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Dawnflight
     

Dawnflight

4.7 11
by Kim Headlee
 

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Gyanhumara "Gyan" nic Hymar is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien map Dumarec, a son of her clan's deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon's conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding

Overview

Gyanhumara "Gyan" nic Hymar is a Caledonian chieftainess by birth, a warrior and leader of warriors by training, and she is betrothed to Urien map Dumarec, a son of her clan's deadliest enemy, by right of Arthur the Pendragon's conquest of her people. For the sake of peace, Gyan is willing to sacrifice everything...perhaps even her very life, if her foreboding about Urien proves true.

Arthur map Uther is the bastard son of two worlds, Roman by his father and Brytoni by his mother. Denied hereditary rulership by the elders of Chieftainess Ygraine's clan, Arthur has followed Uther's path to become Dux Britanniarum, the Pendragon: supreme commander of the northern Brytoni army. The Caledonians, Scots, Saxons, and Angles keep him too busy to dwell upon his loneliness...most of the time.

When Gyan and Arthur meet, each recognize within the other their soul's mate. The treaty has preserved Gyan's ancient right to marry any man, providing he is a Brytoni nobleman-but Arthur does not qualify. And the ambitious Urien, Arthur's greatest political rival, shall not be so easily denied. If Gyan and Arthur cannot prevent Urien from plunging the Caledonians and Brytons back into war, their love will be doomed to remain unfulfilled forever.

Editorial Reviews

Fred Phillips
At its heart, Dawnflight is a love story, but don't let that scare you away. This is no sappy, sentimental romance -- quite the opposite. It is actually a gritty tale of war and conquest, and not all of it is between nations....Dawnflight will make you re-think all the tales of Guinevere and Arthur you've ever read....As for the writing itself -- it is superb. Headlee makes you care about her characters, and forget the countless other stories you've read about the same characters. She also has a knack for keeping the reader up past bedtime. The first night, I was able to put the book down, but once the action really started, it became tougher. Headlee has a talent for ending every chapter on a note that makes you say "just one more chapter before bed."

I think "Dawnflight" is just the tip of Excalibur, and there's a lot more to the tale. I look forward to hearing it, and I hope Kim Headlee will stay with them until they're done.
The Bookwyrm

Joann Thompson
For anyone with more than a casual interest in English history, DAWNFLIGHT is a must read. Ms. Headlee has brought her own interesting style to this new telling of the age-old story of Guinevere and Arthur, and the ancient people from whom most or our modern ethics, religion and laws came from.
Rhapsody Magazine
Detra Fitch
Chieftainess Gyanhumara (Guinevere) and Urien map Dumarec must marry to form a treaty, per the Pendragon of Brydein (otherwise known as Arthur). However, when Arthur and Gyan fianlly meet sparks fly! Now Arthur tries to find a way to claim Gyan as his own.

***No sexy bed scenes in THIS novel! War with the Scotts and pure adventure only! Lots of sword fights and battle fields. Plots and clever maneuvers mixed with some treason displays this version of the Legend of Guinevere. Guinevere is as much a warrioress as Arthur is the warrior. Watching them together was breathtaking! In my opinion, this one will hit the best seller lists quickly!***
Huntress Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781939051134
Publisher:
Lucky Bat Books
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Pages:
414
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 The combatants circled warily in the churned mud of the practice field, blind to the swelling audience and the chilling autumn rain. One, a giant of a figure, was the teacher. The student was neither as tall nor as well muscled but moved with the speed and agility of youth. The mud splattered on both bodies was mute evidence to the length of the session.

"Keep up your intensity!" Ogryvan swiped at his opponent's midsection. "Always! Lose your battle-frenzy, and you're dead!"

Though neither was fighting in true battle-frenzy, the younger warrior understood. Smiling grimly through the rivulets of sweat, the student danced out of reach, whirled, and made a cut at Ogryvan's thigh. The blunted practice sword could not penetrate the hard leather leggings but was sure to leave a bruise. Precisely over the wound he had taken at Aber-Glein two months before.

