Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere Novels)

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9780609603628: Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere Novels)
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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.

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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, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher:

CAMELOT, AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE
I've been a fan of Arthurian novels for most of my life, and I thought I'd read it all. So when this manuscript came across my desk, I was skeptical. After over a thousand years of telling and retelling, was there really any chance that yet another writer could breathe new life into an old legend? Was I ever wrong. This fresh, original, bold, sensuous novel is nothing short of dazzling. I was astonished, and you will be too when you enter Guenevere's world.

You'll meet Queen Maire, Guenevere's beautiful warrior mother and her wolvish, power-hungry cousin Malagaunt. You'll ride into Caerleon alongside the iron-fisted young Arthur Pendragon, an ambitious war-lord whose dreams of building an empire lead him to the Summer Country, and Guenevere. You'll come to know Arthur's regal mother, the tragic Queen Igraine, and her daughter Morgan le Fay, whose black magic and bitter vendetta wreak havoc on Guenevere, Arthur and their kingdom. And finally, you will fall in love with the young and passionate French knight Lancelot, who forsakes his king for a queen half a lifetime older than he--the first great love match in all of England's history.

Rosalind Miles is not the first storyteller to take us inside Camelot, but she is unquestionably one of the best. If you were one of the millions who loved The Mists of Avalon, The Crystal Cave or The Once and Future King, you will understand why Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country, can rightfully take its place with these great classics of Arthurian legend. Happy reading!

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9780609806500: Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country (Guenevere Novels)

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ISBN 10:  0609806505 ISBN 13:  9780609806500
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2000
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