Child of the Northern Spring

Child of the Northern Spring

by Persia Woolley

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Overview

Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley

"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 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 571 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.
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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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