An imaginative retelling of the Arthurian saga that casts Sir Gawain as a druid under the tutelage of Merlin.
There are innumerable versions of the story of King Arthur, his Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail. This one, however, features some unusual twists. In addition to the usually boisterous and garrulous Gawain being reserved to the point of melancholy, Arthur is a sometimes-irrational zealot who distrusts Merlin and, after being cuckolded by Guinevere and Lancelot, focuses solely on attaining the Grail, neglecting the maintenance of Camelot in the process. Lancelot, the greatest knight in the world, is also one of Arthur’s brothers, a creature of magic created by the Dark Druid Morganna for the purpose of destroying the Grail and unleashing an unholy evil upon the world. The story begins when Gawain, badly injured in a fight with Lancelot in an attempt to claim the Grail for Camelot, stumbles upon the castle of the druid Rhiannon. With Gawain’s memory gone and his wounds in dire need of care, Rhiannon takes him to the mysterious Terran Stone, a work of magic created by the Far Druids. As he touches the lights emitted by the Stone, Gawain pieces together his memories through a series of flashbacks. The episodic nature of the narrative is occasionally disconcerting, though it creates a dreamlike atmosphere that suits the story well. The prose is sharp, and, aside from Lancelot’s excessively French accent, the dialogue rings true, with a formality that seldom becomes stilted. Most intriguing is the interplay between the old ways of the Druids and the rise of Christianity, with Gawain serving as the fulcrum that unites the two worlds. By highlighting the influence of the Druids and allowing the two faiths to coexist, the author creates a harmonious mixture that offers intriguing possibilities for future tales.
A worthy reinterpretation of the Grail legend and solid addition to the pantheon of Gawain stories.