Read for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.
I must first confess that I picked this book up because the cover painting is Boreas, one of my two favorite J. W. Waterhouse paintings. That it then turned out to be an Arthurian tale sealed my desire to read it.
This book retells the Tristan and Isolde story, and is the first in a trilogy. Here, Isolde is the bastard daughter of Modred and Gwenefar, who betrayed her husband Arthur with his own son. The battle of Camlann is done and over, Arthur, Modred, Morgan, and Gwenefar are all dead, and Isolde has been married to Constantine, Arthur’s next heir, who has reigned as High King for a number of years, but has tragically died in battle.
Into this mix comes Marche (Mark), the King of Cornwall, and a number of other familiar characters. Isolde suspects Marche of murdering her husband, and this book is dedicated to her struggle to find the truth. Trystan appears as a prisoner, originally assumed to be Saxon, but who Isolde suspects of being more than that.
It’s definitely an interesting take on the Tristan and Isolde story, and I also really enjoyed a take on what happened after Arthur died, and what kind of struggles there were to maintain the kingdom he had united. This book more or less settles the main action of the Tristan and Isolde legend, so I’ll be interested to see what else is coming in the next two books of this series.