Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Review: Hawk of May

Title: Hawk of May
Author: Gillian Bradshaw
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pub Date: September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4070-6
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

From the Publisher:
Framed by historical realism, Gillian Bradshaw expertly weaves convincing magical elements into her fantastic tale of Gwalchmai, the Hawk of May. Son of the beautiful, infinitely evil sorceress Morgawse, nephew to King Arthur, Gwalchmai is forced to choose between his mother's path to Dark power and Arthur's empire of the Light.

Gwalchmai, more familiar to readers as Gawain, is known as one of the most respected warriors of King Arthur's reign and one of the greatest champions of all time. But Gwalchmai was not born a brilliant warrior. Showing no talent for fighting, his father, King Lot, favors his older brother. Desperate for a path in life, Gwalchmai turns to his sorceress mother and asks her to learn the dark magic. Scared, Gwalchmai continues lessons with his mother because he has no other choice-until he discovers his innocent, talented younger brother Medraut is following his example on the night of a human sacrifice.

Gwalchmai flees to his solitary place on the seaside. There, he encounters an otherworldly boat, which takes him to the god Lugh of the Longhand. Light and goodness, in the magical realm of Lugh, accepts him. Lugh gives Gwalchmai a precious magical sword, and entreats him to join Arthur's warband as a warrior of Light. But fulfilling Lugh's wishes is more difficult than expected, as the Darkness is very strong...

About the Author:
I was born in 1956 in Washington DC, second daughter of an English mother and an American father. I grew up in Washington, Chile, and Michigan. At the University of Michigan I did joint honors in English and Classics, and won the Hopwood Award for Fiction, the Bain-Swigett Prize for poetry in traditional form, and the Phillips Prize for Classical Greek. From U of M I went to Newnham College, Cambridge, in the UK, to read Classics. I sold my first novel while I was supposed to be revising for my final exams; revision suffered, but I still managed a 2-1. I liked Cambridge very much, so decided to stay on for another year while working on another novel. Then, like many another woman, I Met a Man. He was working on his PhD in Physics. The following year he had a position as a post-doc in Paris, and I discovered a pressing need to learn French. We've been married 28 years now, quite blissfully. We went from Paris to California, then back to Cambridge for a long time. We are currently based in Coventry and the University of Warwick. We have four children and one grandson (exceptional for beauty and intelligence, of course! Am I a doting granny? You better believe it!) We live in Coventry, have a garden and a dog, and go walking in the country a lot.

My review:
I love anything related to Britain and can't seem to read enough about the history of the area. I think, perhaps, that is one reason I am fascinated with the stories of King Arthur and I jumped at the chance when offered a copy of this book. The Hawk of May is the first book of a trilogy and was first published in 1981 and won the Hopwood Award for fiction and launched Bradshaw's career, and is now being republished.

I was captivated by the author's writing and her perspective of using a main character other than King Arthur to tell a story related to him. The book is stock full of adventure, magic, and struggles and leaves you feeling like you are one of King Arthur's retinue. It is a classic story of choice, choosing between a life of good or evil and the path Gwalchmai takes to decide his future. The book is fast paced and before I knew it, I was at the last page. I thoroughly enjoyed a new take on the King Arthur legends and I hope you will all check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment