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Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: June 7, 2004
ISBN: 0007171080
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre:   Fantasy [6th Century AD, Various Arthurian locations]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

Camelot's Shadow
By Sarah Zettel

     If you, like this reviewer, love the mediaeval dreamworld of Mallory as your setting for Arthurian tales rather then a grittier Dark Ages milieu then this ought to please. Rhian is the daughter of a minor baron and dreams of starting her own household with a handsome suitor, but her father won't allow her to marry any of them. The reason is that she is already promised - but to a dark sorcerer who saved her mother's life when she was expecting her and near death. It seems the only course of action is to run to the nearest nunnery with her jewels as dowry, but en route she is intercepted by Sir Gawain. Her hitherto quiet life is never to be the same again, what with marauding Saxons, a green man, assorted witches, and a lot of ravens. Suddenly her tomboy ways are going to come in very useful.

      Several Arthurian tales are woven into this enjoyable story, as well as noble knights, dastardly villains, and plenty of magic. But the real historical world has not been neglected either - the sorcerer Euberacon has come from Byzantium where Justinian and Theodora rule which gives it a date in the 6th century AD. The Saxons are in here too, and for once are shown as hairy villains rather than the downtrodden saints they become in books about 1066. The plot can easily be imagined but there is so much to enjoy in here - lyrical Tennysonesque descriptions of Camelot, Christianity versus pagan ways and people casting spells all over the place. I do hope that Sarah Zettel has more books in this vein on the way.