-By Rosalind Miles
Book 1: 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.
Raised in the tranquil beauty of the Summer Country, Princess Guenevere has led a charmed and contented life -- until the sudden, violent death of her mother, Queen Maire, leaves the Summer Country teetering on the brink of anarchy. Only the miraculous arrival of Arthur, heir to the Pendragon dynasty, allows Guenevere to claim her mother's throne. Smitten by the bold, sensuous princess, Arthur offers to marry her and unite their territories, allowing her to continue to reign in her own right. Their love match creates the largest and most powerful kingdom in the Isles. Yet even the glories of Camelot are not safe from the shadows of evil and revenge. Arthur is reunited with his long-lost half-sisters, Morgause and Morgan, princesses torn from their mother and their ancestral right by Arthur's father, the brutal and unscrupulous King Uther. Both daughters will avenge their suffering, but it is Morgan who strikes the deadliest blows, using her enchantments to destroy all Guenevere holds dear and to force Arthur to betray his Queen.
In the chaos that follows, Arthur dispatches a new knight to Guenevere, the young French prince Lancelot, never knowing that Lancelot's passion for the Queen, and hers for him, may be the love that spells ruin for Camelot.
Book 2: A literate, wonderfully written, alluring tale, the second in a trilogy (after Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country), offers a subtle feminist interpretation of the Arthurian legends as it continues the story of Guenevere, forced to choose between love and duty for the sake of her kingdom.Luminously evoking the sunny uplands of the Summer Country, the splendors of Camelot, and the dark woods where the evil Morgan lurks, Miles celebrates a woman, a queen in her right, and the equal partner of Arthur. Now in her mid-30s, Guenevere is both a mother mourning the death of her only child and a wife taking the measure of her husband--and finding him, despite his many virtues, flawed. Exercising her prerogative, as hereditary Queen of the Summer Country, to choose her own knights, she has turned in love to Lancelot, the Knight of the Sacred Lake, but she is also loyal to Arthur. As high king, he united the smaller kingdoms to defeat the Saxons, but in turn he is now threatened by jealous knights and the vengeful Morgan, his half-sister. A good but not especially intelligent man, Miles's Arthur was seduced by Morgan and bore him a son, Mordred, the sole heir to the Pendragon dynasty. As Guenevere, accused of murder and witchcraft by the Christians, who scorn the old ways of the goddess, is put on trial, Merlin travels the land in search of Mordred, and Arthur is grievously wounded by a knight serving Morgan. He rallies, but Morgan, whose father was killed by Uther, Arthur's father, is bent on more mischief. A distraught Guenevere sends Lancelot away and, heartbroken, visits the Lady of the Lake, the ruler of Avalon and guardian of the sacred treasures of the goddess. There, she is comforted by the Lady's predictions and returns to Camelot, Arthur, and what is to come.The best kind of historical fiction, with characters that ignore the heavy hand of history and instead live their own full and complex lives.
The third and final installment in Miles's feminist-inflected Guenevere trilogy set in Camelot boasts characters whose practice to deceive creates a tangled web indeed. Queen Guenevere is poised to be the good-hearted, long-suffering heroine, but she is more like a star-crossed black widow spider. Her beauty entraps both King Arthur and her knight, Sir Lancelot; once bitten, they are doomed to betray and be betrayed by Guenevere. Long ago, King Arthur fathered a son, Mordred, with his witch sister, Morgan Le Fay. After he and Guenevere reunite, an angry Morgan sends an adult Mordred to his father's court to gain admittance to the Knights of the Round Table and steal the crown from his aging father. As he is a living symbol of the affair, Guenevere is understandably cold toward Arthur's son, and finds comfort in cuckolding her husband with Lancelot. But even her most trusted knight is not without sin. Years ago, while escorting the sacred Hallows of the Goddess, or Holy Grail, Lancelot spent a night at the creepy Castle Corbenic. His hosts, the evil King Pelles, the king's beautiful, abused daughter Elaine, and the odd, elderly Dame Brisein, seemed all too eager for his company. When a new knight, 12-year-old Galahad, arrives to rival Mordred for a seat at the Round Table, Lancelot has a lot of explaining to do. Predictable melodrama and an overlarge cast of characters mar the tale, but fans of the series will yearn to know Guenevere and Camelot's fate.