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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Hawk of May - Gillian Bradshaw Gwalchmai ap Lot, the middle child of Morgawys and Lot, learns sorcery from his mother to make up for his short comings as a warrior. However, his mother's sorcery is seething with Darkness and Gwalchmai flees the Orcades, set on joining Arthur's warband. Before making it to Britain, he stays in Lugh's domain for what ends up being three years, acquiring the sword Caledvwlch and horse Ceincaled. Will Arthur accept him, knowing who his mother is?

I've read a fair bit of Arthurian fantasy over the years. Forget Lancelot and Guinevere, my favorites have always been the boys from Orkney, or Orcades, in this case. Gwalchmai, Gawain in most tales, is an interesting character, close to his younger brother Medraut and contemptuous of his older brother Agravain. His journey from outcast to young sorcerer to berserker warrior is well done, an interesting metamorphosis. He can feel his heartbreak when Medraut goes down the dark path, as well as when Arthur mistrusts him. This story takes place just after Arthur is crowned emperor so he's still uniting Britain, making it a nice change of pace since most stories have Camelot already established and Arthur more as scenery than a character.

One of the more interesting aspects of this book is that Bradshaw draws the story primarily from its Welsh and Celtic roots. Gwalchmai is linked to CuChulainn on several occasions.

I'd recommend this to any fan of Arthuriana with a few hours to kill and break from the usual Arthur trappings like Merlin, Lancelot, and Guinevere.