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Crescent Blues Book ViewsThree moon iconSonnet Books (Paperback), ISBN: 0671020412
"Over the years, as I devoured every Arthurian title I could find, fact as well as fiction, one thing became clear to me: Guinevere has taken a bum rap." So writes Kim Headlee in the author's notes to Dawnflight. After studying the ancient cultures of the British Isles, Headlee elected to make her Guinevere a product of the matriarchal and warring Pictish tribes. By giving her heroine power, courage and wisdom, Headlee does for Guinevere what Marion Zimmer Bradley did for Morgaine and Viviane in The Mists of Avalon -- Headlee changes Guinevere from a victim of fate to a woman in control of her own destiny. 

Book: Kim Headlee, DawnflightAs the young chieftainess of a Caledonian clan, Gyanhumara, as she's called here, enjoys the power to choose her own mate. She agrees to marry Urien, the heir of Clan Moray, because uniting their clans will bring prosperity and peace to both. But from the start Gyan's heart tells her she's making a mistake. And when she travels to the port of Caer Lugubalion with her fiancé and meets the Roman Duke of Brydein, Arthur the Pendragon, she is instantly smitten. So is he, especially when she beats him at swordplay. Trained to fight as well as rule, few women in the world can match Gyan's ability with a sword.

As Gyan pursues her heart's desires -- the chance to fight in a real battle, and to be rid of Urien -- she needs every bit of her wits and skill. But her greatest test comes when Irish raiders capture her and use her as bait to lure both the man she loves and the fiancé she has come to despise into a lethal trap. 

As much a historical novel as a romance, Gyan's tale does not end with the closing page of Dawnflight. All signs point to at least one sequel, possibly more. I can't wait to see what Headlee does with the Lancelot story. The teenaged Lancelot -- or Angusel, as he is called -- we meet in Dawnflight displays no more than brotherly admiration for the older Gyan. It's hard to believe that this young man could come between Arthur and Gyan, but I'm sure that in Headlee's capable hands, anything is possible. 

Dawnflight's Guinevere proves to be an inspiration. The book will delight fans of the legend who've wondered why Arthur's wife always has to be such a darn wimp. 

Lauren Rabb 

Lauren Rabb is the author of Walking Through Time

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