Child of the Northern Spring

( 566 )

Overview

"An absorbing portrait of the Arthurian age."
-San Francisco Chronicle

Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere's eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that...

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Child of the Northern Spring: Book One of the Guinevere Trilogy

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Overview

"An absorbing portrait of the Arthurian age."
-San Francisco Chronicle

Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere's eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that king. But legends being what they are, the story of Arthur's rise to power soon intrigues her, and when they finally meet, Guinevere and Arthur form a partnership that has lasted for 1500 years.

This is Arthurian epic at its best-filled with romance, adventure, authentic Dark Ages detail, and wonderfully human people.

Praise for Persia Woolley's Guinevere Trilogy

"Original...accurate in detail...Child of the Northern Spring is rich and sweet."
-New York Times

"Vivid...dramatic...once again we are captivated by the magic of the legend that has long fed our appetite for pageantry and romantic adventure."
-Washington Post

"Vividly re-creates sixth-century Britain in the throes of change...Child of the Northern Spring portrays a sensitive young woman who will appeal to modern readers."
-Publishers Weekly

"Richly textured, evoking the sights and sounds of castle and countryside, the qualities of knight and servant. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The standout opening volume of Woolley's Guinevere trilogy, first published in 1987, describes the Celtic princess's childhood in loving, sensuous detail with an uncannily accurate historical eye for day-to-day details. As Guinevere comes of age to marry Arthur, the recently crowned high king of Britain, Woolley does a marvelous job of portraying the political upheaval of the time. Despite the struggle between Celtic and Roman culture, Guinevere finds herself working with Arthur to unify a divided country and repel the onslaughts of Saxon invaders and rebellious kings. The sharply delineated cast will be familiar to any fan of Arthuriana, though many characters get new twists. While hardly the first book to retell these myths from a woman's perspective, this is an engrossing and satisfying addition to the canon. (Nov.)
Palmer's Picks for Reading
The writing was sophisticated, the characters stem from legendary stories and there was enough action and romance to keep readers engaged.
Queen of Happy Endings
Guinevere is bold and strong, a true heroine in every sense of the word. Guinevere truly gets a rework here. Rather than being the wishy-washy fair-headed maiden of the romantic legend, she is a formidable Queen.
Laura's Reviews
An enthralling read with fascinating three-dimensional portrayals of Arthurian legendary characters set in a historical accurate Britain.
Historical Novels Reviews
This is quality storytelling that has stood the test of time, and I look forward to seeing the other two volumes in this trilogy back in print.
Debbie's Book Bag
Fans of the Arthurian legends will appreciate and love this re-telling.
Rundpinne
It is evident from the beginning that Woolley took her time researching the history of the time period as she goes into extraordinarily vivid description. Her characters come to life.
The Maiden's Court
The world of Arthur and Guinevere was masterfully created.
Apprentice-Writer
Seeing developments through the eyes of Guinevere... gave the story an entirely different feel, rhythm, and emphasis.
Read All Over Reviews
Persia Woolley delivers in Child of the Northern Spring... it has garnered itself a spot in my permanent collection.
Books Like Breathing
Every little detail was so spot on and it was very impressive. You feel as if you are a part of it.
Books by the Willow Tree
Woolley brings light to the to this time period and she paints vivid images of what life was like at the time of the 'Celtic Renaissance' when the many Celtic tribes revolted against marauding Anglo-Saxons.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arthur's Queen Guinevere is a tantalizing and controversial figure, metamorphosing in legend from ancient Britain's gracious first lady to an imperious adulteress, Lancelot's lover, tried for treason and held responsible for the Round Table's decay. Woolley's pleasing first novel, the inaugural volume of a planned trilogy, portrays a sensitive young woman who will appeal to modern readers. A princess of Rheged in Northern Britain, Guinevere is betrothed for political reasons to the High King, Arthur. Riding to meet her husband, Guinevere learns about Arthur's conquests as a rising warrior. The new Christian religion threatens to displace the Druid mysteries and their priestesses, one of whomMorgan le Fey, the Lady of the Black Lakeviews Guinevere askance. Lancelot is as yet an off-stage character, but other companions of Camelot (Merlin, Gawain and a gangly Tristan) are introduced as Woolley leads up to the royal wedding and prepares the scene for Guinevere's future troubles. The author's inventive use of research enables her to vividly recreate sixth century Britain in the throes of change. BOMC alternate. (May 25)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402245220
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Series: Guinevere Trilogy
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 822,351
  • Product dimensions: 5.41 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Persia Woolley is the author of the Guinevere Trilogy: Child of the Northern Spring, Queen of the Summer Stars, and Guinevere: Legend in Autumn. She lives in Northern California.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter I The Departure

I, Guinevere, Celtic Princess of Rheged and only child of King Leodegrance, woke to a clatter of activity in the stableyard. The sound of gruff orders and jingling harnesses was accompanied by swearing and grunting and the occasional stomp of a large, impatient hoof.