Although the swordmaster gritted his teeth against the pain, his opponent sensed satisfaction in the accompanying nod. The reason for the sign of approval was clear: the student had made an excellent choice of moves. Exploitation of the enemy's weaknesses was a basic tenet of the warrior's art. Mastery of this principle would serve Ogryvan's pupil well in the years to come.

"Strive to outthink your foe. Stay one move ahead," he advised between feints. The clatter adopted a dancelike rhythm as the opposing blade deftly met each thrust. The onlookers shouted their approval. The youth answered with a powerful counterattack, silent but for the creak of leather and the hollow thunks as sword met shield. The swordmaster staggered backward. His disciple quickened the attack.

And grew careless. The shield sagged. Ogryvan landed a blow to the unguarded left shoulder. Startled, the youth lost footing in the treacherous mud and fell. The laughter sparked by the mishap, from teacher and audience alike, was not unkind. Yet it did not comfort the mud-painted student.

The Chieftainess of Clan Argyll hated to lose.

And the reason rankled like that awful brew Cynda called spring tonic: she'd not done her best. She didn't need her father to tell her that carelessness had caused the fall.The loss.

In battle, such a mistake was often fatal.

She began to pick herself up, seething, only to be unceremoniously shoved face-first into the mud again. Before she could twitch, her father's foot pinned her down. His sword at the base of her neck chilled her to the core of her being. It was too easy to imagine what might happen next.

Ogryvan whispered, "Pay attention now, Gyan. This is my favorite part." His rumbling voice poised on the brink of a chuckle. "All hear and beware! The Ogre takes no prisoners!"

Had this been actual combat, her head would have become the newest addition to Ogryvan's private collection. Such was the Caledonian way. For in this manner, not only was the foe defeated in death, but to the victor went possession of the soul. Well honored was the warrior who boasted the largest array.

Long years of training had hardened Gyan to this aspect of warfare. Yet the prospect of someday ending up on display in an enemy's feast-hall was grisly at best.

By the shifting of his foot on her back, she knew her father was posturing for the crowd. They rewarded his performance with gleeful claps and shouts. The official practice session was over, of course. But Gyan wasn't quite finished.

Her sword hilt nestled in the palm of her outflung hand. She carefully tightened her grip. In a burst of movement, she writhed and scissored with her legs, twisted free, rolled to her feet, and brought the sword up in both hands. Ogryvan toppled into the mud. The resounding wet thud of his landing was chorused by the guffaws of the audience.

Gyan grinned, holding the point of her sword to Ogryvan's throat. "And neither does the Ogre's daughter!"

No nectar was as sweet as the joy of winning. And winning before an audience of her clansmen tasted even sweeter. One day, she would lead them into battle; events like today's added another brick onto the foundation of trust. Their heartfelt adoration warmed her like the summer sun.

She sheathed the sword and offered a hand to her father. "Even?" Her voice was huskier than usual from the exertion of the morning.

Ogryvan took the proffered hand to regain his footing. "Even."

Now that the match was over, the crowd drifted back to their various duties around the settlement. One man remained at the edge of the field. Gyan strode toward him, swatting mud from her thighs and chest.

"Well, Per, how did I look?"

"Like the baobhan-sith Cynda used to try to frighten us with." Her half-brother reached for a glob of mud lodged in her braid.

"A fen-spirit? Ha!" Gyan playfully slapped his hand away. "You know what I mean."

Peredur beamed at her. "You did well, Gyan. I don't think I could have fooled Father like that. Or held him off for so long."

She didn't believe him for an instant. They had sparred with each other often enough to know who was the better swordsman. But she rewarded his flattery with a brilliant smile and a challenge: "Race you to the house!"

Without waiting for his reply, she launched herself down the path, bruises forgotten in the autumn mist.

The Chieftain of Clan Argyll stood alone on the practice field. Pride pulsed anew for the two promising young warriors, now racing like colts toward the family's living compound. Per, Ogryvan observed with critical interest, was gaining. Arms pumping, Per drew abreast. Too close: Gyan's scabbard bounced into Per's leg. His stride faltered. With a whoop of triumph, startling a cloud of pigeons from their perches on the timbered roof, Gyan flashed past him into the long, low stone building.

