Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (September 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402240724
- ISBN-13: 978-1402240720
My Rating 4.5 0f 5.0
Product Description:Review: I really enjoyed the tone and compelling story.
On the path toward greatness, even a hero makes mistakes.
Armed with his magical sword and otherworldly horse, Gwalchmai proves himself the most feared and faithful warrior of Arthur's noble followers. But while defending the kingdom, he commits a grave offense against the woman he loves, leading her to disappear from his life and haunt his memories.
With his trusted servant, Rhys, a commonsense peasant, Gwalchmai tries to find her in the Kingdom of Summer, where Arthur has sent him. But an unexpected and most malevolent force of evil and darkness is loose-that of his mother, the witch-queen Morgawse-and Gwalchmai finds that the secrets of his past may deny him peace...
In the second book of Gillian Bradshaw's critically acclaimed trilogy, Sir Gawain comes to life as Gwalchmai, startlingly human yet fantastically heroic.
This story is told by Rhys, a young farmer in the lands south west of Camlann - known to most of us as Camelot. On a cold winter day a weary and injured stranger arrives with a beautiful warhorse and shining sword. Rhys soon learns this is Gwalchmai, a famous warrior in King Arthur’s “family.” As Gwalchmai takes a few days to heal he enchants the family with a tale of sorrow and mistake from his youth. Gwalchmai is traveling the countryside, even in winter, seeking a young noblewoman so that he might ask her forgiveness for the wrongs he committed against her.
Rhys is drawn to what he sees as the nobility and perhaps glamor of serving the great King. He offers to go with Gwalchmai as his servant. Traveling with the determined warrior is hard going even though Gwalchmai is kind and undemanding. In fact Rhys begins to bargain for their lodgings and supplies when he realizes that Gwalchmai is too distracted by his ponderings to take a care for basics.
After a month or so at Camlann, Arthur sends Gwalchmai north as an emissary to an enemy King. Rhys and another warrior, Rhuawn, travel with him. They pass through the beautiful lands of the Kingdom of Summer, the otherworldly place where Gwalchmai got his magical and deadly sword.
When they arrive at the enemy fortress Gwalchmai is startled to discover that his father, a weakened leader, his sorceress mother, Morgawse, and his half brother, Medraut, are visiting. Apparently Queen Morgawse is plotting with the enemy, King Maelgwn. Gwalchmai is civil but it is clear that the relationship with his mother and brother is strained.
Medraut uses charm and subtle lies to confuse Rhuawn into thinking Gwalchmai is mad. Rhys’ fierce loyalty to Gwalchmai keeps him from falling to Medraut’s deception. Rhys is captured and tortured by the sorceress but escapes with the help of a serving maid he had befriended. He is re-captured and returned to the evil Queen where he witnesses a mystical battle between the Light of Gwalchmai and the Darkness of Morgawse.
ARC CoverThere is a distinctly “otherworldly” tone to the writing and story. I felt sorrow for Gwalchmai’s tortured character and I liked how Rhys displayed his own nobility and honor through his unshakable loyalty. The story was slightly slow at the beginning but the desire to know what happened compelled me to keep reading. I was sorry when it ended and I hope the third book tells more about these characters. This was fine as a stand alone as I had not read the first book in the trilogy.
A favorite quote - Rhys contemplating the state of the world beyond his home:
"A complicated world, where to act might be to act wrongly, and not to act even worse."
~~~~~I received this book from Sourcebooks for an honest review.
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