August 1, 2006
Kensington Publishing Corp.
850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Zebra Historical Romance
Rating: 3 Cups
Gwenhwyfar is the young woman hand-picked by Arthur, soon to be High King, to become his queen. Only she has no desire to be married and has already made up her mind that she wants to live on and manage her father’s lands. Coerced by her father, and unable to disappoint him, she accepts Arthur’s marriage proposal. When she meets Lance, one of Arthur’s soldiers who she begins calling Lancelot, and he befriends her, she feels that perhaps she can bear being married to Arthur as long as Lancelot is there. While she grows to love Arthur in time, and enjoys the marriage bed, her heart truly belongs to Lancelot.
Arthur is the High King of Camelot and has decided he must have Gwenhwyfar for his Queen because she stands up to him, and he admires that. However, unlike Gwenhwyfar, he has been raised with both Pagan and Christian traditions, and believes in tolerance, but that also means he must appease those among his people who are Pagan by participating in the ritual of the Great Rite. This requires him to have sex with a priestess in order to appease the Goddess and keep the land protected.
When Gwenhwyfar finds out about this rite and that Arthur is going to participate in it she is furious. It is bad enough that his half-sister Morgana nearly made it impossible for her to conceive by poisoning her drinks with harmful herbs, but when the priestess conceives a daughter for Arthur it is all too much for her to bear. Another nail in the coffin is that Morgana has also born Arthur a son, though without his knowledge, and seeks to put that son on Arthur’s throne. It all becomes too much and Gwenhwyfar turns to Lancelot for comfort and love, in one case with Arthur’s blessing. However, Arthur’s enemies are ever vigilant, and Morgana plots on the sidelines with her son Medraut. Will she get what she wants, to be Arthur’s consort, and her son his heir? Will Gwenhwyfar ever be able to reconcile the love she has for both Arthur and Lancelot? Only time will tell.
Camelot’s Destiny is extremely well researched, and historically authentic. While it is fiction and merely another rendition of the story of King Arthur, his knights and his queen, Ms. Breeding has done a good job of putting her own spin on the story. The feel of this book is very real, and the secondary characters, of which there are many, are woven throughout the story in such a way that it is not awkward as is sometimes the case. My only real disappointment is that the book is a little too realistic; it was difficult to read about the continued infidelities on Arthur, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot’s parts. Some of the behavior, like when Arthur rapes Gwenhwyfar, were hard to read. Still, Ms. Breeding remained true to the original story, and the research and time she took to be accurate though still creative impressed this reviewer.
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