09 November 2014

A Champion's Duty by Lavinia Collins

 The second stunning title in this fabulous, ground-breaking retelling of an epic story

Feeling increasing trapped in Camelot, Guinevere finds solace in Lancelot and their illicit affair blossoms. But gossip grows in Arthur's court and only by accepting the quest for the Holy Grail can Lancelot place himself above suspicion. But in his absence will Guinevere survive the increasing danger she finds herself in from all around her, and will Arthur's love be enough to save her from harm?
I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to read the second book in the Guinevere trilogy. Wow, this book met by expectations! I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning tearing through the pages. It got to the point that I became so captivated with the story I had to force myself to stop reading so I could eat. Lavinia Collins is a gifted writer whose genre of female centered storytelling perfectly balances the line between myth, fantasy and history.

Guinevere is a fascinating character with strength and determination. Collins doesn’t dismiss the historical reality that women living in Medieval times didn’t have much say when it came to whom they married and those who became Queen often lived a lonely life but she creates a character who despite all that is able to assert some control over her situation. Guinevere isn’t a passive bystander controlled by her circumstances. She’s independent, smart and knows how to adapt to her surroundings while maintaining her voice. She’s not simply a confused woman in an arranged marriage that falls in love with a handsome knight. No she’s a Queen who desires two men, loves them both as fiercely as she can, and is comfortable with her sexuality. She knows exactly what she is doing and she regrets nothing.

Guinevere loves Arthur but she also loves Lancelot. In her heart both men belong to her and while she knows she’s duty bound to her husband she can’t help but seek out Lancelot and her Champion can’t help but respond. They’ve tried to ignore their feelings because of their love of Arthur but their hearts are destined to intertwine. While the two are able to steal precious blissful moments together they are finding it harder to keep up pretenses.

Some suspect more is going and the castle is fraught with gossip concerning the two. Arthur may not believe a word of the gossip but Guinevere and Lancelot have enemies watching the two closely. Lancelot is forced to take leave in search for the Holy Grail in an attempt to refute the rumors and keep Guinevere safe. With her Champion and lover gone, Guinevere seeks solace in Arthur’s arms but as time passes she finds Lancelot’s absence growing heavier upon her heart and her enemies are growing in numbers. Guinevere is a fierce Warrior Queen who doesn’t shy away from standing against any foe threatening her but sometimes even the fiercest of warriors needs a little help when fighting against her enemies.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the way this book ended, cliffhanger. The action sequences were entertaining, the intimate moments steamy and the intrigue had me gasping. I’m already starting on the third book. I can’t wait to read what happens next! 


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