Pendragons Heir By Suzannah Rowntree


If you enjoy the King Arthur legend, you will love this book! Packed with romance, battle scenes, intrigue, and time-travel, this story keeps a reader glued to the page.
Beautiful writing, lovable hero and heroine, despicable villains, and some themes that make you think. Highly recommended. 9780994233905 Pendragon's Heir begins with a fascinating premise: what if King Arthur had a daughter, who was spirited away to be raised in another time in order to protect her from the malice of Morgan le Fay? Growing up unaware of her true identity, Blanche Pendragon discovers the truth on her eighteenth birthday—and at first is horrified at the idea of leaving her pleasant life in Victorian England for the dangers and discomforts of Arthur's Briton. But soon even her Victorian refuge is no longer safe, and Blanche is swept into a new world, in which she is assigned to guard the Holy Grail and must learn to take her place at the head of a kingdom. Yet there may be even darker forces than Morgan plotting to stop her...and with the honor of Queen Guinevere in question, doubts about Blanche's true heritage swirl which could plunge Camelot into disaster.

The first time I read this book, I literally couldn't put it down—I even made an effort to hang into my Kindle with one hand while cooking a meal. It's a marvelous novel, written with a richness and grace that does justice to the grandeur of the old legends, and weaving Blanche's story seamlessly into the fabric of the well-known events leading to the sundering of the Round Table fellowship and the passing of Arthur. It made me laugh, and it brought tears to my eyes (one beautifully poignant scene at the end of the second-last chapter in particular). What I loved most about it is how the stories and characters are brought alive. Just a little while before I'd read some of Howard Pyle's Arthurian stories, and found them disappointingly dry and repetitive, with seemingly endless jousts and unhorsings described in the same phrases again and again. In Pendragon's Heir you feel the thrill of pounding hooves, the shock of splintering lances and a man crashing to the ground, and feel a lively interest in the fate of the characters involved. In this novel the characters of legend have living and breathing personalities, loves, hates and fears.

Chief among these is one Perceval of Wales, Blanchefleur's true knight. Perceval is irresistible—at once a mischievous, merry-hearted boy and a gallant knight, who grows to a fuller manhood over the course of the novel through blunders, sorrows and adventures. His developing relationship with Blanche is wonderfully satisfying, with fine chemistry and a growing affection and respect between them—not always an easy path, but free of the petty bickerings and misunderstandings that often make a romance subplot irritating. Of the supporting characters, Gareth and Heilyn were some of my favorites, and the whole cast is memorable: Gawain, Nerys, Sir Ector, Branwen, Naciens...and of course, the King and Queen. Even Morgan is sneakily entertaining—it's always an achievement to have a villain or villainess who is interesting enough that you don't merely want to turn the page and get away from them.

Another aspect that I found unexpectedly satisfying is the thread of allegory winding through it, more naturally than such themes usually are—not so obvious that you're beat over the head with it, nor so subtle that you need it pointed out and explained. I don't pretend to fully understand the Grail legend; there seems to me to be a flavor of Catholicism in the idea of the relics themselves. But the concept of Sarras the heavenly city as a model for the earthly city; and the arrival of the long-looked for Grail Knight to point the citizens of Logres to the service of the highest High King—thought not in the way they expected—as a Christ-like figure, form graceful and thought-provoking parallels to Christianity.

In case you hadn't guessed by this time, Pendgragon's Heir is a favorite, and I'd highly recommend it.

Full disclosure: I beta-read a near-final draft of this novel shortly before its publication. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own; I was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 9780994233905 I don't know how to describe how wonderful Pendragon's Heir by Suzannah Rowntree is except to say it was one of the best books I read in 2015, and the characters of Blanche and Sir Perceval have now wormed their way into my group of all time favourite literary characters *hugs them tightly*! Suzannah did an amazing job of retelling the famous King Arthur legend from the eyes of one of his knights and a young maiden called Blanche. One of my favourite things about the story was the Augustinian themes running throughout, and the scenes where we were in Logres, or facing with our heroine the evil Mordred, and the courage and chivalry of Perceval the knight.

It’s a story packed brimming with adventure, courage, the battle between good and evil, darkness and light and lots of wonderful, epic moments of chivalry, friendship, exciting duals, and thrilling time-travel! It’s a story filled with the essence of faith and grace and Christian virtue and godly morals, but without being sugar-sticky with cliché Evangelical lines and tropes that invade most Christian/genre fiction; the story has a very mature and engaging style, with all the passion and heart of a best-selling novel – but Suzannah doesn’t compromise on what she believes, or on themes of Christian morality and the lines between right and wrong. I appreciated that while the story was dark and deep at some points and dealt with some serious moral themes, they are written tastefully and with delicacy. The writing is rich and serious and reads just a little bit like a glorious classic, but with all the gripping characterisation of a modern novel.

The ending was gut-wrenching and beautiful, it made me sit at the edge of my seat and sob! This is a beautiful, wonderful novel; ah, I just can't praise it enough! It was so good, guys, so good. What?! Why haven't you gone and picked it up already? Go forth and do so!

“There was carpet under Blanchefleur’s feet and the scent of clean and delicate things in her nostrils—perfume, babies, soap, and tea. Homesickness hit her like a clenched fist; this was worse than memory.”― Suzannah Rowntree, Pendragon's Heir

“It was like listening to the universe in motion. Planets spinning on their appointed courses, the lives of men intersecting and parting, the unimaginable harmony of the human body itself in hierarchy and order, were all implied in the song, but something greater as well: the genius of the composer, which must surely approach the miraculous. Perceval closed his eyes and was lost in the weaving music.” ― Suzannah Rowntree, Pendragon's Heir 9780994233905 My childhood and youth were full of dreams of King Arthur. All of the Arthurian books I read (from Malory & Tennyson to Pyle & Sutcliff) had the dual effect on me of keen disappointment and an increased desire to accumulate more Arthuriana in the attempt to find something that would satisfy the Arthur-shaped hole in my soul. I had a sense of something beyond and within the cycle of stories that I was always trying to get at. I recognised this when I read C.S. Lewis' Surprised By Joy, in which he describes his lifelong pursuit of something (beauty/joy/longing) beyond -- something that kept cropping up in his most profound experiences of music, art, poetry and the created world, and which finally led him to Christ. (It's not my purpose to explain this here. Go read Lewis.)

Fast forward years (actually, decades). I hadn't read anything properly Arthurian in ages. A friend whose writing I admired mentioned that she was working on an Arthurian novel. I was happy when she asked me to help critique it, but I'll be honest with you - my expectations were not that high. A first novel, right?

So here's my review -- of a friend's first novel, yes, but I'm prefacing it by telling you that I am terribly hard to please when it comes to the Pendragon and his knights, my childhood heroes.

What did I expect from this novel? I certainly didn't expect to be swept back to my youthful dreams, to re-dream them in the joyous light of an imagination drenched in the colours of the middle ages. Suzannah Rowntree's Logres (the Pendragon's kingdom) is by turns stern, merciful, playful, perilous, and ultimately shaped by Christ, whose Light it was that shone in all that was good about the medievals.

Our story begins at a comfortable country house in England, 1900. Blanche Pendragon isn't your typical privileged young Victorian Englishwoman, though. For one, her eccentric guardian makes her parse Latin, study herbalism, translate princess manuals from Medieval French and take care of the poor. For another, her governess hasn't aged in decades. When Blanche receives a mysterious gift for her 18th birthday - her long-dead mother's ring, engraved with the words Guinevera, casta vera (Guinevere, chaste and true) - she is swept into an adventure in which knights, assassins, giants, kings and elves may be her truest friends or deadliest enemies. Torn between the life she knows, and a new life in a terrifying world which claims her as its own, will Blanche find the courage to do what is right? And with a kingdom at stake, how can she even be sure what is right?

I enjoyed this novel more thoroughly and deeply than I've enjoyed a novel in years. From first to last, it is an epic adventure - bright as an illuminated manuscript, youthful as childhood dreams, and weighted with Lewis' deep longing for heaven.

I gave it 5 stars and I would give it more if there were more stars to give it. Does that mean it is perfect? No. If you have absolutely no knowledge of the Grail Legends, the middle section of the book may confuse you as it sticks closer to the source material, and I'd recommend reading Roger Lancelyn Green's re-telling as a primer. Because you need to know this stuff, anyway, ok? The way the story is structured means that one strong antagonist is missing for a large chunk of the action, which is a shame, because the antagonist is a potent one and Rowntree is confident enough to risk giving said antagonist some really, really good speeches (remember Dostoyevsky's dilemma in The Brothers Karamazov?). Also, it's probably not always clear to the uninitiated that this idealised vision of Arthurian Britain is a kind of medieval chainmailpunk - the 500s AD were nothing like this, and the writers of the High Middle Ages who invented it were not striving for historical versimilitude.

There are so many things I loved about this novel: the heroine, who exhibits a sympathetic mixture of weakness and strength as she is pulled between worlds and worldviews (England/modernity, Logres/medievalism) while fighting for her life against all manner of terrifying foes; the many characters from the myths who are richly fleshed-out in ways I've never seen before (Elaine?!); the immersive writing about horses, jousts, combat; the perfectly-chosen epigraphs that head each chapter (no one has done this so well since Mary Stewart); the humour and the pathos, which never clash; the romance (and oh, I am SUCH a mean, mean person when it comes to critiquing romantic writing); the riotously beautiful images of Sarras which will never leave my mind.

