Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit (a Novel of King Arthur)

Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit (a Novel of King Arthur)

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The bestselling author of the Valdemar novels pens a classic tale about King Arthur's legendary queen.

Gwenhwyfar moves in a world where gods walk among their pagan worshipers, where nebulous visions warn of future perils, and where there are two paths for a woman: the path of the Blessing or the rarer path of the Warrior. Gwenhwyfar chooses the latter, giving up the power that she is born into. Yet the daughter of a King is never truly free to follow her own calling. Acting as the 'son' her father never had, when called upon to serve another purpose by the Ladies of the Well, she bows to circumstances to become Arthur's queen-only to find herself facing temptation and treachery, intrigue and betrayal, but also love and redemption..

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400143818
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 11/02/2009
Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is the author or coauthor of close to 100 books, including the Halfblood Chronicles, the Dragon Jousters series, and the bestselling novels of Valdemar.

Anne Flosnik is an accomplished, multi-award-winning British actress, with lead credits for stage, television, commercials, industrials, voice-overs, and audiobooks. She has garnered three AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for Little Bee by Chris Cleave, and four Audie Award nominations.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The way that Lackey reweaves old tales to create something new and powerful, with a compelling and sympathetic heroine, is this retelling's strength." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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Gwenhwyfar 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Gwenhwyfar is the daughter of King Lleeudd, the nominal vassal to King Arthur, who is struggling to unite England while fighting off the Saxon incursion. Her mother follows the old ways while Arthur straddles the line between the pagan past and the followers of Christ. Gwenhwyfar has a younger sister Gwenhwyfach who hates her goes off with Morgana to learn the magic of the Old ways. The good daughter is heavily imbued with power and it is thought she would go study at the school of the Ladies of the Well. However Gwen is told she is touched by another Goddess Epora who is worshipped by warriors as the horse goddess. Gwen turns her back on magic and with her father's consent, becomes a warrior. Over time she becomes the head of her father's army respected by the men as their best warrior. For years she has done what makes her happy but when Arthur's second wife dies without an heir, Gwen is the chosen one as his next spouse. Arthur's bastard son kidnaps her and the leader of the Otherworld with the assistance of a priest helps her escape. She must return to a husband who she does not love in a land on the brink of war with her sister Gwenhwyfach amongst the enemy. Mercedes Lackey has written her version of King Arthur who is an old man married to a young woman in order to begat his heir. He is far from the hero of legend especially with his treatment of his wives. Gwenhwyfar is a courageous hardened warrior who plans military strategy for her father in a world where Christ is displacing the old ways, she tries to treat both camps fairly although she possesses some of the magic of the Sisters. This is a brilliant feminist twist to the Arthurian saga Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mercedes Lackey is one of my favorite authors, but I bought this book with trepidation, since I often find historical "adaptations" rather boring. This is a unique look at the Arthurian legend from the perspective of a young and somewhat unconventional woman. I loved it!
Rottiedog More than 1 year ago
Gwenhwyfar has been written about in many ways -- but had never seen this take. Good characterization and well-written. The underlying plots helped to concrete the story
mandyrv80 More than 1 year ago
In the Afterward the author writes that she stumbled across The Three Guieveres when she is researching welsh legends and decides to make a story of it. The idea of there being three Guieneveres just souns so intresting to me and the author made good use of the idea telling a great story of jealousy, love, and treachory.
Shamrock More than 1 year ago
A truly excellent read that puts a spin on an old tale. The story is rich in characters and as always once started I just couldn't put it down. This is a must read!!
Alliebadger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Disappointing...I'm a big Mercedes Lackey fan, but she tends to not start her plot until a while in. The relevant plot of this book didn't really start until about 300/400 pages in. I enjoyed how it was written, but I didn't enjoy the fact that most of the book didn't culminate together.
richardsonmichelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great take on an old classic!
Bodagirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Following in the footsteps of Bradley, Lackey has written the Arthurian legends from Gwenhwyfar's point of view. She takes her story from some bits of the Welsh tradition and crafts a story that, while good, doesn't have the same life as early Valdemar and Elemental Masters books. I couldn't really connect with Gwen who seemed to be sometimes overly male and at others a girl longing to break free of her warrior path.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the title suggests, this is Yet Another retelling of the Arthurian legend, from Guinevere's point of view. As has become customary, this begins with her tomboy-ish girlhood in Wales. Surprisingly for Lackey, she is neither abused nor misunderstood, although she has a younger sister who hates her. The first third is rather generic, but--unusually for Lackey--this improves as it goes along. The middle section is the most original, with Gwen as a warrior and scout for her father's warband. When she is chosen to wed Arthur, the story returns to the familiar tale, albeit with a few welcome twists.Whether this is worth reading depends on how devoted one is to all things Arthurian. This is not likely to become anyone's definitive version, but it's better than it first appears.
onthequest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't quite put my finger on it, but I found myself waiting for something to happen. There are lots of battle scenes, there is romance, there is conspiracy, but... something intangible is lacking. There is magic, but most of it only takes place in the background. She hints that the main character has a Great Destiny, but nothing quite comes to fruition. The key components of the Arthurian legend are present, but only briefly and in passing. And the bad guys get thwarted repeatedly, but it almost seems to be an afterthought. I would still recommend it, but not wholeheartedly, and only to dedicated fantasy fans.
ericnguyen09 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"I am Gwenhwyfar...Queen perhaps, war chief certainly. Not 'Lady.'"Every fantasy writer, says Mercedes Lackey in the Afterword, comes to the question of England. That is, the tale of King Arthur. From Sir Thomas Malory to T.H. White, to even Lackey's mentor Marion Zimmer Bradley, undoubtedly, the legend of King Arthur has inspired many since the myth gain popularity in literature. And in the hands of Mercedes Lackey, the tale is told with a feminist twist. Indeed, the legend of King Arthur here is told from Gwenhwyfar's side, who debunks the heroic Arthur myth to tell a story of societal expectations, duty, and the meaning of freedom.Divided into three parts, the novel traces Gwenhwyfar's life from her childhood to her adulthood. The first part, titled "Princess," shows her training to become an unconventional princess and girl. Preferring weapons over craft work, Gwenhwyfar quickly excels in becoming a warrior. Eventually, Gwenhwyfar shuns the feminine arts to work for her father, a low king under Arthur. While the battle scenes are not as flashy as it could be, Lackey's skill is and has always been in her development of human drama, with of course a splash of magic. In the first part, through Gwen's eyes we see betrayl, rivalry, and keen critiques of traditions. Such themes are explored in depth in the second part, named "Warrior," as Lackey further develops her characters--especially the independent and thoughtful title character--and explore the meanings of freedom.What struck unevenly, however, was the third and final section titled "Queen," where we finally see Gwenhwyfar's rise into power as King Arthur's wife. While here is where she drives her themes and critiques home, and of course bring readers to a climatic battle scene of sisterly rivalry, this is nearly lost in a cacophonous departure of character. In the third part, we are introduced to love interests and the story nearly becomes like her Luna series, The Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, only dark and not as humorous or magical. The strong Gwenhwyfar becomes weak in the face of her love interest, resulting in bodice-ripping scenes, again a departure from what Lackey had spent 2/3 of the novel building.While ultimately, the ending is satisfying, the third leg of story weakens it greatly. While 2/3 of the novel felt well-written and developed, the last felt rushed, under-developed, and inconsistent. Overall, fans will like this, but will compare it with dissatisfaction to her other works. Newcomers to Lackey should start somewhere else. The book as a whole does not showcase Lackey's intelligence, social acuity, and writing ability.
thesnowtigress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting take on a frequently overdone legend. I liked that this book focused on Gwen mostly and Arthur was a shadow for most of the book. It was a really fun read.
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Khizmet More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the "different" direction Mercedes Lackey took with this very old and often re-written story. A must read for all ML readers and actually, I would like to see a sequal to this one.
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Tiger_bright More than 1 year ago
This book is an interesting perspective on the King Arthur saga, but moves rather slowly and lacks any real excitement.
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