Lancelot: The “historical fiction of the year” for me (so far)

Book: Lancelot

Author: Giles Kristian

Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction, Romance

My rating: 3.94  / 5

book review: Lancelot by Giles Kristian

image credit: Goodreads

Excerpt from Goodreads’ synopsis

Enemies stalk the fringes of Britain. And Uther Pendragon is dying. Into this fractured and uncertain world the boy is cast, a refugee from fire, murder and betrayal.

Yet he is gifted, and under the watchful eyes of Merlin and the Lady Nimue he will hone his talents… He will meet Guinevere, a wild, proud and beautiful girl, herself outcast because of her gift. And he will be dazzled by Arthur, a warrior who carries the hopes of a people like fire in the dark…

 

 

Before reading “Lancelot”, I didn’t know about “Arthurian Legend”.  

But my recent spurt of interest in Great Britain’s history (my husband blame it on my-still-reeling-under-colonial-hangover) made me pick this book.

 

And “Lancelot” is the best historical fiction/mythological retelling that I’ve read till now in 2018 or in the last one year.

 

I love big books but I don’t like books that stretch. In “Lancelot”, Giles Kristian struck the balance with aplomb.

 

The plot described the whole character arc of Lancelot

  • as a  kid on the refuge with his family,
  • witnessing his whole kin getting butchered,
  • ending up as an orphan apprentice warrior under the guardianship of Lady Nimue,
  • falling in love and getting hurt in the process and finally,
  • finding his salvation under King Arthur.

 

One of my pet peeves with modern-day feminist historical retelling is

The women protagonists sound far ahead of their times. Ex.-Circe”.

 

Book review: Circe

 

 

 

It’s wonderful to read powerful women taking charge, claiming sexual pleasure and all that jazz.

 

But logically – was it permissible for a woman (royal/poor nonetheless) from medieval era to walk, talk and act like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Lena Dunham of today?

 

I know it’s kind of wish fulfillment. Still…

 

Giles Kristian could’ve taken the liberty and spun the love story between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere that of a barrier-bashing, societal rank-thrashing union of lovers.

 

But he showed – it was how it was.

 

Guinevere was married to King Arthur (latter, going by the book, came off as a valiant douchebag).

 

Lancelot was the swordsman-cum-chief-warrior-cum-companion under King Arthur’s service.

In one line-

he was overworked, underpaid and had loins- on- fire for  boss’s wife (his ex-sweetheart) but made no sexual advancement (with consent)- till Arthur rumored to be killed.

 

In short, Lancelot is the man we, ladies, desire (in the age of Tinder or wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am) but don’t deserve.

 

Pros-

 

  • Giles Kristian writes poignant poetic words/phrases that will make you ponder for a moment and push you to fly through the pages.

 

  • The POV. After reading so many books on the POV of a woman, it was a nice break and I was invested in the journey of Lancelot- from an orphan to one of the most formidable warriors in medieval Britain.
  • The lifestyle of folks from different economic strata, the military strategies and most importantly- how Arthur possessed the mighty Excalibur sword was vivid to thumb through.

 

  • The Ending is one of the best I’ve ever read. It was so heart-tugging that I had to shed a few tears for the loss of Lancelot and Guinevere.  

 

I re-read the climax for about 10 times to wallow in the heartache a l’il longer.

 

book review: Lancelot by Giles Kristian

image credit: Free Vectors by www.Vecteezy.com

 

Cons:

 

  • Guinevere’s character-arc could’ve been “meatier” than being the “object of desire” of two men.

 

  • Same could’ve been said about King Arthur. He was just a benevolent, brave sourpuss.

 

So-

Q 1. Should you read “Lancelot”?

Ans. Only if you enjoy long books and appreciate a good cry just like a good laugh.

 

Q 2. Should the book deserve more brouhaha amidst the readers?

Ans. Absofuckinglutely.

 

 

Do you like historical fiction? Which one is your favorite book?

 

 ‘I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Lancelot: The “historical fiction of the year” for me (so far)

  1. Becky Ginther says:

    Ooh I’m adding this to my to-read list right now! A few years ago I was really into Arthurian legend and read a ton, but I haven’t picked anything on that topic up in awhile!

  2. Ace says:

    I like historical fiction, but I also like things that represent what really happened. I don’t have a favorite book, because “reading more” is on my todo list. Any recommendations?

    • Jheelam says:

      You may read “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. The backdrop is Nazi invasion of France during WW II and how it changed the lives of two sisters. Highly recommended.

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