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author: Kim Headlee
published: 26 February 2013
publisher: Lucky Bat Books
genre(s): fantasy, folklore, historical, sci fi
source: book tour, publicist
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads
Gyanhumara “Gyan” nic Hymar is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien map Dumarec, a son of her clan’s deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon’s conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.
Arthur map Uther is the bastard son of two worlds, Roman by his father and Brytoni by his mother. Denied hereditary rulership by the elders of Chieftainess Ygraine’s clan, Arthur has followed Uther’s path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness...most of the time.
When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul’s mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan’s ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman—but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur’s greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.
I have always been a fan of Arthurian tales, loving the rich mythology of the time. Dawnflight, first in a continuing epic series, brings together Gyan and Arthur. All of the legendary characters are present in this novel, but they were “created” in a whole different way. Headlee’s retelling speaks of possible reality, rather than the fairy tale versions we all know. It is, at its heart, still a love story, but told in an entirely new, and sometimes gritty, way.
Things to love…
- Gyan. In this retelling, she appears as a stronger, more independent woman. She is more of a warrior woman than the shy and reserved woman as she is normally portrayed.
- The new story. Of course, I went into this book with all kinds of Arthurian tales in mind. The threads were there, but the characterizations quickly changed as I got to know them through the eyes of the author.
Things I wanted more/less of…
- Religious tone (less). There was a clear religious tone to this that, at times, seemed at odds with the strong, independent nature of Gyan.
I think that this is a book that may not necessarily appeal to all readers, but most definitely to those who love this era, this mythology, and sweeping epic tales. It is well-written and full of mystery and intrigue and a unique retelling of the story. I was left hovering between 3.5 and 4 mugs with this, but I truly think it is more a matter of personal taste rather than anything else. I do think that this is a great read for those into Arthurian mythology!