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Reviews for Prelude to Camelot

by Cynthia Breeding

 

 

 

Inspired glimpse into the early Arthurian days


In PRELUDE TO CAMELOT, Cynthia Breeding looks into the early days of the Arthurian kingdom initially through focused, precise vignettes of the well-known secondary characters from the days of Uther and Ygraine to a look into the youthful days of Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and Galahad, a man who will later become widely known as Lance for a valiant deed. Combining meticulous historical detail and an intimate knowledge of the medieval Arthurian source material with a brilliant imagination, Cynthia Breeding brings well-known characters to life in ways that reveal their personalities, loyalties and conflicts with a freshness that will appeal to Arthurian junkies as well as those less familiar with the medieval source material. The often troubling Uther-Ygraine story finally makes more sense in Cynthia Breeding's account as she allows the reader to see through Ygraine's perspective. Drawing on her experience in the romance genre, Cynthia Breeding sheds light on the female characters of Arthurian romance in ways many previous accounts have not. Each and every one has a unique personality and history. Even Elaine, a character who often appears rather dull to modern women readers now in PRELUDE TO CAMELOT leaps off the page with a new vibrancy. In Cynthia Breeding's narrative, Gwenhwyfar's early days show a woman who is strong, daring and not afraid to make her own way in a world where women's roles are often narrowly circumscribed. The wicked characters are delightfully wicked, revealing the personalities and motivations behind the characters whose later actions have familiar consequences.

In PRELUDE TO CAMELOT, Cynthia Breeding takes a step back from the romance genre while also incorporating certain aspects of the romance genre, such as her treatment of the female characters, to give her narrative a flavor that will appeal to women readers looking for a richer glimpse into the Arthurian world. As the women characters become more fleshed out with their own individuality, so do the men characters and the alliances between characters. The youthful days of Arthur and Galahad, later called Lance, not only show their development as warriors but as two men with individual talents and self-knowledge.

In PRELUDE TO CAMELOT, Cynthia Breeding tells the story of the happier days of the Arthurian world, when optimism and hope prevail and yet she interweaves an ominous thread that gives the story more power and emotion. As readers who know what will come to pass both in the Arthurian story itself, and in Cynthia Breeding's particular story of Arthur, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot, Cynthia Breeding does an excellent job of framing this story to build up to a breathtaking conclusion.

As a lover of Arthurian fiction, this reader has tremendously enjoyed the past works by this author. PRELUDE TO CAMELOT, however, stands out as her best work to date in technical skill as well as imagination. Quite simply, this work is special and truly inspired. As the source material for the early days is more limited, the author incorporates more of her unique imaginative voice to the story and the characters. The vignette style works well with an effortless transition to a more linear narrative as the story unfolds. As she moves more from romance into the realm of fiction, this work exhibits an even more fine-tuned freedom and precision. In PRELUDE TO CAMELOT, Cynthia Breeding fans will discover that the author has truly found her niche --- and undoubtedly she will gain new fans with her latest Arthurian tale. Arthurian lovers new to this author are advised to start with this work, not so much because of Arthurian chronology, but because this work exhibits a new exciting direction in the author's vision. Brava!


Merri, Medieval Book Reviews

 

Night Owl Romance

Reviewed by: Amy C.

3.75 stars

This book begins with Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and Lancelot as children and follows them through adolescence into young adulthood. I was quite intrigued by Ms. Breeding’s take on the Camelot legends. I thought Merlin or Myrddin have Morgan le Fey melded with him, always niggling at his ear quite an interesting take on old tales of Merlin having a bit of a ‘thing’ for Morgan le Fey. I’ve read several Arthur tales and I always have a soft spot for ones which take a traditional medieval approach, and for that Ms. Breeding’s blending of historical and fey was very well done.

 

 

RT Rating: 4 Stars

Category: HISTORICAL

Setting: 480 A.D. - 500 A.D England

As the title implies, this is a look at the Arthurian legend when the principals involved are quite young and Uther Pendragon yet lives. Fans of the legends of King Arthur should enjoy the interesting twists.

Summary: Uther Pendragon, the King of Kernow, desires Ygraine, the wife of one of his vassals. With the help of his magician, Myrddin, he has her and so begets Arthur. As the young Arthur grows, unaware of who his father really is, he makes friends and enemies and is taught and guided by Myrddin.

His main enemy is his half-sister Morgana, while his friends include Bedwyr, the older brother of Gwenhwyfar. He experiences his first kill in battle, marriage, the sorrow of love lost, first thoughts of the round table, the realization that Gwenhwyfar has grown into a spirited woman and the final revelation of his true heritage. (HIGHLAND PRESS, May, 224 pp., $11.99) HOT

—Susan Mobley, Romantic Times
 


 

Rating: 4 Cups


Gwenhwyfar is not the modest maiden favored by society. She is feisty, opinionated, and wants more out of life than the average woman of her time.


Arthur is destined to be a great king. He is handsome, strong willed and determined, and very suited to his destiny. Everyone knows the story of King Arthur and his Round Table. This story tells the reader about the early life of Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and the others, setting the scene for the well known tale.


This is a very enjoyable tale. I always loved the stories of Camelot, but the author has really brought the characters and all of their strengths and weaknesses to life here. Arthur, Gwen, and the others have become real people that the reader can understand. The plots moves quickly and I was quickly absorbed in the story. Fans of Camelot will love this tale as will any reader of historical romance.


Maura, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

 



This entry is to reflect on Cynthia Breeding's entry into the childhood of Arthur of Camelot. In truth, a fascinating entry, with the author spinning the threads of the very complex web of Arthurania with a deft hand at the wheel. If literary license had been taken, then one can forgive the author for doing so as the story became clear and easy to read with these (possible) adjustments. [Just how many permutations of Morgan(a) Le Fey can there be? But I digress.]

Cynthia Breeding's PRELUDE TO CAMELOT is a lovely and fascinating read, a book worthy of being shelved with my Arthurania fiction and non-fiction. Additionally, I believe that it will be needful reading for the author's upcoming Berkey title, CAMELOT'S DESTINY. Whether or not the two books are linked, beyond the obvious, I do not know, not having read the Berkley book, but I believe that PRELUDE TO CAMELOT is a worthy read. Recommended.

Four and One Half Mystique Moons. (Outstanding)

Brenda Thatcher, Co-Owner Mystique Books
 

 

 


Copyright 2008 Leanne Burroughs