Queen of Camelot

Queen of Camelot

by Nancy McKenzie
4.6 52

Paperback(1ST TRADE)

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Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie

“Guinevere comes alive–a strong, resourceful, and compassionate woman, accessible to modern folk . . . McKenzie makes a quantum leap in defining the character of Guinevere as a real, flesh-and-blood woman. The Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle comes alive as well–believable, poignant, and bearing the seeds of tragedy.”

On the night of Guinevere’s birth, a wise woman declares a prophecy of doom for the child: She will be gwenhwyfar, the white shadow, destined to betray her king, and be herself betrayed. Years pass, and Guinevere becomes a great beauty, riding free across Northern Wales on her beloved horse. She is entranced by the tales of the valorous Arthur, a courageous warrior who seems to Guinevere no mere man, but a legend. Then she finds herself betrothed to that same famous king, a hero who commands her willing devotion. Just as his knights and all his subjects, she falls under Arthur’s spell.

At the side of King Arthur, Guinevere reigns strong and true. Yet she soon learns how the dark prophecy will reveal itself. She is unable to conceive. Arthur’s only true heir is Mordred, offspring of a cursed encounter with the witch Morgause. Now Guinevere must make a fateful choice: She decides to raise Mordred, teaching him to be a ruler and to honor Camelot. She will love him like a mother. Mordred will be her greatest joy–and the key to her ultimate downfall.

Return to a time of legend–the days of Guinevere and Arthur and the glory that was to become Camelot

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345445872
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2002
Edition description: 1ST TRADE
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 743,363
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt


The night of my birth the famed witch Giselda, the ugliest woman in all Britain, came to see my father, the King of Northgallis. It was the last night in April, cold and blowing a fine, icy rain. My father and his drinking companions, such nobles and petty lords as could leave their lands in the hands of others, sat in the hall before a great log fire while the women attended my mother and brought him tidings as the night wore on.

The guard let her in, not knowing who she was. She was old and bent, her hands were crippled and swollen, and my father’s hospitality to the poor and infirm was well known. But she would not stay to warm herself before the peat fire in the kitchen, where the cooks were heating water for the queen’s birthing. She made for the hall and the king. When the guard would have stopped her, she lifted her hood and glared at him. The very sight of her face froze him to the spot where he stood, and she passed by.

Likewise, when she came into the hall, and the company turned to her in surprise and then protest, she silenced them all when she uncovered her head.

“King Leodegrance!” she cried.

My father faced her. He was always the bravest man among brave men. “I am he, witch. State your business and be gone. You come at a time of celebration, and we would not be interrupted! Know you not my young queen gives birth this night?” His companions cheered him, and he even smiled at the old witch. He was the father of five sons of fighting age and the new husband of the loveliest woman in Wales. He could afford to be magnanimous.

But the witch stared at him, trancelike, until the room was quiet and all eyes were on her. “Beware, King! Laugh not until the night is over! It is a night of wonders! The queenstar in the east has fallen in a hail of light. And in its place burns a new star of wondrous brightness! The fairest in the heavens! These are portents of things to come. There is magic in the air this night. In this house.”

My father was not a Christian, nor were the others in the room. He worshipped Mithra, the Bull-Slayer, when he was at war, along with all the other men who fought under the High King Uther Pendragon, and the Great Goddess when he was at peace. Yet he also believed in the ancient gods of his ancestors, the gods of roadways and rivers, of the storm winds, the low forests and the high hills, gods whom men had worshipped before ever the Romans came to Britain. To speak to him of magic was to touch him near the heart, and he was afraid.

“What do you mean, woman?” he demanded, hiding his fear in anger. “Where in this house?”

The witch grinned, showing black and broken teeth. Her voice fell into a low and vibrant monotone, and all strained to hear her words. “This night shall be born a daughter who shall rule the mightiest in the land.” Her words fell on silence. “She will be the fairest beauty the world has known and the highest lady in all the kingdoms of Britain. Her name will live on in the minds of men for ages to come. Through her will you reach glory.” Here she paused and passed her tongue over dry, cracked lips. Someone handed her a cup of spiced wine, and she drank. “But she will bring you pain, King, before ever she brings you joy. Beloved of kings, she shall betray a king and be herself betrayed. Hers will be a fate no one will envy. She will be the white shadow over the brightest glory of Britain.” Here she stopped, shook herself awake, and, doing my stunned father a low curtsy, hurried out of the house before any man had sense enough to stop her.

