Reviews for Fate of Camelot
by Cynthia Breeding
The innovative blending of history and
fiction makes this story feel like it truly could have occurred. Ms.
Breeding has a knack for creating stories where the line between
real and imagined seems to disappear…Fate of Camelot is packed with
adventures, passion, unerring optimism and the mystical.
So strong is Cynthia Breeding’s writing
that you forget the lore we know by rote and follow her into these
tales so vivid in their world-building, romance, sensuality and
magic. Highly recommended for lovers of ancient history and Grail
This is an extremely complex story…I enjoyed the thread linking
Paganism and Christianity. While the legend of Camelot is familiar,
Ms. Breeding takes you beyond.
~Coffee Time Romances
RT Rating: 3 Stars
Setting: 6th Century Britain and Western Europe
This is a well-researched, unique take on the Arthurian legend.
Camelot enthusiasts will enjoy the strong Lancelot storyline, which
focuses on Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar's romance and the search for the
Summary: King Arthur receives a mortal wound, so Gwenhwyfar
accompanies her husband to the isle of Avalon to assist in his
healing. But Avalon is surrounded by the faeries' territory, which
makes it difficult for Gwenhwyfar to return home.
Camelot is threatened in Arthur's absence. Young knights go on a
quest to find the Holy Grail in hope of restoring peace to the land.
Great rewards require great sacrifice. Will the price be too high
for Lancelot to rescue his beloved? And will peace ever be restored
in Camelot? (Highland Press, Jul., 256 pp., $12.49) HOT
—Keitha Hart, Romantic Times
A treat for medieval Arthurian junkies!
Cynthia Breeding's FATE OF CAMELOT focuses on the later days of
Camelot: the Grail Quest and King Arthur's healing at Avalon.
Cynthia Breeding reshapes the medieval Arthurian texts by returning
to the medieval texts themselves, history and modern scholarship.
Using these as a springboard for her imaginative vision of the last
days, Cynthia Breeding presents a vision of the more mysterious
aspects of the Arthurian legends as she incorporates both the pagan
and Christian elements. If a reader wants a romanticized and
simplified Hollywood version of Camelot, readers should turn
elsewhere than the tales of Cynthia Breeding. On the other hand,
FATE OF CAMELOT will appeal to Arthurian junkies, especially those
versed in the medieval Arthurian literary traditions. FATE OF
CAMELOT is closer to the term roman arthurien than the modern
romance tradition. Cynthia Breeding incorporates the magical
paranormal into FATE OF CAMELOT and yet her details are so grounded
in the medieval tradition, both of Arthurian romance as well as the
chronicle tradition (medieval historical writings), as seen in
Geoffrey of Monmouth etc, giving her story both a historical and
FATE OF CAMELOT opens with Arthur's trip to Avalon. As his queen and
a woman devoted to the realm of Camelot, Gwenhwyfar accompanies
Arthur, choosing to stand by his side despite the risks to herself
and her love for Lancelot. Once on Avalon, she may never be able to
see Lancelot once Arthur is healed and returns to Camelot. Time on
Avalon is not in direct proportion to the years outside so that one
day in Avalon encompasses more time in the history of Camelot.
Furthermore, Avalon is surrounded by the ever-shifting Land of
Faerie, a realm that Morgan le Fey and Medraut (Mordred) use to
their own ends. Lifelike visions of Lancelot trouble her, reminding
her of the deep love she has for her champion knight. When
Gwenhwyfar attempts to pass through the Land of Faerie, Cernunnos,
god of the Wild Hunt, captures Gwenhwyfar, intending to keep her as
his consort. Enraged at her abduction, Lancelot plans to get her
back but Morgan Le Fey once more schemes against them. Will he be
able to save her?
