01 September 2014

The Warrior Queen by Lavinia Collins

 A sumptuous romance based around the life of Guinevere and Arthur's Court.

Never before has the magical world of Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and Lancelot and the knights of the Round Table been so deeply explored than in this warming saga of passion, duty and infidelity. Drawing on a rich seam of historical sources Lavinia Collins has created a fictional masterpiece, and epic romance that will stand the test of time.

The Warrior Queen is the first full novel length installment of the Guinevere Trilogy.
When I moved to the England from the United States one of the first places I insisted on seeing was Arthur’s Stone. I’ve always found the legends, history and romance surrounding King Arthur fascinating.  There have been many books and a number of television shows and movies that have reinterpreted the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot, the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere, Merlin, Morgana and the search for the Holy Grail. The retellings have been steeped in mysticism and often focus on the folklore and history through the eyes of the male heroes. There have been some stories that have brought the female voices to life but this is the first book I have encountered that narrated the story strictly from Guinevere’s perspective.

Collins creates a Guinevere who is much more than the beautiful legendary woman who captured the attention of two powerful men. She gives us a Guinevere full of depth and intrigue. Guinevere isn’t just a gentile prize, victim of manipulation or a vindictive adulteress. She’s a woman of strength, character, desires, willfulness, and intelligence. She’s a heroine and powerful force in Arthurian Britain. She’s a warrior garbed in leather armed with a bow and arrow and she’s a Queen donning silk gowns and jewels.

I enjoyed this book a great deal and stayed up into the wee hours devouring it page by page. It was an enchanting story that delved into the complexity of love, loyalty, magic, religion, and the emotional effects of war. Guinevere’s heartbreak and confusion is moving. I myself wasn’t sure which man was the one true love for her, Arthur or Lancelot. The passions with both were heartfelt and sensual. The connections were true and meaningful. I felt her frustration and anger as she navigated her way through a world where her personal choices were stunted by her gender, position and circumstances. I admired her strength in standing up for herself and I respected her honestly in recognizing her own faults.

Collins background in Medieval History is evident as she precisely takes care in writing scenes that are true to Arthurian history while establishing a new perspective to the lore. She perfectly balances romance, history and legend into a female empowered storyline. I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series and I am excited to see what happens next with Guinevere.


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