Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review of Mayhawk Rising by Nicole Schlaudecker

Mayhawk Rising Review

Mayhawk Rising is a glorious Arthurian tale by a talented young author, Nicole Schlaudecker.  Actually, calling this glorious adventure a story about Arthur is deceiving. It chronicles the early life of Gawain, the man who would become the king’s loyal knight.  Schlaudecker has recreated the authentic Celtic world and has drawn a host of vivid characters that lend authenticity and humanity to this lushly drawn narrative.

The story opens with Gawain’s birth. His mother Margaise, the wife of the brave but harsh King Lot, wants nothing more than her husband’s love, but it is the one thing she cannot win no matter what she does.  Even after bearing him a healthy son, Margaise still can’t find genuine favor with her war-like husband. So desperate is she for Lot’s love that she succumbs to the trickery of her sister Morgan, a reputed witch.  When told that her infant son might bring about his father’s downfall, she conspires in the death of her own child, but the baby is rescued by the mysterious Merlin, the advisor of her late step-father, King Uther Pendragon. When Lot learns of the attempt on the child’s life, he places the boy under the care of his kinsman and advisor Eloil and his steadfast wife Liusaidh.  Schlaudecker weaves a spell that draws in the reader. We despise Margaise for her coldness to her son but pity her unrequited love for Lot.  We hate Lot’s treatment of his wife but admire his bravery and love of his children.

And it is here where the story becomes magical. When the young Arthur unwittingly pulls the sword from the stone and is declared king, the tale becomes one of battle and adventure.  Lot, Gawain’s father, does not support the new king, and the story moves from Gawain’s personal tale to one depicting the rise of a king. Schlaudecker has created characters that fascinate us, and her depiction of the ancient Celtic world also draws us in.  We are in the rugged countryside as Lot’s men face the Saxons.  We are in the heat of battle when the young King Arthur’s men go against Lot and his followers.  Let’s hope Nicole Schlaudecker continues with her series and tells her unique rendering of the tale of Arthur and his men.

You can find this book at Amazon.

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