King Arthur is one of Britain's greatest legends and stories have been told about him for more than a thousand years. From Merlin and the knights of the round table to dragons and ladies in the lake, it seems as if we have looked at this legend from every angle. So it was with subdued and at the same time excited curiosity that I looked forward to the new offerings from Giles Kristian.
Camelot is the companion novel to Lancelot, set ten years later. In a way it serves as an epilogue to the story of Arthur when the legacy and myth is starting to form. It is written from the point of view of Galahad, the son of Lancelot, the major loose end from the book Lancelot, in as much as readers want to know his fate.
Galahad is a novice monk living in a quiet monastery when he is drawn into the struggles against the Anglo-Saxon invaders. From such a sheltered life he develops into a skilful warrior, although the main fighting takes place at the end of the book. Mostly the story is a meandering stroll through Dark Ages Britain, with the descriptive scenes, scents and foodstuffs. Kristian's details are very well researched and this means that we are dropped in at the right time and place without feeling stilted. There is a lot of reminiscing and remembering the time spent with Galahad's father and the legendary leader Arthur as the characters go on a literal and figurative journey.
At times gritty, but mainly this is an almost poetic study of the aftermath of the King Arthur story. Colourful in description (especially for historical foodies!) this book is a pleasure to read. Recommended.
Also by Giles Kristian: