Just as I am a sucker for all things Egyptian, I'm also a sucker for all things Arthurian, and so of course I had to pick up a romance based on Lancelot! Now, I've read some truly bad (read cheesy and silly) tales with Arthur, his knights and Merlin as the basis. I admit, I expected this one might fall into this category. I was pleasantly surprised however to find what I felt was a well crafted romance that spent a lot of time developing Lancelot as a person rather than just using his preceding reputation and skipping over that development. We get to see a man that while certain of his warrior prowess, is very much tormented by his past and future, torn between his King and Queen, becoming very frayed at the edges and beginning to unravel.
Lancelot's relation to Guinevere here is treated a little differently than I've seen before, outwardly, there is still the suspicion that the two are involved romantically. The truth as presented here is a lot different, but no less stressful to them, as Lancelot feels it's Guinevere's secret to tell. She has never been my favorite character of the tale, and that doesn't change with this novel. This story is centered around Lancelot and Elaine, who together have a son, Galahad.
Elaine is very practical, and very involved in running her father's failing estate, ever since he's withdrawn in his search for the Holy Grail. Her brother Torre was injured during a joust, by Lancelot as it turns out, and has become a drunk, taking no interest in the welfare of the lands.
Lancelot arrives at Elaine's home, Corbenic, after losing his way in the woods on the way to a tournament. He had been traveling to the tournament to compete disguised, by Guinevere's order, and so he does not enlighten the family as to who he really is, asking to borrow a shield as his own is to easily identified. Before he leaves for the tournament, Lancelot and Elaine spend some time alone together, where he finds out her esteem for the knight Gawain, and her contempt for the arrogant Lancelot. Being anonymous lets him show her the real person, not just the self-important and arrogant hero she believes he is.
There are two more in this series so far, Gawain and Geraint, and I enjoyed Lancelot enough that I will look for the other two. Especially Gawain, since we get to know him a little bit here. I really have not yet found much information on this author, I will have to keep looking. She does not appear to have a website up, or any other information that I found on any other sites past the list of these three books. I hope she does more!
Now for the giveaway! As always, my giveaway copy is gently used, and Bookcrossing labeled. If you are interested in winning this to read for yourself, please comment here, and tell me what your favorite Arthurian character, and/or dramatization, novelization, etc. of any of the legends is. There are so many to choose from now! I will randomly choose a winner for all comments on November 15th!
I would have to say Excalibur was my first favorite movie, and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is my favorite novel, the book, not the movie. The movie was okay, but it really didn't/couldn't do justice to that huge novel in my opinion! Lancelot and Galahad were always my favorite characters, though Arthur is probably right up there as well, and Guinevere has always been my least favorite.