The Knight of the Sacred Lake (Guenevere, Bk 2)
The Knight of the Sacred Lake - Guenevere, Bk 2 Author:Rosalind Miles 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 mou... more »rns 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.« less
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.
This second volume of Miles' Guenevere Trilogy suffers from middle-book-itis. All the characters have been introduced, the major conflicts have been established, and nothing much happens except that Lancelot is repeatedly sent away by Guenevere, comes back, and is sent away again. This does get rather tiresome about the third time it happens. The most original segment of the book puts Miles' pagan/feminist twist on the origins of the Christian Holy Grail myth. As the "bridge" volume of the trilogy, I'll have to reserve judgement until I finish the whole series; but as a stand-alone book, this one would leave something to be desired.