03/31/2004 Entry: "Sarah Zettel's IN CAMELOT'S SHADOW -- Preeti's and Linda's Reactions"
I read my first book from the Luna line and by Sarah Zettel: IN CAMELOT'S SHADOW. I'm happy to report it was an absorbing read. The story focuses on Risa, a girl who manages to save herself from attacks from her newly-discovered enemies with help from the gallant knight Gawain, who is nephew and heir to King Arthur.
Gawain is much taken by Risa's bravery in the face of adversity and her beauty; she, by his caring, strength, and general studliness. Gawain's weakness is women in need, so he wonders whether his feelings for Risa have staying power. Tension from Risa's point of view comes from wondering whether a baron's daughter fleeing her family with only a horse can aspire to marry Gawain. Together they manage to foil an evil sorcerer and witch's plots against Arthur's Camelot.
Since I actively avoid Arthurian retellings, I had some resistance to this story going in. But I think because this installment didn't dwell on Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot--although it seemed clear future books might--I was more open to the story. Plus the story of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady is my hands-down favorite remembered Arthurian tale from my childhood. I liked the way Zettel refashioned the Gawain stories, fleshing them out and tying them together in a satisfying way. Well, except for at the end. The resolutions felt less "grounded," more fairy-tale-like than the rest of the story.
If you care, in this book Arthur and Guinevere are noble and good, Lancelot is a glory hound, Merlin is bland, Morgaine is scheming and probably evil, and her son Mordred still a child. As much as I liked IN CAMELOT'S SHADOW, I don't know if I want to read more if they're about these very familiar characters coming to the fore. I recommend this one, though.--Preeti
I just finished this and highly enjoyed it too. Thanks for the recommends. I never would have tried it normally since I avoid anything that says "Arthurian" or "Camelot" in it. But since this didn't center on Arthur and Lancelot, I was able to enjoy it thoroughly. I loved Zettel's writing. It gave you a real feeling for the time period without being boring.--Linda