Gwendolyn’s Sword by E. A. Haltom
I love medieval historical fiction and Arthurian retellings in particular. It is 12th century England, Gwendolyn heir of Caliburn, is living in an anxious time with civil war hovering on the brink and invading her peaceful corner of the country. This woman, who fights and thrives as her husband serves his King in the Crusades, journeys to save her people against many enemies and uncertain friends. While the historicity is not amazing, there were no overly jarring anachronisms. My favourite aspect of the book is the reweaving of the story of Arthur in this incarnation. Rather than simply retelling the same story with a couple of differences or an emphasis that is unique, Haltom instead rewove the tale and uses the art of story telling and myth that is ingrained in the culture to imagine an heir to Camelot. I really enjoy that the emphasis is never placed on royalty or blood or power, but instead on the idealism that Camelot represented, true, noble, honourable knights. She is heir not to the earthly powers of Arthur, but to the role he played in the lives of his people, protecting the weak, maintaining peace and justice.
The writing was smooth and had a pretty decent pace, although it did drag on occasion, and I found myself taking long breaks as a result. I like the characters though their development could have happened a little faster.
All in all a good read.
Self-published May 1, 2014