Ogryvan shook his head in amusement. She was so like her mother. Winning at any cost was one of his late wife's dearest passions. How often had Hymar played some mischief like that? When they galloped their horses beside summer-slim streams, Hymar's favorite move had been to drive her mare at full speed into the shimmering water. He could still hear her bright laughter as he spluttered his protest at the unexpected dousing.

Time had finally managed to ease the pain of his loss. Mercifully, his most cherished memories remained intact.

With a glance at the leaden skies, he hoped Hymar was somehow watching. If so, certainly she ought to be sharing his pride.

He began shambling down the path after the youths when his boot crunched against something hard. All but invisible to the casual eye, Gyan's rectangular oak shield nestled in a muddy bed. Stooping to retrieve it, he resolved to chide her about neglecting her gear.

Gyan ought to hearken well to his words if she had a mote of sense, her father mused. Per, too. They would be far beyond the reach of his guidance soon enough. The sorrow of this knowledge clutched his heart like a merlin's claw over a mouse.

To honor the treaty made after the Battle of Aber-Glein with Arthur the Pendragon of Brydein, Per and hundreds of other Caledonian warriors would be riding south after spring planting to join the Brytoni army at Caer Lugubalion. Gyan was finished with her basic martial training; the rest she would have to learn through constant practice, and in battle. But she would not be joining her brother. Her part in fulfilling the treaty terms would take her elsewhere, beginning with the Brytoni school on the Isle of Maun.

The problem was, she didn't know this yet.

Telling her wasn't going to be easy, Ogryvan realized as he resumed his course for the building. He had dodged the issue for two turnings of the moon. Now time was his enemy.

Caledonian children born into the warrior caste were raised on the heroic stories of clan lore. Battles and wars, victories and defeats, incredible acts of strength and bravery: tales as sweet as mother's milk. Gyan had devoured the teachings more eagerly than any child Ogryvan had ever known, especially the hard lessons learned from the Roman War. And, most recently, Aber-Glein.

That Gyan seemed willing to swallow her inborn hatred of the Eagle of Rome was an eloquent measure of how much she wanted to fight beside Per and her clansmen. Even though they would be wielding their weapons on behalf of the Roman warlord, Arthur.

Behind Gyan, the thudding of Per's booted feet on the corridor's flagstones announced that he had recovered his stride -- and hadn't given up. Yet this time, the victory was hers! And she savored every moment.

Their laughs no more than breathless gasps, Gyan and Per clattered to a halt before his chambers. He leaned on the door to step inside. She caught his tunic sleeve. "Wait, Per. Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Oh, aye." Per bent double in an elaborate bow. "You have bested me in a fair race, my Lady. I am yours to command forever."

"Ha! Begone, rogue!" She smiled her delight. "Save your charm for the ladies."

"Aye, but I have." As he reached for her hand, the mockery in his grin yielded to true affection. "The best lady in all the land."

He gave her braid a quick tug and fled into the room. The oaken door thumped shut behind him.

"Beast!" she hurled at the ironbound timbers. His only reply was a burst of muted laughter.

Brothers! What to do with them?

Or without them?

Chuckling softly, she set o toward her chambers at the far end of the corridor.

Normally, the afternoon would be devoted to horsemanship and mounted javelin throwing. Gyan could sit a horse better than most men could, but flinging a slim barbed shaft at a target from a bobbing back was another matter entirely. She didn't relish the idea of missing even one chance to practice this basic Caledonian battle tactic. And today marked the third day of departure from her routine.

The reason was a hard lump to swallow. A Brytoni chieftain, Dumarec of Clan Moray, was due to arrive soon. Perhaps even this day. Chieftain Dumarec was bringing his son, and Gyan was expected to look her best. Her feminine best.

Illness or injury would have been better. Without question. Let the other women strut about, Gyan thought scornfully, prettied up like overgrown dolls to snag a mate. Such was not her way.

