Before Gwenhwyfar became Queen - before Arthur met Merlin - a tribal Welsh princess met a young Heatherlands Mage. Together, they will create a legend. Inside a mist of beauty and brutality waits the Arthurian legend as you’ve never heard it before. Enter the world of The Dragon's Harp, a realm of blood lust and vengeance, of spellbinding magic from the beginning of time. The realm of Princess Gwenhwyfar: a young girl torn between magic and desire, born with magical powers she can either wield to save her people from destruction - or deny to save her soul.
In an era of Dragons a young girl comes of age.
First in a five book series of historical fantasy, Rachael Pruitt’s unique take on a beloved legend reintroduces the mythic characters of Gwenhwyfar, Merlin, and Vortigern against the gritty backdrop of sixth century Wales, where scenes of shape-shifting and heartbreaking romance vie with torture, murder, and battle in a dragon-haunted land.
My thoughts: I have always been a huge fan of Arthurian Legend and although I have run across some really wonderful tellings of the story as a whole (Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian Trilogy, The Once and Future King by T.H. White) I have often wished for a book or series that would give Gwenhwyfar her due. I believe The Dragon's Harp (first in a planned five book series) is a promising start to the story of Gwenhwyfar that I have been looking for. Starting with Gwen as an old woman now well past all the important events that have shaped her life, she begins to recall her childhood as a girl growing up in the fortress of Dinas Emrys and her first introduction to the powerful Mage Merlin and the world of old magic.
As Gwenhwyfar comes of age, her father's Welsh kingdom faces threats from the Scotti (Irish), the Vortigern from the south, as well as the threats of an evil intentioned family member and a darker magic that has plagued the family for generations. It is the magic enveloping this imaginative picture of 5th century Wales that really makes the book special. The fantastical elements detailing the spirit world and the old ways of the Druids were really my favorite parts. I also had a strong liking for Gwen-who is young and stubborn but slowly coming into her own, her brother and playmate Cynan, slave and friend Tali, and the sharing of her experiences with first love. Because there is so much going on in this novel, I felt it moved a bit slow for me at the beginning but soon I was lost in Gwen's world and it seemed the book moved much faster for me as the story got more involved. Throughout the book there is a bit of an ominous tone and you feel as if the characters are building up to a great trial at some point in the future.
As always, I am appreciative of the detailed preface at the beginning and author's note at the end that gave us a glimpse into Pruitt's thought processes while writing the novel. We leave Gwenhwyfar as as young lady at the end of Dragon's Harp and I am eager to continue on the journey of her life. This is a truly unique take on the Arthurian story and I can't wait to read more.
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. These are my honest thoughts on the book.
For more guest posts and interviews with author Rachael Pruitt, giveaways and more reviews you can view the schedule for the rest of the tour here.
Learn more about Rachael Pruitt by visiting her website: http://www.rachaelpruitt.com
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