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Finding Camlann: A Novel

Finding Camlann: A Novel

3.7 7
by Sean Pidgeon

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An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.
Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by


An ancient poem and a mysterious burial inspire an enthralling historical and literary quest.
Despite the wealth of scholarship that pretends to offer proof, archaeologist Donald Gladstone knows there is no solid evidence that a real King Arthur ever existed. Still, the great popular tales spun by medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and embroidered by Chrétien de Troyes, Sir Thomas Malory, and so many others, must have found their inspiration somewhere. A dramatic archaeological find at Stonehenge and the rediscovery of an old Welsh battle poem, buried among the manuscripts of the Bodleian Library, open up enticing—and misleading—new possibilities.
When the beguiling Julia Llewellyn, a linguist working on the Oxford English Dictionary, joins Donald on the trail of clues, their fervent enthusiasms, unusual gifts, and unfulfilled yearnings prove a combustible mix. Their impassioned search for truths buried deep in the past, amid the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, must ultimately transform them—and all our understandings of the origins of Arthur.An intellectual and emotional journey of myriad pleasures, Finding Camlann is at its heart a love story—not only of romantic love but also the love between parents and grown children; the intense feelings of professors and students; the love of language, place, and home; and the thrill of scholarly research and detective work. Throughout, Sean Pidgeon’s lyrical prose brings together history, myth, and dream, sweeping the reader into the mysteries of the past and the pure delight of storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

Rebecca Goldstein
“Finding Camlann delivers a wallop of pleasure to both the head and the heart. It is suffused with an irresistible sense of mystery, its many paths, whether to the unknowable past or to the inner truth of those we love, disappearing into swirling fog.”
Matthew Pearl
“Sean Pidgeon has given us an experience so rich and engrossing that attempts to slow my reading to savor the novel longer were foiled by the fact that I couldn't put it down. If you are not already excited by the fascinating legends and vibrant scholarship around King Arthur, you will be once beginning Finding Camlann.”
Gillian Bradshaw
“Beautifully written, intelligent, and ingenious, with an unusual lyricism and a wonderful feeling for the depth of time.”
Iain Pears
“Finding Camlann is a lovely book, simultaneously anemotional and a historical journey. It finds new things to say about the legend of King Arthur, and says them in a touching and compelling contemporarytale of love.”

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.20(d)


Meet the Author

Sean Pidgeon is a reference publisher at John Wiley & Sons. Born and raised in the UK, he now lives in New Jersey with his American wife and children.

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Finding Camlann: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
darcyfan More than 1 year ago
Finding Camlann is a beautifully crafted story of intrigue that fully involves the reader in the quest for the origins of King Arthur. With superb descriptions of everything from homey British pubs to majestic castle ruins, the reader is transported to England and Wales, and forms a genuine interest in the people involved in the story. People who relish mysteries and puzzles will enjoy trying to keep one step ahead of Donald and Julia, the protagonists of the story. I am not a student of British history, so I found the appendices at the end of the book to be very helpful in keeping track of the chronology and the people behind the tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will be the next one my book club reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello, there! My name is Victor Mars. People call me VicMars, the Champion of this Region of Kanto! This is the land of Pokemon, where you will go on a journey to catch and train Pokemon! Become the best! Be the Champion! Beware! Other trainers will challenge you as the Champion. But before you do anything or go into the world of Pokemon, there are rules. Lets go over them. <p> Rules and Regulations: <br> 1. No abusive training; No hurting or killing your own Pokemon on purpose! If l catch you, you will be banned from this RP and will not be able to complete your quest. You will be ignored by Gym Leaders. <br> 2. In this world, you cannot bring your own previous Pokemon that you own in other RPs. You must start from the beginning with no Pokemon and go to Professor Oaks Lab, which will be shown in the Maps later. Again, l know if you break this rule, and again, you will be banned. Or warned. <br> 3. NO LEGENDARY CATCHES! I will make events every 2 weeks. And there is only 1 Legendary of each. So no 2 of the same. If you break this rule, l will ban you. <br> 4.NO ADDING MAPS! I know when to do these things. It is based on who beats what gym. NO SKIPPING GYMS! I will know. You will be banned. <br> 5. Have fun and be a good sport. NO SORE LOSERS ALLOWED! There will be times when another trainer challenges you. If you lose, dont get mad; If you win, dont rub it in. <br> Thats all, l hope. I will be adding more rules. The map is in the next Res. Bye guys! See you later!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sinsal More than 1 year ago
Pidgeon, Sean. Finding Camlann (W. W. Norton 2014).   This novel provided me with a slow reading experience as it offered a story framed around oral traditions commemorating ancient Welsh fighters, including none other than King Arthur, doing battle against English overlords. An important sub-theme in the story is that while many people might consider Arthur an Englishman the author emphasizes that, if Arthur ever lived, he may have been a son of Wales more than anything else.   The search for Camlaan, supposedly the place where Arthur died in battle, plays as a background motif for the leading character, an Oxford archaeologist, driven to write about the 6th century hero. He is the son of a family rooted near the English-Welsh border where Arthur may have campaigned, if he did exist, and so  this encourages him to pursue his historical/archaeological investigation.   The author seems to make adequate use of the scan references that appear to be available for history buffs seeking to vivify Arthur. These seem to take the form of ancient, Welsh bardic verse supposedly rescued from monastic abbeys long destroyed by time.  A budding romance is written into the forefront of the story involving the archaeologist, of course, and a woman linguist working for the people who bring us the much revered Oxford dictionary.  I stuck with this slow moving story because I wanted to learn something about Arthur and I believe I did in the end. It was worth it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The aesthetic of the novel is decidedly academic, and therein lies its greatest strength. Pidgeon eschews modern technology, in support of a tone that places value in the pleasure one gets from the slow unraveling of great mysteries -- and mysteries this great deserve to be savored. Every layer of the narrative, the characters, the history, and (oh!) the landscape, is pensive and thoughtful in its being. The thing to keep in mind, more than the fact that the novel is lovingly researched, is the compelling way that research is woven into the narrative. A tremendous amount of historical information is thrown at the reader, but never once did I feel adrift. The plot while complex is evenly paced, and pivots on characters that are subtly drawn, likeable, intelligent, and self-aware without being self-involved. I thought the inter-play between Donald &amp; Julia's emotionally confusing entanglement, and the rich intellectual diversions they create, was as engaging as it was believable. Highly recommend this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too found this novel reminescent of ASByatt's Possession. I loved the characters, the setting and the blend of suspence, romance and myth. I can't wait to read Pidgeon's next work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was anticipating reading this novel.  It was disapointing.  Long paragraphs of superflous description that made following the plot difficlt and drudgery at times.  I find myself agreeing with the Kirkus review.  Very disapointed.