Sunday, February 04, 2007

First Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

Books Completed: 20
Completion Date: February 4, 2007
Publication Year: 1995
Pages: 281
Owned Prior to 2007

All the colorful characters and events of fabled Camelot come vividly together in this unique new account of the legendary King Arthur, Lancelot du Lac, and Guinevere, Lady of Leonesse. Here is a Lancelot never before revealed--a fearless drifter who sold his sword for money until he found something truly worth the battle. Here, too, is a different Guinevere, a warrior queen...and wise King Arthur Pendragon, who would go to any length in order to save his people. Lancelot was First Knight--until his love for Guinevere tested his loyalty for his king. Thrill as this chivalrous trio defends the Round Table from the muderous rogue Malagant in a fantastic rendition of an enduring tale, written with all the fire and passion of the period by Elizabeth Chadwick, winner of the Betty Trask Award for her first novel, The Wild Hunt.
Everyone has been telling me that I should read Elizabeth Chadwick, so when I spotted this at the second hand bookstore one day, I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I am big fan of Arthurian-type works, so I thought this might be interesting because I have never seen the movie before. I am glad that I know that the movie came first, not the book, because I am not sure if I would read Elizabeth Chadwick again based on this book.

It is so bad that I got tied up with school, my reviews are going to suffer a bit because so much time has gone by since I read the books. What I did not like about this book was how fast it moved. I mean, Guinevere comes to Camelot and the next thing you know, Camelot is crashing down. I know that it is going to happen, but it was so fast! The speed is explained, and I suppose that it works, but I found that Guinevere and Lancelot brought the kingdom down too quickly. Everything seems to happen in the space of like a month, there is no time to get over one thing before another thing happens.

I will say that this is one of the better portrayals of Guinvere that I have read. She is a very strong and vibrant character, not as constrained as she is in other novels that I have read about her. It's unfortunate that the time that I like Guinevere has to be a time when I was only slightly impressed with the book. Chadwick, or I suppose the screenwriter, does a very good job of portraying Guinevere as able to take care of herself and even her affair with Lancelot is explained in such a way that you do not feel total hatred for what she does. In other books, Guinevere gets a lot of the blame.

Overall, not the best Arthurian book I have ever read, but it has its good points. I might watch the movie, have to wait and see. I intend to try Chadwick again, just I will pick a book that she wrote without a movie as her guiding post.

Authors Gender:
Female: 19
Male: 1

This is the first time I have ever read this author.


  1. I have seen this book a few times and have wondered if it was any good. I did see the movie a few years ago but didn't realize the movie came first.

    I remember thinking the movie was OK, but then I like anything where I can stare at Richard Gere (in his younger days) for a few hours.

  2. Oh I hated that movie! We had gotten free passes and I still walked out of it. I guess I won't be picking up that book either :)

  3. 20 books so far! Awesome!


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