Everyone is somewhat familiar with the Arthurian legends and the story of the King and the Knights of the Round Table. Far from a very familiar feel, although presenting many of the characters in a new and different way, Gillian Bradshaw has retold the familiar story with several new twists, all unique and refreshing, that make for a wonderful story.
In the start of this story we are told of Gwalchmai’s (Sir Gawain) is starting a quest to find a long lost love that he wronged, Elidan. Used to set up the story Gwalchmai’s distraction and rather dry retelling of the history leave us with only his perspective, and while his regret is evident I most certainly would have appreciated seeing the events in real time, rather than in this retelling.
Gwalchmai’s travels bring him to stay with Rhys’ family, where dazzled with the knight and the possibility of more, he asks to sign on as his servant. From here, the story starts to gain traction with Rhys gaining in confidence and knowledge as the story unfolds. Particularly apt is Rhys’ ability in narrating the story, presenting information with his own observations, often spot on.
Unlike any other Arthurian Tale that I have read, this story manages to present a twist to the story that makes it feel very plausible and real. The world of Arthurian Britain is described with great detail and beautiful prose – sure to please history fans. There are two love stories here, that conceivably be stretched to three if the early infatuation and fascination that Rhys had with Arthur’s warband could be counted. A brief love soon cleared of its shine as Rhys is quickly learning the consequences of all actions.
Narration is provided by Nicole Quinn who aptly manages the often twisted pronunciation of names and places, many carrying the feel of the often-unpronounceable Welsh. Her own accent, and lack of great pretention in presenting the various characters, her smooth transitions and seamless transition from prose to poetic are easy to listen to and present the story with flair.
Layered with description, imagined history, danger, sorcery and the classic good versus evil conflict that fuels the story of Arthur, this is a wonderful twist on the familiar story. Best read after Hawk of May to have the full understanding, I thoroughly enjoyed this tale.
Stars Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 5
Title: Kingdom of Summer
Author: Gillian Bradshaw
Series: Down the Long Wind #2
Also in this series: In Winter's Shadow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Narrator: Nicole Quinn
Published by: Sourcebooks
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 50 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦Audible
On the path toward greatness, even a hero makes mistakes.
Armed with his magical sword and otherworldly horse, Gwalchmai proves himself the most feared and faithful warrior of Arthur's noble followers. But while defending the kingdom, he commits a grave offense against the woman he loves, leading her to disappear from his life and haunt his memories.
With his trusted servant, Rhys, a commonsense peasant, Gwalchmai tries to find her in the Kingdom of Summer, where Arthur has sent him. But an unexpected and most malevolent force of evil and darkness is loose-that of his mother, the witch-queen Morgawse-and Gwalchmai finds that the secrets of his past may deny him peace...
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.