I received an uncorrected proof copy of Camelot in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Giles Kristian and Bantam Press for the opportunity.
Set ten years after the conclusion of Lancelot, Camelot follows the first-person point of view perspective of Galahad, Lancelot’s son. Galahad is a novice monk of Ynys Wydryn and is soon to ascend to the status of a fully-fledged brother of Christ. After witnessing the death of a newborn child and during a horrendous storm, he is met by two strangers. A Saxon-killing, bow-wielding lady of the wilds, Iselle and an ageing warrior who was a former companion of his father’s, Gawain. Circumstances dictate that together they have to leave the monastery, leaving Galahad to question everything he has ever known, completely turning his world upside down.
Camelot is an incredible sequel to Lancelot. It is beautifully written, plucks at the heartstrings throughout and has numerous tragic, truly gut-wrenching moments. The novel packs so much excellence within its pages. It features an adventure to retrieve a mythical treasure, tragic deaths of likeable characters, epic battles for the future of Britain, mysterious druid magic, and young love. It also has some instances where certain facts are revealed that I’d love to share, yet it would be unfair of me as those moments were utterly awesome, left me speechless and occasionally emotionally shattered.
I suppose you could start cold with Camelot if you hadn’t previously read Lancelot however I do believe you would be missing out greatly. Half of the ensemble here were present in the previous novel. Players like Gawain, Constantine, and Parcefal were great to read about again. Some of the other standout characters are new additions such as the previously mentioned Iselle and the intriguing young lad Taliesin. Certain towns are frequented again and it was intriguing to see how things had changed in the previous ten years. Britain is a darker and grimmer place than it was before with Saxon’s running amok and causing chaos, with the Kings of Britain only caring about their own settlements. The characters that were involved refer often to the good old days when Arthur and Lancelot brought Britain together under a united Bear banner and pushed the Saxon’s back to the sea. Is there any chance that Britain could unite again in this novel, without the aid of Lancelot and Arthur? It is mentioned frequently about how much Galahad reminds people of his father.
I’ll finish by saying that Camelot is a sublime, often poetic and hauntingly beautiful historical fiction epic. Featuring its fair share of grit and violence as well as camaraderie and loyalty, fans of heroic fantasy will find much to adore here. I’m unaware if Kristian is planning to return to his version of Britain’s middle ages but he leaves the possibility open at the novel’s conclusion. Events wrap up nicely, the ending being riveting and hugely engaging. Camelot is a fine continuation to the equally excellent Lancelot and I raced through it in three days.