But these days following the devastating loss at Aber-Glein could scarcely be called normal.

"Cynda," she called upon entering the antechamber.

The short, plump, dark-haired woman emerged from the bedchamber with an armload of Gyan's soiled clothes. Sighing, she rolled her eyes in a familiar gesture of long-suffering patience.

"By the gods, Gyan, you get dirtier than anyone I know! Peredur included." The accusation was delivered with a merry laugh.

"You should see Father." Gyan giggled.

Cynda, who had nursed the infant Gyan after the death of her mother and had seen her through the bumps and scrapes of an active childhood, dropped her burden near the door.

"Very well. Strip off that leather and set it aside to be cleaned. I'll get the basin and towels. And put your linens onto the pile, there."

As Cynda left the room, Gyan moved to obey.

Standing naked in the privacy of her bedchamber, she regarded herself in the shield-sized polished bronze mirror. All her life, folks had crowed about how much she resembled Chieftainess Hymar. Yet it had always made her wonder...

Was she as tall as her mother had been? Or as slim? Was her hair as lustrous? Were her eyes as deeply green?

Most important, would she prove to be as wise and just a ruler as Hymar was said to have been?

She squeezed her eyes against the stinging threat of tears. These were questions she had lived with for as long as she could remember, questions destined to remain forever unanswered.

Her vision as she gazed into the mirror blurred with the remnants of her sorrow. For a moment, she saw not a lovely young woman in the bloom of adulthood but a child scampering gleefully through spring meadows, stopping now and again to climb a tree or toss stones into a chuckling brook. Her brother was never far behind; Cynda always gasped and grumbled about the pace.

Those were the special days, just after spring planting each year. Duties were light, and spirits soared high, and the sun and breeze and wildowers conspired to lure the unwary into realms of carefree delight.

Now those days resided in the forsaken chambers of her mind. Other matters competed for her attention. Politics. And marriage. Matters that promised to alter the path of her life forever.

There was no mystery to the timing of the Brytons' visit. To show support for the new alliance, Ogryvan wanted Gyan to select a Brytoni lord for a consort. Dumarec's lands adjoined her people's to the west, and that border had been violently disputed for generations. So his son was a logical choice.

Yet she was under no obligation to accept the suggested match. Such was the privilege of the clan's ard-banoigin, the woman through whom the line of succession was determined. Caledonian Law also dictated that whoever shared the bed of an ard-banoigin was entitled to the woman's lands. Gyan controlled more land than any of her peers. Thus, she'd been trained from the first day of womanhood to be selective in her choice of consort.

This son of Dumarec would have to prove himself her equal with sword and horse. No easy task for any man.

But Gyan was also learning there was more to life than battles and bloodshed. The serving lasses were always happy to fill her ears with stories of their bedchamber exploits. Usually, the answers to her questions came in blunt, vivid detail. Something stirred within Gyan during those times, no louder than a breeze whiffling through a pile of leaves. Soft yet persistent.

Remembering those stories, she closed her eyes and ran tentative fingers over her breasts, wondering how a man's touch would feel.

But would she ever know the true caress of love, if her consort were chosen purely for political reasons?

The sound of someone bustling into the anteroom shattered Gyan's reverie. She wrapped herself in a sleeping fur and opened the door.

Mardha, the prettiest of the serving lasses, was bearing the water and washing linens. She greeted Gyan with a saucy smile and a wink. Cynda followed with towels and a gown.

Gyan would much rather have seen Cynda carrying a fresh tunic and breeches. And said so.

"You know your father's orders, young lady." Cynda organized the bathing implements with a practiced hand.

Gyan sighed.

The wolfskin slid to the floor at her feet as Cynda and Mardha each grabbed a wet washcloth and set to work.

Copyright © 1999 by System Support Services, Inc.

Meet the Author

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in the mountains of southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, fish, goats & assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins-the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century-seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Other published works by Kim Headlee:
Dawnflight, first edition, paperback, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Liberty, writing as Kimberly Iverson, paperback, HQN Books, Harlequin, 2006.