I scrambled out of bed and ran to the window. Sure enough, down by the barns the yard was filling with people and animals. Arthur's men were strapping packframes on the ponies, and before long even the traveling horses would be saddled. Too soon tomorrow had arrived, and a surge of panic rose up to choke me. It was all happening, whether I willed it or not, and I struggled to keep control of my destiny even while I searched for a way to change it.

"I can't go...I can't leave Rheged," I'd cried defiantly last night, tugging on a pair of heavy breeches while Brigit stared at me dumbfounded, the unlit lamps forgotten in her shock at finding me half-dressed for flight.

"What do you mean you can't?" Her voice was incredulous, and she tossed her head back defiantly, the red hair swirling like a shadow in the twilight gloom. "No Celtic queen whimpers she can't face a challenge. Of course you can!"

Her words were more proud than angry, and for a moment she sounded so much like her cousin I could swear it was he speaking.

"That's what Kevin used to say..." Tears leaped up behind my eyes, and I blinked fiercely to keep them back.

"And right he was, for once." She relaxed then and came over to the bed, where I had piled the things I planned to take with me in my bid for freedom. "But that's no cause to be talking of running away. You know no one survives in the forest; we'd be eaten by beasts, or caught by bandits and sold as slaves, or worse." Her green eyes brimmed with terror, and she shivered suddenly and made the sign of the cross.

Her assumption that where I went, she went too was typical. At any other time I would have smiled at her loyalty, and I began to weaken in spite of myself.

"God forbid I let you do such a thing, Gwen. If you truly won't accept this marriage, tell your father. You know he won't force you to marry someone you don't want, even if you are a princess."

The hot tears of anger and frustration and heartbreak broke loose then, and Brigit gathered me in her arms and let me sob out my anguish against her stalwart shoulder. If we both remembered the other time I had cried thus, neither of us spoke of it. This night held enough pain without bringing back a grief that was best left peaceful in its grave.

When the first crest of my emotion had subsided, a hiccup caught me unaware, and fishing a handkerchief from her apron, Brigit handed it to me without a word. I dried my eyes and, turning to the window, stared out over the fort. Like most Roman things, it was half in ruins; patched and mottled and left to decay. Usually I disliked such places, but here a double-storied tower had been set aside as "women's quarters" after Lavinia joined the household. The top room had a fine view of the lake and fells, so whenever my father held court at Ambleside I settled in like a swallow returning to her favorite nest. Tonight Windermere lay serenely sheened with silver, while above it a new moon hung misty in the pale sky. A fish sent ripples outward in silent beauty, and the little murmuring quacks of a mother duck calling her offspring drifted up to me. Somewhere in the village a child was trying to drive a noisy old hen into its coop for the night. It made me think of the one-eyed biddy who used to flap and squawk whenever I shooed her toward the roost at Patterdale, and the poignancy of so simple a memory threatened to bring back the tears I was trying to control.

"I think you're suffering more from nerves than from a real dislike of Arthur," Brigit suggested, calmly returning to the task of lamplighting. "Though I'll admit, he certainly picked a forbidding emissary to come and fetch you."

"Merlin?" I shivered a little at the thought of the distant, unbending magician. He had given no more than a curt nod when my father presented me, and throughout the evening meal had avoided so much as looking in my direction. Even in the past, on those rare occasions when he had visited our court during my childhood, he was always strange and aloof, reeking of the magic Archdruids are known to have. It was said he had made himself indispensable to the young High King, and if his attitude was an example of the welcome I would receive in Logres, I had good cause to regret the loss of my homeland. In the end I promised Brigit not to run away, but to face my father on this morning. And the last thing I did before going to sleep was pray long and hard to Epona, begging the Horse Goddess for help in breaking the marriage contract without bringing dishonor to our family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 566 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(153)

4 Star

(160)

3 Star

(114)

2 Star

(60)

1 Star

(79)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 568 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The opening of Guinevere trilogy is a terrific coming of age ancient historical thriller

    Celtic widower King Leodegrance arranged for his only child Guinevere to marry the High King Arthur in a marriage of political convenience. The betrothed meet to finalize the deal and although she finds him fascinating she has doubts that an uncouth princess from the north, who never left her home or took over her mother's duties, is the right person to serve as queen.

    When the time comes for the chosen one to go top her fiancé to marry him and be his queen, the eighteen year old Guinevere does not want to leave her beloved home, but does her duty. On her trek from the north of Britain, she learns of her future husband's war prowess as Arthur attempts to unite a divided nation. As the Saxon threat goes unabated and the spread of Christianity appears ready to supersede the mystical Druids, priestesses like Morgan le Fey the Lady of the Lake distrusts the new queen's ability to rule at Arthur's side.

