Last in a line of proud queens elected to rule the fertile lands of the West, true owner of the legendary Round Table, guardian of the Great Goddess herself . . . a woman whose story has never been told--until now.
As High King and Queen, Arthur and Guenevere reign supreme across the many kingdoms of Great Britain. Still, Guenevere secretly mourns the loss of her beloved Lancelot, who has returned to the Sacred Lake of his boyhood, hoping to restore his faith in chivalry in the place where he learned to be a knight. In a glittering Pentecost ceremony, new knights are sworn to the Round Table, including Arthur's nephews, Agravain and Gawain. After many years of strife, peace is restored to Guenevere's realm.
But betrayal, jealousy, and ancient blood feuds fester unseen. Morgan Le Fay, now the mother of Arthur's only son, Mordred, has become the focus of Merlin's age-old quest to ensure the survival of the house of Pendragon. From the east comes the shattering news that Guenevere may have a rival for Lancelot's love. A bleak shadow falls again across Camelot--and across the sacred isle of Avalon, where Roman priests threaten the life of the Lady herself. At the center of the storm is Guenevere, torn between her love for her husband, her people, and Sir Lancelot of the Lake.
With rare and intuitive magic, Rosalind Miles brings to life a legendary woman's bravery and passion, and all the pageantry, heartbreak, violence, and beauty of an age gone by.
The cast is so familiar, from Guenevere to Arthur to Morgan Le Fay, that the question is: how to make a retelling of the deathless saga of Camelot new and vital? In this second volume in her Guenevere trilogy (after Guenevere: Queen of The Summer Country), the popular and prolific Miles injects the familiar tale with poesy and some hoke. Purists will balk at the novel's new age, goddess-worshipping bent, but Miles produces an engrossing if unorthodox read. Her Guenevere is portrayed as a queen born to rule, taught from the cradle that woman is the giver of life, but she falls apart like any serving wench when her knight is in danger. Lancelot here is something of a cipher, but he is given more credit than any of the other men in this epic. Arthur tries his best but doesn't seem the master of himself or his kingdom. Merlin is a fey old man, and he fumbles through his quest, the search for Arthur and Morgan Le Fay's son Mordred. Christianity, in the form of Catholic priests who threaten the sacred isle of Avalon, plays a negative role; the church is challenged by a goddess cult centered around the Lady of the Lake and upheld by Guenevere. Though the religious background is farfetched, the adventures of the knights of the Round Table, the machinations of Morgan Le Fay, and Guenevere's struggle to remain faithful to Arthur, love Lancelot and keep peace in Camelot are engaging. No doubt Miles's fans will be pleased with this lush, feminist take on the English epic. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; rights sold in Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain and the U.K. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Great follow up
Posted August 17, 2010 by Mack , UnionThis was a great follow up to the first book. It is very fast paced with many plot twists and turns. My favorite book of all time is the Mists of Avalon and these books are a very interesting twist on a beloved story.
June 11, 2001
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Excerpt from The Knight of the Sacred Lake by Rosalind Miles
High on its crag, Camelot slumbered in the shining gloom. The owls drowsed in the bell tower, and the round turrets with their pointed roofs, bright pennants, and golden spires hung in the glimmering air. The guard in the lookout shifted himself on his haunches and prepared for an easy watch. On these blessed summer evenings a silver twilight lingered all night long, even in the dead hours, when the Fair Ones walked.
He chuckled softly. The Fair Ones, yes. Well, a June watchman was never short of company. But a wise man learned to look the other way when he felt the Fair Ones near. And they'd surely be abroad tonight, what with the Queen's feast and all.
Thin snatches of sound came fleetingly to his ears, the chant of plainsong rising from far below. His eyes traveled down to the courtyard, where a long building huddled in the shelter of the wall. Through the high mullioned windows, a single light burned brightly in the dark. It was the flame above the altar, the symbol of unfailing hope and prayer.
Hope, was it? They'd need it, all those poor devils down below. The watchman shuddered as he pondered it. Ye Gods, to be down there now, and all night too!
Yet to the men inside the chapel, their night's work was not an ordeal, but a great honor, he knew. He scratched his head, and let his mind roam free. What must it be like, to be made a knight by the Queen?
The Queen -- his senses misted with a fleeting memory of white and gold, a drifting shape, a shining smile. A haze of precious thoughts descended on him like a cloud of winged things. To kneel to her, and call yourself her knight, to touch her hand and swear to die for her -- yes, any man would thrill to that destiny, that kiss of fate. And all the young men in the chapel had fought for this, chased after it for years. They had valued it above the love of women, above life itself. No matter then what they were going through. Some would endure, some wouldn't, that was all.
And afterward, they'd have a feast to end all feasts. Gods above, he grinned to himself, what the Queen had commanded from far and wide! Wagons full of beer and wine, carts groaning with fresh meat, every home farm raided for miles around. The cooks had been cursing and tearing their hair for weeks as the Queen's orders flew like arrows from her high tower. "Nothing but the best! There are queens and kings expected, and all our people from here and far away. Above all we must honor our new-made knights."
The new knights.
Well, their honor would be dearly bought.
With a sigh, he turned his eyes down again to pray for the sufferers below.
Inside the chapel the air was misty and cool. The young knight swayed on his knees and lifted unseeing eyes. High on the wall, the Round Table hung suspended above the stout trestles that supported it when it was in use. The great circle gleamed with its own light like the face of the moon. The knight fixed his gaze on it and tried to drag his mind back from wandering in some lost realm of pain. Dear Lady, Queen of Heaven, bless my vigil, he prayed humbly. Let me not faint, let me not disgrace my newfound honor and Your sacred name.
At the back of the church the Master of the Novices viewed him sardonically, and echoed his prayer. Folding his arms, he leaned his back against the damp chill of the chapel wall, and surveyed the kneeling rows facing the altar, all silent now, and gray-faced like old men. They were all the same, these young knights-in-the-making, on fire to be the best in the land. But after the first hour on their knees on the cold stone, even the strongest was praying to survive.
They could lie down, of course. Every one of the twenty young men kneeling now in prayer would spend some part of the hours between dusk and dawn prostrate before the altar, arms outstretched to form the sign of the Cross. After the first hour or two, when the stones they knelt on felt like knives of fire, the weaker vessels would fall on their faces and remain there all night long. Others would repeatedly struggle to remain upright, till the bell rang for first light.
The Novice Master smiled coldly to himself. Already he could tell which of them would fall, and even when. And he could tell too, from this simple fact, those who would make good knights, and who would not.
And most would not. His eye passed carefully over their ranks. He was too old a hand at knight-making to sigh over young men's frailties and lost hopes. But every year at this time he remembered how ardently the new knights all embarked, and how few were destined to survive the course.