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Dawnflight 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great Arthur story! And i love the way Gwenevre is portrayed as a warrior! And it ends at nearly the beginning so no worries about the dreadful end. Great book!!!
Archaeolibrarian More than 1 year ago
As a lover of all things 'Arthurian', I was both looking forward to reading this book and also filled with trepidation in case I didn't enjoy it. I am pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the intricate weave of this tale. Gyan is a strong Chieftainess who has to make a marriage match in order to prevent war. Unfortunately, from the start, she has her reservations about Urien but presses onwards for the sake of her clan. Gyan is a strong woman, a warrior-bred, and is not prepared to be the 'stay-at-home mom' that Urien wants her to be. Filled with interesting characters and places, this is a book to be savoured. Kim Iverson Headlee has put her own twist on the tales of Arthur and made it fresh and fascinating once more. I look forward to reading more in this series. * I received this book from Goddess Fish Promotions in return for a fair and honest review. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Knights, Chieftains, warriors, Kings, battles filled with the clanging of swords where the winner takes all, including the heads of the defeated leaders and women are a commodity to barter for peace, for power, for alliances, welcome to the world that legends are made from. Do names like Arthur Pendragon, Morgana, Merlin or Guinevere or even Lancelot sound familiar? Grab your warhorse, your sword and your shield, as Kim Iverson Headlee takes us back to live alongside these legends of history as war, politics and forbidden romance are all part of her enthralling tale, Dawnflight. Steeped in a period of unrest, one woman refuses to stand down as a warrior, in spite of her betrothal to a foreign lord who wants her to warm his bed and give him children. Ahh, politics, when will fathers learn NOT to barter with the daughter they have raised to be a fierce warrior chieftainess, to command armies and fight alongside her m armies? Gyan will do her duty and marry the barbaric lord, until she looks into the eyes of Arthur, fierce, cold and calculating. Wars have been waged for love, women scorned have sought revenge, but the bond between the fiery Gyan and the lethal Arthur is a force neither wants to deny. Kim Iverson Headlee tells us a tale of that time, and embellishes this love story with a feeling of authenticity that bounds off the pages with all of the ferocity of warring clans, countries and the barriers that exist through language, distance and beliefs. By using Celtic words, blending fact with fiction and the skill of a great story teller, Ms. Headlee will satisfy Arthurian fans, historical romance fans and even those who love a good sword fight! She has even given us flawed heroes, as the lines of morally right versus wrong are overstepped and legends come to life as real human beings. Definitely not a light read nor one for the delicate of constitutions, whether the battles are in the dining hall with words or on a bloody field, there are no holds barred, no prancing around, particularly where Gyan (Guinevere) is concerned. Do you like historical fiction to feel brutally hard, where the battles are personal and up close? Do you want to imagine the sounds of swords singing in the air, metal to metal contact as well as feel the passion of two souls who call to each other? I highly recommend Dawnflight as a great escape that flows like a river over rocks and through the rapids of conflict. I received this copy from Kim Iverson Headlee in exchange for my honest review.
KaylaSue1 More than 1 year ago
ONE TERRIFIC BOOK.. KIM HEADLEE IS A AUTHOR YOU WILL WANT TO READ IF YOU LIKE HISTORICAL BOOKS I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR AN HONEST OPINION AND THIS IS MY OPINION I have long loved stories of King Author, and it didn't matter if it was his boyhood or old and time for his son to take over when he died. This has been one of the best, Kim Headlee has certainly researched for historical authenticity and details. She has also managed to keep Gyan (Guinevere) as a warrior since by birth and training she is a Caledonian Chieftainess but due to Authors deafening her people she was to marry a Brytoni. With hardly much time for choice she found herself betrothed to Urien ,son of her clans deadliest enemy. Though he tries to hide the contempt he feels for her and her family and clan. Early warnings to maybe not trust him..he wants to break her spirit because she is as confident on the battlefield as in the room full of ladies. Gyan is to go to school on the Isle of Maun, when finished she is to be wed. But she meets Author and they fall in love, though it is Author's own law that has her betrothed to Urien, since Author's mixed blood stops