Child of the Northern Spring

Child of the Northern Spring

by Persia Woolley


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"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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402245220
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 11/01/2010
Series: Guinevere Trilogy
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.25(d)

About 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.

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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Child of the Northern Spring 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 577 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
lull1956 More than 1 year ago
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.
wendallyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Child of the Northern Spring" by Persia Woolley intrigued me, because I have not studied much on King Arthur historically and I was interested in learning more about it.This story was well written from the perspective of Guinevere, from her childhood through the beginning of her marriage to King Arthur.There were several characters I am familiar with (Merlin) and some more vaguely (Morgan and Morgause). I was not aware of the relationships of the characters to one another, which I believe is the historical part of this fictional book. I appreciated that the author did not attempt to write this in the Old English tongue, which made it easier for me to follow. This story definitely left me wanting to read the next in the series to see what happens to our heroine. It has set up some very good questions that I am hoping to have answered by continuing on in the series.
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Child of the Morning Spring is the first in a trilogy by Persia Woolley, originally published in 1987 and reissued by Sourcebooks November 2010. For me this historical novel about the King Arthur and Guinevere legend is very informative. Sure I knew the jist of the story from watching movies and reading other books. But what I did get from this well written novel is the feelings of the characters of Guinevere, King Arthur and other people important to the tale. The story tells of Guinevere leaving her home to travel to Logres to be wed to King Arthur. It is told in the first person as Guinevere being the narrater. A good friend and confidante of King Arthur, Bedivere, accompanies Guinevere on her journey and he tells her of Arthur's rise to the throne. He tells her about Arthurs relationship with his father, King Luther, Merlin and the Lady of the Lake Vivien and the investiture with Excalibur. As the story progresses to the time of the wedding, Guinevere tells of events in her life from a young girl in Rheged. Other characters include Morgan le Fey, Igraine, Gawain and many more. I found the book easy to read as it was told in more of a modern language than other books of the same story are written and what with all the different people and events that if they were written differently could have made this a difficult read. I am eager to read the rest of the trilogy.The next book in this trilogy is Queen of the Summer Stars.
justabookreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Guinevere, a young woman barely 18 years-old and while a strong and intelligent person, she¿s out of her element when it comes to practices of the court. The chosen bride of the newly minted King Arthur, she¿s leaving her father and the only home she¿s ever known to meet him and prepare to be his wife and queen. Their first meeting a few years prior to the marriage arrangement left her interested but not fully convinced she was the right woman for him. Without a better marriage offer and wanting to protect her homeland, she undertakes the journey to become his partner.Arthur and Guinevere¿s match is a good one --- they¿re both strong people and have an affinity for each other. When the Saxons, always a threat to the country at this time, decide to attack, Arthur moves his armies to meet them and they both find out what it means to be king and queen and husband and wife.I prefer Arthurian legend stories with a touch of historical reality rather than magic. There is some magic in Child of the Northern Spring but it¿s more in the form of religion and gods which is fine. Merlin does make an appearance and there are moments when he calls down the gods and their wrath and the same can be said for Arthur¿s sister, Morgan. I¿m all right with magic in that capacity though. For as much as I adore fantasy, I don¿t always like it mixed with my Arthur and Guinevere. Go figure.This book does move slowly and is told in more flashbacks than I felt necessary but it provides a nice background and history for Guinevere and who she is as a person. I like that she isn¿t a meek woman in this story and even though she¿s unsure of herself, some of that is due to her age and that she¿s never lived at court or even ran her father¿s household after the death of her mother. It¿s a lack of confidence and she begins to gain more at the end of the book.Child of the Northern Spring is the first in the Guinevere trilogy and with my ability to never walk away from a series, especially one that involves Arthur and Guinevere, I see myself reading more. If you enjoy Arthurian legend, this one is worth a look.
molliewatts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Child of the Northen Spring is the first of Persia Woolley's trio of Arthurian novels dealing with his queen, Guenevere. I first read this book when I was in the 6th grade and I have loved it ever since. Years later I realized that it was actually a trio and I was, as you can imagine, ecstatic! The second and third novels in the trio, Queen of the Summer Stars and Guenevere: Legend in Autumn, are both wonderful reads, as well, but this one remains my absolute favorite. The way the reader is introduced to Guenevere, her childhood, her home, friends and family, her first love and first heartbreak, her misgivings about marrying Arthur, her tomboyish's just an amazing read. I have laughed and cried more times than I can count while reading this book and I have loved every moment of it. I love the way Guenevere is portrayed, as a fun-loving, opinionated tomboy instead of the perfect beauty many think of her as. All of the characters--Arthur, Merlin, Gawain, Nimue, Pellinore, Kay--they are all given amazing personalities that the reader is able to connect with. Woolley is a genius in her portrayal of the Arthurian legend and of 6th century Britain...I highly recommend this read for those who enjoy this type of literature.
justine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Guinevere's story in three volumes
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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.
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