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In Camelot's Shadow (Paths to Camelot Series #1)

In Camelot's Shadow (Paths to Camelot Series #1)

4.2 9
by Sarah Zettel

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From the wilds of Moreland to the court of Camelot, a woman searches for her true powers...

Fleeing from the knowledge that her father had promised her to an evil sorcerer, Risa of the Morelands refused to be a sacrifice. Armed with her bow and her confidence, she swore to evade the wicked Euberacon's claim. And when she stumbled upon Sir Gawain, returning to


From the wilds of Moreland to the court of Camelot, a woman searches for her true powers...

Fleeing from the knowledge that her father had promised her to an evil sorcerer, Risa of the Morelands refused to be a sacrifice. Armed with her bow and her confidence, she swore to evade the wicked Euberacon's claim. And when she stumbled upon Sir Gawain, returning to Camelot to warn of a plot against the kingdom, she thought she'd discovered the perfect place to hide. Surely the sorcerer Euberacon would not approach her at court?

Now ensnared with court and political intrigue, Risa is out of her element. And Euberacon has forced a strong transformation spell upon her. There might be one chance left to save kingdom and soul -- but it would take all the strength and power she had....

"Absorbing and exciting...[Sarah Zettel is] a writer to watch, a writer with a gift for character and situation, a writer who can keep you turning those pages as breathlessly as ever you have before." -- ANALOG

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Sarah Zettel's In Camelot's Shadow is an enticing romantic fantasy set in Arthurian England that explores the legend of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady. When Gawain, King Arthur's handsome and promiscuous nephew, saves a beautiful maiden from a sorcerer, will his love be able to overcome the forces of evil?

Risa of the Morelands was cursed even before she was born. While returning from King Arthur's coronation, her father made a deal with an evil necromancer named Euberacon to save his beloved dying wife. In return for his wife's health, the sorcerer asks for the life of the child growing inside her womb. Her father accepts the deal and thus dooms the unborn Risa to a life of unthinkable depravity.

Now a beautiful 19-year-old with red-gold hair, Risa confronts her father after another suitor is turned away. When he eventually tells her about his deal with the sorcerer, she runs away -- only to be caught by Euberacon. Gawain fatefully witnesses the assault, saves Risa, and falls in love with her. But when Euberacon turns Risa into a monstrosity, will Gawain's love be enough to defeat a sorcerer, a pagan god, and all the naysayers at Camelot?

Like many Arthurian stories, In Camelot's Shadow is a tale about honor -- its moral obligations and all its unintended consequences -- but ultimately it is a story about the power of love. Lyrical, heartwarming, and engaging until the very last page, this novel is highly recommended for fans of romantic fantasy as well as Arthurian legend and lore. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

Publication date:
Paths to Camelot Series , #1
Edition description:
a.k.a Camelot's Shadow
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.92(h) x 1.29(d)

Read an Excerpt

In Camelot's Shadow

By Sarah Zettel

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-80204-8

Chapter One

The monks tell me it is the year of our lord five hundred and sixty. They tell me it is the feast day of some saint whose name I have already forgotten. I am an old man. It is enough that I remember the important names.

I remember Arthur. I remember Camelot.

I remember Mount Badon, and I may be the last one who does. I remember the flush of victory, of the moment we truly undersood we had won. I remember throwing my cap in the air and crying, "The King! The King!" and seeing Arthur smile.

I remember yesterday standing on the seashore, scanning the horizon for any boat that may have come from the west lands, bearing news of the land where I once lived. I was told once that some of our people live on, in the mountains and in the north, fighting the invaders, holding to the old memories. Perhaps I will go to them one day. Perhaps one of them could use a man of letters, skilled in the arts of maps and of planning.

One who remembers both the birth and the murder of the great promise.

You who read this, understand I do not excuse myself. I know well what I have done. The priest here speaks of the perfidy of women, and I must laugh. We are told they are weaker, they are worse. After all, was it not Eve who plucked the apple? He frowned like a carp when I did say, "But 'twas Adam who was fool enough not to ask his wife what she'd brought him for dinner!"

I tell you the evil of the most foul of women is nothing compared to man's folly, and of all men I have been the greatest fool. Sometimes I think I should lay out thirty pieces of silver at my own feet and take the same road as Judas. It would be fitting.

I have confided this to a holy man who visits upon occasion. There is a warrior's look in his eye that sometimes reminds me of Arthur. He says that if I would put to use the life God spared, I should cease to sharpen my tongue against the sides of defenseless monks, and sharpen instead my quills.

I have decided I will do this thing. I hear the tales they now tell of Camelot, of Arthur and Guinevere, and Lancelot, Gawain, Morgaine and Mordred. The truth is fading, washed away by the tide of story. If I am to tie a noose about my neck, it should be done with words. Words were forever my weapon, my prop, my delight, and in the end my downfall.

All you men, beware the tongues of rumor. Beware the poison burden of the tale-bearer and the tattler. These will do naught but raise a canker of the soul that will blacken and swell until there is nothing left but pain.

But this is not to be a record of my self-pity. It is to be a record of those days and those deeds led by my brother Arthur, the greatest king our island ever birthed. Do men love a tale of war? Do the ladies love a tale of romance and beauty? Then I, who amused the whole of Camelot time and again with my clever words, shall give them one.

Read on then, this tale of magics, white and black, and of the faith of true hearts. Read then this memory of Gawain, greatest of all knights, and how he came to win the heart of the proud and fair Risa of the Morelands, sometimes after known as the Loathly Lady.