him from leading his mother's clan. But he is determined to have her for his own, even if the cost is conflict, or can he get him to call it off. When Gyan gets to the school ,she runs into Morghe (Morgana, Authors half sister) ,Angusel (Lancelot). When the Irish attack the school Gyan,Author, Urien, Morghe, and Angusel were forced to help defend it. There is where Gyan really started noticing what Urien was really like, but even though she had been warned that she would die from a Brytoni man she was going to but she wanted Author. There is a worse problem a Scots Laird wants their lands so Author, Gyan and Urien must band together or lose all they love and hold dear. Kim uses lots of descriptive quotes, phases of the time period, three languages. It is a terrific job of keeping it as true to the time as she could . I look forward to more of her stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of Arthur and Guinevere told as never before, Dawnflight is epic! Chieftainess Gyanhumera, leader of Caledonia, is betrothed to ensure peace and strenghten the bonds between clans. Soon she realizes her heart belongs not to her betrothed, but to the Pendragon--Arthur. Will she follow her heart and face the possibility of war? Packed full of action, with great attention to the detail of that time period, I commend Ms. Headlee for her beautiful work and highly recommend this novel to those who love the magic and lore of Arthurian legends. I look forward to reading more in this series!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite Dawnflight by Kim Headlee is volume one in a series on the Arthurian legend. This is an ambitious work on a subject and characters that many writers have tackled. Ms Headlee sets herself apart by making the story about Gyanhumara, or as she is more commonly known Queen Gwenivere. The story begins with Gyanhumara preparing to meet Urien, one of Arthur's commanders and the man she is expected to marry as part of a peace treaty forced on her clan when Arthur defeats them. There are many reasons Gyanhumara should marry Urien. He is a handsome, respected warrior and heir to the chieftainship of clan Moran. The land of their two clans border each other and a marriage between the next chief of one and female leader of the other will make both clans stronger. The marriage also fits into the plans of Arthur to strengthen and unite Britons against Saxon and Irish invaders. It makes absolutely no sense at all for Gyanhumara and Arthur to fall in love, which of course makes for a great love story. Dawnflight is a tale reeking of historical authenticity and detail. The use of archaic names for people and places gives this novel a tone and feel many novels about this era lack. The descriptions of life in an England beset with fractious strife between clans and the constant threat of invasion is very convincing. Ms Headlee does a great job weaving plot, character, and setting into a very wonderful story.
gaele More than 1 year ago
A reworking of Arthurian legend unlike any I have ever read, Headlee has managed to incorporate research, a compelling story and characters that breathe life into their ancient traditions.  Starting with Gyanhumara, a chieftaness of the Picts: she was delightfully unlike the common misrepresentation of the women of the time.  Fiercely loyal, intelligent and highly trained as a warrior in her own right, Gyan’s exuberance and curiosity are only tempered by the weight of her clan’s expectations and safety.   We get to spend much time with Gyan – in fact she is the primary narrator of the story,, and she quickly will become a favorite character: her personality and good heart are that apparent.   Urien is less likable; in fact he is very much like a spoilt child with a bad temper.  He works hard to mask his true disdain for Gyan’s people and family, condescending and jealously possessive.  His true grasping for power and control, and his lack of tolerance for those he considers beneath him all hint to an increase in his treacherous and even traitorous behavior is coming.  Arthur is not perfect, but a leader who truly cares for his people: although still early in his rise to power, the threats are coming from all angles – the wars for the unification of Briton are in their early stages, and clans, nationalities and marriage beds have created several threats to his rule.  Until these three meet, the story is quietly moving forward as it incorporates a side story of the growing movement of Christianity within the Brytons and Gyan’s fascination with the religion after feeling her own gods failing her.  Exploring traditions, utilizing languages that include Manx, Gaelic and Latin as well as a combination of the three,  presents these early clans as separate entities, steeped in their own traditions and fiercely independent.  The “feel” of the story and the language used to describe the scenes present lovely word pictures that enhance the story and present each reader with a clear understanding of the ‘look’ of the characters.   