The room was at once alive with voices. Each man asked his neighbor what she had meant. Each man thought he knew what the prophecy foretold. All of them took it as wonderful news for my father, except my father himself. He sat frowning in his great chair, saying over and over “the white shadow. White shadow.” He used the Celtic word the witch had spoken: gwenhwyfar.

Just before dawn the weather broke and the wind softened. It was the first of May, a day sacred to the ancient Goddess, and the queen’s labors were over. My father, asleep over his wine like his fellows, awoke with a start of premonition to find his chamberlain trembling at his elbow. He was charged with a dolorous message. The good Queen Elen had brought forth a daughter, but had died thereof. With her last breath she had kissed me and named me: Guinevere.

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Queen of Camelot 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just had to write my review to counter the one that comes after mine (a reader, and the only one mind you, who gave it only a one star). This book is truly amazing! Anyone who loves tales of adventure and romance are in for a real treat. I am an author myself, so I tend to be a bit more critical on the written word. But without a doubt, this is my most treasured book amongst all the many I have on my shelves. It tells the true tale of Arthur and Gwen, displacing all the ugly and untrue rumors of betrayal by Gwen and Lancelot. The love between Arthur and Gwen shine in this novel, and paints an extraordinary picture of that which was Camelot. Believe me when I tell you it is worth your time (I'm reading it for the second time and loving it even more). The best way to read it is strong and steady...don't start it if you don't have some time everyday to read it. If you put days between readings, you may not feel the full effect. But I think you'll find it's hard to put down. So enjoy this trip back in time to a place of mythical legends, destiny, and a romance that will touch your heart forever! If you're looking for a great escape from reality, this is your ticket!
patti_p_99 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book a few years ago before a vacation. I started reading on the flight, continued reading in the car, snuck off to the restroom to read even, every available moment I was reading this book. I was so engrossed and unable to put it down. I have since re-read it numerous times every year or so. I think this has probably been and will continue to be my all time favorite book.
SassyFras More than 1 year ago
Everyone should read this book! one of the most compelling yet
ZebraStripe More than 1 year ago
Upon purchasing this book, I immediately began to read it. Once I finished the first few chapters, it became apparent that I must finish it soon, for, I could not put this book down. The characters are fully-developed and the plot is a pleasing romance, with a touch of adventure. McKenzie's pen, indeed, was touched with an essence of Merlin's magic when she wrote this Arthurian legend. I recommend this to anyone whom enjoys the legend of King Arthur--a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its rare to find a book that can make you laugh and cry and hurt with a character, but this one does that and more. Its impossible to put down! McKenzie finally gives Queen Gwen the story she deserves. It sheds a new light on the love triangle between her, Arthur, and Lancelot. I've read it at least 10 times and it never gets old... I still cry and laugh and hurt! If only there more book like this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put down I don't want to finish it so I'm reading it very slowly...lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, would have liked to know what happened to Gwen after the Kings death.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful perspective on the classic tale
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alyssa madrigal More than 1 year ago
i just finished this book and all i have to say is wow! this book has captured my heart and it will forever be remembered. what i loved most is how she did not love arthur or lancelot more than the other during most of the book but at the end she knew who she could not live without
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KnightOfAvalon More than 1 year ago
This book has become my all-time favorite book. Since I first read it almost a decade ago, I always turn back to it every now and then because of how real the characters feel. The story line, from beginning to end, will keep you captivated and enchanted. It truly is one of the greatest Arthurian Legends that has ever been written!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It's has everything that is needed for a great read. Love, action, tears of joy ans heartbreak. You will read this over adn over because everytime you read it, you realize something new or think of something a different way. Enjoy! You will wish it never ended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing. I loved how you could relate to all the characters somehow. I would recommend this book to any fan of the King Arthur legend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing! It feels as you can really relate to the characters and their feelings. There was definitely magic in Nancy McKenzie's pen when she wrote this and I am really thankful for that!! This book is definitely recommended for all of the King Arthur and Guinevere fans out there!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved the way the history is so put together with a beautiful love story.