“The Guinevere Deception” an intriguing read
Chelsea Mancilla, Guest Writer
“The Guinevere Deception” by Kiersten White, published in November 2019, captures my imagination in this revision of Arthurian legend. Guinevere is barely a woman, but in medieval times, she is old enough to be wed at 16 years old. However, Guinevere is not who she appears to be. She tells the story in the third person, and recounts how she has replaced the real Guinevere, after the princess unexpectedly dies; having been sent by Merlin. In the story Merlin has been banished from Camelot, and all magic is banned from the kingdom.
White breathes new life into the legend of Guinevere and Arthur. Guinevere is a realistic figure as she struggles to find purpose and balance her personal needs. She has given up her own identity to become Guinevere, a princess from a southern kingdom. On their wedding night, Guinevere refuses to tell Arthur her true name, believing that she must immerse herself in her new identity as Queen Guinevere. She misses her home in the forest with Merlin, but finds friendship in Camelot with her lady-in-waiting and Arthur. As the Queen of Camelot, Guinevere has many responsibilities, which interrupt her duties as Arthur’s protector. In addition, magic has been banned from Camelot and any witches and sorcerers banished from the city.
White produces captivating prose that energizes the imagination.
Phrasing, such as, “She longed to cling to his certainty, but his confidence flowed swiftly past her and out of her reach,” offers vibrant descriptions of Guinevere’s feelings and experiences.
White balances Guinevere’s naivety, with a strong sense of duty and faith, while also weaving in an air of mystery, produced by the dark forces seeking to destroy Arthur and Camelot.
When Guinevere is attacked by a boar, she assumes it is a witch that was recently banished from Camelot, but the reader has insight that Guinevere has not accessed yet. This style of writing holds the reader in suspense, asking questions like, “Who or what is the evil that wants to get rid of Guinevere?”
Another interesting factor in White’s novel is her pacing. The plot is an intricate mystery, which will have the reader asking questions along the way and making discoveries along with Guinevere. The Queen of Camelot believes that her enemy is a witch from Camelot and an enigmatic knight, only known as the Patchwork Knight, due to his unusual armor. While I will try not to give too much away, Guinevere must find clues while evading her dutiful lady-in-waiting and the people of Camelot. If her powers were ever discovered, she would not only be putting herself at risk of banishment, but ruin Arthur’s reputation, as well. The stakes are incredibly high, as the well-being of the king and kingdom are Guinevere’s responsibility.
“The Guinevere Deception” will provide an intriguing read, and I hope you will all add it to your “to be read list.” I personally recommend the audio version, narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden, which offers an extra bit of immersion for readers. Knowelden has a soothing voice and the amazing ability to change it to fit the character. I should also note that this is the first book in White’s series, “The Camelot Rising Trilogy.” Fans of this novel can look forward to more of the series, and perhaps other books by the same author.