Kai pen Hir ap Cynyr

At the Monastary of Gillean,

Eire The rain pelted through the trees as if to make a second Flood. Its noise muffled Jocosa's moans.

The oaks had provided some shelter when the rain fell softly, but now they were as useful for stopping the water as a sieve.

Lord Rygehil eased his horse backward a few steps and lifted the curtain of Jocosa's litter. Rain ran in rivulets down onto the cushions and their occupants. Jocosa tossed restlessly beneath her woolen cloak, lost in her own tortured imaginings. The two maids who flanked their fever-racked mistress looked up at him in mute distress.

Rygehil's throat closed on his breath. He let the curtain fall.

Curse this rain. He pounded his fist against his thigh and glared at the darkening sky from under the hood of his cloak. Curse King Arthur and his coronation, curse his useless physics and curse me, curse me for taking Jocosa so far from help!

The rain fell implacably upon him. His horse stirred restlessly, shaking its mane and stamping its hooves. The animal was soaking wet, and no doubt cold. He could smell, rather than see the steam rising from its back. The men-at-arms around him were at least as bad off, if not worse.

Forgive me, God. Forgive me. Rygehil bowed his head low over his horse's neck. Mother Mary deliver my wife. I love her, I love her. Take me. I'll go gladly to the grave, but spare my Jocosa, the radiant, the incomparable. I beg of you!

"Hoofbeats, Lord," said Whitcomb. Rygehil jerked his head up. "Liath is back with us at last."

Without waiting for an order, Whitcomb urged his horse out onto the road. Sea of mud, more like, Rygehil thought ruefully as his horse sank up to its fetlocks in the mire.

Even though the clouds had brought night down far too early, Rygehil could make out young Liath, urging on his dun pony for all the poor beast was worth.

"A fortress, my lord!" Liath cried as he drew close. He brushed at his hood and sent an additional gout of water around his own shoulders. "An old Roman garrison. The roof is still good in spots. We shall have some shelter at least, and a place a fire can be made."

Hope sparked in Rygehil's heart. A fire, a dry place to rest, it could make all the difference to Jocosa.

"Lead on, then, boy." Whitcomb's voice called before Rygehil could get the words out. Rygehil glanced behind to see Whitcomb checking the thongs that held the litter to the mules' backs.


Excerpted from In Camelot's Shadow by Sarah Zettel Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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In Camelot's Shadow 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love the whole series they are full of fantasy Romanticism drama i took the first book and i couldn't let it go until i finish it the whole series it's full of it its a shame that the next book in the series hasn't been publish it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had forgotten the story of Gawain and the Green Knight. This brought it all back. It was nice to be able to read about Camelot from a different perspective and I look forward to reading more of Sarah's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Was not disappointed at all when I was reading this book. Actually, I was delighted that it was so good. I just couldn't put it down! Sarah Zettel has wonderful writing skills and presented her character Risa cleverly and creatively.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't usually come across a huge book that I can't put down, but this one kept me up late! This was great, I loved it, it really got to me, lol! It inspired me to write again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hardly ever find a book that I don't like, but this book really disappointed me. I didn't even finish it. I thought it had more to do with sorcery (which isn't bad) then the Athurian legend. I guess I was looking for 100% classic Camelot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lancelot was not Camelot's only hero. Arthur's nephew, Gawain, is perhaps the knight who is the most constantly likeable no matter who tells the tale. This is his story. ........................ When Risa of Moreland's father sends yet another suitor away, she demands to know why he is determined to keep her unwed. The truth is more horrible than anything she dreamed. To save her mother from certain death, her father sold her to a devil incarnate and dares not let her marry. In shocked horror, Risa flees, only to be pursued by her 'master'. Fortunately, Gawain finds her and takes her to Camelot safely. There, she is given the protection of both the king and queen, but even that can not stop the fiend from taking her. Gawain's heart and love are lost, but before he can find her again, the infamous Green Knight challenges him. Bound by chivalry, Gawain must leave his lady to her fate until another day. ..................... **** Sarah Zetel both remains true to the legends and infuses them with originality. Nobility wars with passion until they become partners, and schemes and counter schemes are the rule of the day. This is the first in a promised series that fans will place on their keeper shelves with Stephen Lawhead or Rosemary Sutcliffe. ****
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Risa was about to be born, her father Lord Rygehil, desperate to save the life of his beloved wife Jocosa, receives shelter from a storm from the evil sorcerer Euberacon. However, for his hospitality, the malevolent one demands payment placing a curse on the newborn daughter. Euberacon vowed to collect the debt when the baby was old enough. That baby is of an age for Euberacon to demand remittance. Refusing to be a pawn, a desperate, Risa flees her home though she believes no place is safe for her. Still with her skills, Risa hopes she can elude the abomination until he becomes wary of chasing after her. When she meets Sir Gawain on his way home to warn King Arthur of a plot to destroy his realm, Risa realizes that Camelot is the ideal locale to avoid Euberacon. However, Euberacon casts his lure to catch his frightened prey even as he employs spells to remove the King and destroy his Knights of the Round Table. Only Risa fighting the spell might save the kingdom, its monarch, and herself from wickedness with no scruples.

Fantasy romance readers will love and appreciate this charming Camelot tale. The superb story line is loaded with intrigue, treachery, romance, sorcery, Arthurian legends, and a vile villain who though completely amoral makes the perfect challenge for the Round Table knights and the courageous heroine. Sarah Zettel effectively takes the risk of writing a rendition of the classic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight story with a terrific Camelot tale that will send readers to the moon seeking the Luna imprints as well as her back list (see the novels of Isavalta).

Harriet Klausner