Other secondary characters are well introduced and presented, with development that ranges from completely filled out to just outlined with a sense that their presence will increase for good or bad further on.  Nearly everyone is familiar, at least in a basic sense, of the legends that surround Arthur, this book is taking them to a different space and giving the characters a depth and life that I haven’t seen in other works.  I will say that after starting a bit slowly the need to know more of the story took over and the book moved quite quickly.  For the first in a series, the ending was perfectly positioned and has me anxious to read the next book.   I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
NikiMattes More than 1 year ago
Gyan is chieftainess of a tribe, and betrothed to Urien, she feels something is not right with him, but she shrugs it off. she travels off to meet up with him and when she sees Arthur, they both are struck by lightening. They feel they found their soul mate and know nothing can be done she is promised to Urien. Gyan will do anything to keep her people safe.  First she goes to the Isle of Maun to study, but bad things follow her, the Scots try to take over the isle and kidnap her to use her to get Urien out of the city. Arthur is warned and goes quickly to safe her and his sister. Will he be on time, will they find each other and is their love finally be able to grow.....  Great debut book for Kim Headlee, I so enjoyed it and look forwards to more stories from her.  I received a copy of this book for a honest review
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Arthurian tales, loving the rich mythology of the time.  Dawnflight, first in a continuing epic series, brings together Gyan and Arthur.  All of the legendary characters are present in this novel, but they were "created" in a whole different way.  Headlee's retelling speaks of possible reality, rather than the fairy tale versions we all know.  It is, at its heart, still a love story, but told in an entirely new, and sometimes gritty, way. Things to love about Dawnflight...    --Gyan.  In this retelling, she appears as a stronger, more independent woman.  She is more of a warrior woman than the shy and reserved woman as she is normally portrayed.    --The new story.  Of course, I went into this book with all kinds of Arthurian tales in mind.  The threads were there, but the characterizations quickly changed as I got to know them through the eyes of the author. Things I wanted more/less of...    -Religious tone (less).  There was a clear religious tone to this that, at times, seemed at odds with the strong, independent nature of Gyan. My recommendation:  I think that this is a book that may not necessarily appeal to all readers, but most definitely to those who love this era, this mythology, and sweeping epic tales.  It is well-written and full of mystery and intrigue and a unique retelling of the story. I was left hovering between 3.5 and 4 mugs with this, but I truly think it is more a matter of personal taste rather than anything else.  I do think that this is a great read for those into Arthurian mythology!
KimHeadlee More than 1 year ago
“And while [they] lived happily ever after, the point is they lived.” This line, spoken at the close of 1998's Ever After, literally made me gasp the first time I heard it. Because it summarizes precisely what I try to convey with Dawnflight and its sequels. Scholars will argue until the Second Coming about whether Arthur was a mortal or a god, one man or a composite, a king or a soldier, a Christian or a pagan, a southern Celt or a northern one, a native Briton or a Romano-Sarmatian import, and any other arguments they can dream up. My theory is that a folkloric tradition as vast and as inspiring as the Arthurian Legends does not spring up around a mythic god, or a mortal who was universally disliked by his people and merely given good press by his bardic spin-doctors because he was their patron. Therefore, my conclusion about Arthur and Guinevere, their companions and their enemies is: they lived. They fought. They loved. They did the wrong things for the right reasons and the right things for the wrong reasons. They triumphed. They failed. And they learned to overcome failure and the pain of betrayal by forgiving each other—which is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from them.
mathphilosopher More than 1 year ago
Kim Iverson Headlee's "Dawnflight," "Morning's Journey," and "Raging Sea: Part I: Reckonings" are the #1, #2, and #3.1 tales in The Dragon's Dove Chronicles. I love this series! So wondrously detailed. It draws you in right from the beginning. Headlee's writing is always so descriptive. She really paints a picture. I could see this as a TV series. Love the historical references. Everything seems true to time period and well-researched.