    The opening of Guinevere trilogy is a terrific coming of age ancient historical thriller. The teenage Child of the Northern Spring lacks confidence when she marries Arthur, but grows into the job as she realizes she has the tenacity and courage to do what is needed for her country. Camelot fans will relish Persia Woolley's tale as the unsure of her worthiness child starts to transform into a confident blossoming queen.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    a good read

    I really enjoyed this book to the point where I wanted to read the rest of the trilogy. That was where the disapointment came in to play. I'm about 70 pages into the second book of the trilogy and it reads almost like book one. It's practically a carbon copy. I actually thought I downloaded book one again by mistake.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    A thorough disappointment.  I am 60 pages in and struggling to c

    A thorough disappointment.  I am 60 pages in and struggling to continue reading. I am sure
     the history is probably flawlessly accurate; however, the book is written in first person narrative and that's where the author loses my attention.  
    The narrator's language seems much too modernized; nowhere near what I would imagine a person living during Arthurian times would speak.  If you are like me and incorrect manner of speech, vocabulary and syntax upset you when it comes
    to time and era, don't buy this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2013

    Entertaining enjoyable read.

    Entertaining enjoyable read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    A great version of the beloved Arthurian tale. Characters are th

    A great version of the beloved Arthurian tale. Characters are three dimensional and keeps your interest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    March 3, 2012

    I really like this Guinevere. So much more depth than usually portrayed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Spectacular read!

    Of all the King Aurthur books that I have read I enjoyed this one the most. Very well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Enjoyable read

    I was surprised by how much i enjoyed this book. I am a huge mists of avalon fan and this book is similar in that it focuses on the womens perspective, but in this story, guinivere is the heroine. I liked the way the author used flashbacks to bring the reader a sense of gwens history while keeping the story moving and flowing. The descriptiveness of the authors language painted a beautiful and magical picture and made you feel as if you were really there. I throughly enjoyed it and i hope you will as well!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Historic Novel Fans

    When I was a kid my first favorite book was Arthur Rex. Of course that got me started onto my historic novel craze. That book was entirely fantasty. This one first off is from Gwen's point of view and secondly is much more realistic. For lovers of historic novels this one is a fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2011

    Loved it!

    I really enjoyed this book, I loved this historical aspects and the characters were extremely well developed. If you like historical fiction or stories about Camelot you will love this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Great

    I would recommend this book. It was insightful and wonderful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Original

    I didn't know much about medieval romance besides a few of the names: Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere...this is an interesting take on the lady's side of the story. Very good read and very imaginative on the author's part!

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Terrific Read!

    At first I was somewhat unsure about reading this genre of book but then found myself reading it at every chance I could - it was that hard to put down! Arthurian times are interesting to me and this story brought it all to life for me in a way I have never seen. Gwen is portrayed as a strong minded young lady and seeing it all through her independent viewpoint displays life of the High King's court with a fresh twist. Great read!

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Historical fiction at its best

    Historical fiction at its best Persia Woolley brings Arthurian legend to life as a story grounded in reality, not fantasy.  The setting is sixth century Britain when the culture of the fallen Roman Empire still exerted influence on many and the Saxon invasions  provided for an ever present threat to safety of the realm. Woolley has an eye for detail that allows her readers to be caught up in another time with characters who are vivid and lively.  Guenievere is every much the fiesty Celtic tomboy promised by the publisher's description.  She is full of energy and a love of life that makes you root for her as the heroine.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Wonderful! A must read!

    Beautifully written, excellent character & plot development. Persia Woolley has us understand the puzzle: who was the woman on the throne in Camelot? If you are a follower of Camelot's Arthur and/or the Merlin legends, this is a must for you..and if you have never read anything about either of these men, this is a perfect intro, from the woman who knew them both. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book!

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Loved this book

    Seeing king Arthur from Guineveres prospective was very interesting. The book also gave a good feel for the period with the word pictures the author used

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  • Posted March 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful book!

    This is actually not a new book, just a re-release. I read it in elementary school for the first time (I was a very advanced reader). I have relatives in Scotland and am half Irish, so I've always loved the celtic/Arthurian myths. This was a wonderful new look at the story from Guinevere's perspective. It makes her a human, likable, strong woman, not just the woman who brought Camelot down. Also, if you're into this story, buy First Knight with Sean Connery on DVD. Amazing movie...

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Best book about King Arthur

    This story truely begins at the beginning and brings us up to the point of the roundtable. Gewn fell in love with Arthur and I believe Arthur was in love with Gwen. He just didn't know how to express his love at least in words. Yes he is a hero, however, the story focuses on Gwen more than Arthur. I really liked the first person account. You will also enjoy reading this story.

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    Not for me

    Ouch! I could not get through this. Too slow moving.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    highly recommended

    I love the Arthurian legends and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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