Meanwhile, back in the realm of Camelot, Galahad and Peredur seek
the mysterious Grail, the one thing that might bring healing to the
kingdom and the land. FATE of CAMELOT expands upon some of the less
developed threads in the medieval texts, giving readers the
opportunity to revisit lesser known characters with stories and
details that fill in the gaps. Readers will recognize the concept of
the Fisher King, Pelles, and the Grail Maiden. The brilliance of
Cynthia Breeding's writing in FATE OF CAMELOT truly shines in her
handling of the Grail Quest. By shifting the placement of the Quest
within the Arthurian time line, the quest makes sense. In Thomas
Malory's medieval version, the quest seems out of place and even as
a distraction from the kingdom which eventually leads to the
downfall of Camelot. In Cynthia Breeding's version, the Quest occurs
within the context of healing, both individual and political.
Cynthia Breeding's portrait of Galahad is one of the finest moments
in this novel. Like Malory, she softens the highly misogynist tone
found in the French Vulgate cycle in La Queste del Saint Graal, a
text so obsessively focused on the concept of chastity that scholars
assume it was written by a cleric. Like Malory, Cynthia Breeding
focuses on the relationship of Galahad to his father Lancelot.
Cynthia Breeding explores this relationship even more deeply by
taking readers into the family relationships, an element that uses
the modern romance tradition to shed light on the medieval
traditions. Cynthia Breeding does not gloss over the misogyny of the
Old French version but rather she presents readers with a context
that makes Galahad a more fully developed character.
In FATE OF CAMELOT, Cynthia Breeding develops the Arthur-Lancelot-
Gwenhwyfar relationship so well developed in her book CAMELOT'S
DESTINY. In many Arthurian tales, Guinevere is a rather flat
character. Cynthia Breeding gives her a depth of character as the
reader sees both her love for Lancelot and her devotion to the realm
as its queen. The reader feels the pull she experiences between both
men. In addition, the reader feels more of the deep friendship
between Arthur and Lancelot seen in Malory's Arthurian tales. In
this area, Cynthia Breeding is more faithful to the medieval
Arthurian tradition than a glamorized Hollywood version. She does
not gloss over the difficulties of the Gwenhwyfar's role as queen
and as woman but rather develops them to give the reader a vision of
a woman who lives her role as queen and lover with all that she is.
In her narrative style, Cynthia Breeding pays homage to the medieval
texts with a style characterized by dialogue and seemingly episodic
(but not unrelated) as stories unfold together and yet different
elements come together chronologically and thematically. In many
ways, I felt like I was reading a medieval story itself and in
style, I find it close to Malory himself... but a Malory who is not
a man but a woman, with a woman's insights (oh how feminist medieval
scholars all craved to hear a woman telling this story!). FATE OF
CAMELOT combines both the Christian and pagan elements in proper
proportion to create a tale that does not avoid the French cleric
author's vilification of women but rather speaks back to it by
incorporating it within the whole context. Some modern readers might
be thrown by her narrative structure just because it is so authentic
to the period but for me, it was part and parcel of the brilliance
of this book.
More personal details:
My enjoyment of Cynthia Breeding's FATE OF CAMELOT was heavily
influenced by my previous reading history. I spent 10 years in
graduate school studying Medieval literature exclusively (in
addition to literary theory/criticism). My specialty and planned
dissertation topic was Arthurian romance (Sir Thomas Malory and an
unpublished French Arthurian manuscript). I do not believe a reader
has to have this reading background to enjoy this story but I do
think that readers versed in the the medieval traditions will
discover a special delight in the subtle nuances of this book,
appreciating the author's impeccable attention to the source
material and the fictional imagination she adds. Unlike her previous
romances, FATE OF CAMELOT was published by a small press. While this
book may not appeal to the mass market of romance readers (the
market for her previous books), I feel like the move to a smaller
press has allowed her more freedom to develop her authentic vision
of Arthurian romance. If you are an Arthurian junkie like me, FATE
OF CAMELOT marks Cynthia Breeding as an author to watch with
increasing interest. It seems to me as if this book marks a
transition of the author from writing for a modern romance audience
to more of a fiction/fantasy/Arthurian audience.
Merri, Merrimon Reviews