'We will not wield. We are the swords of Britain. The lords of battle.'
Lancelot, by bestselling historical fiction writer Giles Kristian, tells the story of Arthur's greatest and most infamous warrior. And what a story that is!
Simply, one of the best books I have ever read. Pure brilliance! Incredible prose, amazing characters, immersive world-building.
“And yet Arthur had Merlin. And Merlin had an idea. And so Arthur listened”
Lancelot is a historical version of the Arthurian tales that was refreshing and special. Wow, it was phenomenal!
The Arthurian legends have undoubtedly consisted of some of my favourite tales of all time. From the film adaptations to Tolkien’s epic poem The Fall of Arthur and Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles. These are some of my favourite books ever, hence why I am currently writing a 6,000 word essay on the evolution of the legends. Lancelot now enters this bracket, and goes right up near the top.
This was a wonderful retelling of well-known stories, from a unique and wonderful perspective, including an entirely new coming of age story, and giving such a brilliant depth to the story of Lancelot.
Giles Kristian prose is smooth, clear and alluring. The reading was made even better by the great audio narration of Philip Stevens, the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to.
“Arthur would fight for Britain. I would fight for Arthur. And Guinevere would always own my soul. The gods are cruel.”
The characters are masterful! New characters were brilliant and memorable, Pelias and Melwas being two such people. I fell in love with some. I absolutely despised others. They will linger on my mind for a long time to come.
This is my first reading of a book by Giles Kristian, a crime really. And oh was I so happy to discover he creates amazing action sequences. You are immersed into the conflict, whether it be a duel, or a skirmish, or a large scale battle. Whatever it is, you will feel as if you are there, participating in the crush of battle, experiencing the claustrophobic adrenaline rush of the shieldwall. Yet another aspect of this book to praise!
Lancelot is a story of heroism and tragedy. Of love and loyalty. Of a heart-wrenching decision between friendship and love. An impossible decision. I hate certain decisions Lancelot makes, but I could not stop myself sympathising with him and agreeing with his course. Kristian framed the story in the perfect way.
Overall, I cannot express the joy I found in this novel. It was utterly brilliant! Never a dull moment. Characterisation, plot and pace was all spot on. Nothing to fault in this magnificent tale. I wait with baited breath for the sequel, Galahad….
5/5 STARS - READ THIS BOOK