprisingly I think the middle book was the best and for me didn’t have any dragging parts.

3,5/5

Published: SilverWood Books (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 542
Source: library

Pendragon’s Banner by Helen Hollick

Pendragon’s Banner (Pendragon’s Banner 2) by Helen Hollick

At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britainand keeping his wife and three sons safeproves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur’s vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own. (Goodreads)

Arthur is now king of Britain but discovers it’s far from secure. Now he has to find the way to keep it and to get the loyalty of his people. Arthur tries seek peace and tries to make offers on agreeable terms, but his men and his wife doesn’t always understand his reasons and this causes fractions on his marriage on the way.

It’s been too long since I read the first book and I had no idea how the last book ended. But I do remember thinking the first half of the book was ok but really liked the second half. I think this one was better and it was gripping from the start.

I haven’t read much about Arthur but I like how the people are described here. There’s no magic or fantasy elements and it feels real. I love the relationship between Arthur and Gwenhwyfar; it wasn’t an easy marriage and it sure had its rocky patches but I love it’s not all happily ever after – stuff. Arthur can be an asshole, numerous times, and he sure loves women but it sounds more realistic than that they both were faithful. Doesn’t stop me wanting to smack him so many times but believable.

I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward reading the last book of the trilogy.

4/5
Published: Sourcebooks (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 496
Source: library

Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley

Child of the Northern Spring (Guinevere 1) by Persia Woolley

In an age alive with portents and magic, a spirited young beauty rode out of the rugged Celtic lands to wed the great warrior king, Arthur. Now, at las, Guinevere herself unfolds the legend.

Born a princess, raised to be a queen, Guinevere traveled the length of England protected by the wise enchanter Merlin. As Britain struggled out of a long darkness, scattered armies raised the cry for war and old gods challenged the new in combats mortal and immortal. And Guinevere encountered her destiny in the fabled dreams of her king. She would reign as High Queen of all Britain, but her most perilous adventure was yet to come…the journey from royal innocent to passionate lover. (Goodreads)

Story starts when Guinevere is a child, the Romans has left and the Saxons are coming. Arthur isn’t King yet and there is no round table. I liked that there’s no dragons, magic or anything like that but it’s more based on fact.

I like that Guinevere is strong and independet who loves horses but the first half of the book was rather boring. It gets better after she mets Arthur. And the time jumps were annoying! I don’t like when time jump happens and it’s not clearly stated and you spend 2 pages wondering what the hell is going on.

This was a good start in a series and I’m curious to see how the story continues and hoping there’s more action in the future!

3/5
Published: Poseidon Press (1987)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 428
Source: my own