Many fantasy authors write a novel about King Arthur tackling some aspect of the story and providing new ways of seeing the story for readers. Mercedes Lackey does this with her Arthurian fantasy book _Gwenhwyfar: the White Spirit_. Ms. Lackey shows readers the King Arthur story through the eyes of one memorable woman character. The book is a vivid story told through the setting, plot and main character.
The setting of the book is Britain after the Romans have left. Saxons have invaded the land which creates battles between the natives and invaders. There are several different kingdoms ruled by their own royal families all under the High King Arthur. Magic is part of the fabric of life with women’s magic under the ladies of the cauldron well and men’s magic under the druids. People are wary and frightened of the creatures of Annwynn (fairy), knowing they can’t be trusted. Ms. Lackey brings the setting to life with realistic descriptions of this magical ancient Britain.
Next, the author uses the story of King Arthur to drive the plot of the book. Ms. Lackey uses some information she came across in doing research for this book to add a new twist to the Aurhurian story. The plot revolves around the women in the king’s life as the main character Gwenhwyfar is drawn into the story. Magic, war and betrayal add to the adventure and action that keeps readers hooked into the story until the end.
Finally, following the character of Gwenhwyfar through her life as she grows makes the book memorable. Broken into three parts, princess, warrior and queen, readers watch Gwenhwyfar as she grows into a strong woman warrior with a formidable sense of duty and honor. She plays a major role in the King Arthur legend that offers a twist with a new perspective on the events of the story. Ms. Lackey’s deft touch on characterization makes Gwenhwyfar realistic and memorable.
_Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit_ by Mercedes Lackey is an excellent addition to Arthurian fantasy. The author takes an interesting piece of information from her reserach to tell the remarkable story of a woman in Celtlic Arthurian Britain through the setting, plot and main character. Readers will enjoy this vivid, entertaining story of Gwenhwyfar and the role she plays in the legend of King Arthur.