An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and so many others, must have found their inspiration somewhere. A dramatic archaeological find at Stonehenge and the rediscovery of an old Welsh battle poem, buried among the manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, open up enticing-and misleading-new possibilities.
When the beguiling Julia Llewellyn, a linguist working on the Oxford English Dictionary, joins Donald on the trail of clues, their fervent enthusiasms, unusual gifts, and unfulfilled yearnings prove a combustible mix. Their impassioned search for truths buried deep in the past, amid the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, must ultimately transform them-and all our understandings of the origins of Arthur.
An intellectual and emotional journey of myriad pleasures, Finding Camlann is at its heart a love story-not only of romantic love but also the love between parents and grown children; the intense feelings of professors and students; the love of language, place, and home; and the thrill of scholarly research and detective work. Throughout, Sean Pidgeon's lyrical prose brings together history, myth, and dream, sweeping the reader into the mysteries of the past and the pure delight of storytelling.
"Finding Camlann is a lovely book, simultaneously an emotional and a historical journey. It finds new things to say about the legend of King Arthur, and says them in a touching and compelling contemporary tale of love." - Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio
"Finding Camlann delivers a wallop of pleasure to both the head and the heart. It is suffused with an irresistible sense of mystery, its many paths, whether to the unknowable past or to the inner truth of those we love, disappearing into swirling fog." - Rebecca Goldstein, author of Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
"Sean Pidgeon has given us an experience so rich and engrossing that attempts to slow my reading to savor the novel longer were foiled by the fact that I couldn't put it down. If you are not already excited by the fascinating legends and vibrant scholarship around King Arthur, you will be once beginning Finding Camlann." - Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
"Beautifully written, intelligent, and ingenious, with an unusual lyricism and a wonderful feeling for the depth of time." - Gillian Bradshaw, author of The Hawk of May
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W. W. Norton & Company
December 31, 2012
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