Rowntree's brilliance is a combination of humility and staggering daring: she wants to be an anonymous medieval craftsman, satisfied to add layers of detail, like a stonemason carving the impish grin on the 500th gargoyle of a massive cathedral. Seeing her job as an artist in this profoundly counter-cultural way, she has attempted and accomplished an astonishingly fearless first novel -- pounding with hoof-beats, bright with the sound of struck swords. Thank you for taking me back to Logres.

9780994233905 Do you know what the mark of a really great book is? It’s when you literally squeal as you are reading because it is so exciting... but it’s not just that. It’s when you have that great feeling of sheer bliss because of the happy ending when you put it down... but not just that either. Even more than the experience of reading it, the mark of a great book is when you put it back on the shelf and go on with your life, only to realize that the book molded you into a different person; a person stronger in your faith and more resolute to serve God, no matter what the cost. That, my friends, is a great book.

And now, I have the privilege of introducing you to one such book.

Read the rest of my review here: 9780994233905

The Good:
-King Arthur legends are some of my favorites, and have been since I was a little chidlet. Pendragon's Heir returns to these legends to retell them- though the specific stories aren't always immediately obvious if you haven't read the legends recently, so it was really fun to read and then realize Oh, hey! I know this story! Except . . . sometimes it wasn't so fun because you'd remember that not all the King Arthur legends end happily.
-Perceval is a wonderful character. Noble, bold, chivalrous, always doing and never content to stand by and do nothing. He has his faults . . . but in general? I love him; he was undoubtedly my favorite character in the story.
-And speaking of him, Perceval and Blanche are sweet and utterly shippable from the very first moment when they meet. Even when Blanche is being a complete and utter goose about whether or not she loves him. Rrargh. But the sweet moments outweigh the annoying ones.
-The story has a very unique voice and feel. Though it was just published this year, it has the flavor and feel of a story from some age past- sometimes of the King Arthur legends it's based upon, sometimes of a book from sometime in the 20th century where it's partially set, and sometimes of a time that can't quite be named and might be both no time and all time.
-There are very strong Christian themes and messages in this book- particularly the reminder that there can be no compromise, that a battle which you cannot win without abandoning that which you hold true is a battle not always worth winning.
-Time travel. Which is possibly a spoiler, but honestly, if you can't guess it from the blurb/summary thing . . . Anyway, time-travel is a thing and it's done very, very well.

The Sort-of-Bad:
-Blanche was not always easy to like. And I'm not saying that all main characters should be completely likable all the time. I'm not saying they can't make mistakes and such. But Blanche and I did not always get along very well.
-Pacing is . . . interesting? I'm pretty sure it's a byproduct of that almost-timeless voice that I liked, but the book sometimes drags a bit even when I feel like I should be interested in what's going on.
-Not actually a bad thing, but for those who get this book on an eReader . . . it's not a short book, ok? Just be warned, because I thought it was shorter than it actually was.

Overall, Pendragon's Heir was a unique retelling of the King Arthur legends, told in a wonderful, near-timeless voice. Though not without flaws, I would certainly recommend it to anyone who loves or loved the Arthurian legends.
9780994233905 This re-telling couldn't be anything BUT five stars. ^_^ 9780994233905 Pendragon's Heir is a retelling of the story of Camelot, and therefore an exploration of the elusive, tragically costly, yet beautiful vision of building a city of light upon earth. Our young protagonist, Blanche, has been raised in Edwardian England. However, she discovers very early in the story that she is both the subject of prophecy and the daughter and heir of King Arthur. Or at least, she probably is--gossip about her mother’s chastity has sown doubt in some minds. Initially resistant to the idea of giving up her pleasant life in order to re-enter the medieval world of errant knights and rampaging villains, Blanche gradually matures into her role of heiress to a struggling kingdom. Meanwhile, her relationship with the impetuous, gallant (and admiring) Sir Percival also grows.

I soon found myself caring about the protagonists and enjoying all of the characters. Did I mention that there are several of the fey folk in this story? They are delightfully handled, and I am a sucker for well-portrayed fey folk. The relationships between characters are nuanced and often unexpected, and I was impressed by the action sequences and the author’s ability to write so many tense, believable, non-repetitive scenes of combat (although I admit that I know absolutely nothing about how to fight, and might not notice if the blows and techniques were unrealistic). In addition, the story explores significant themes. It is satisfying overall and demonstrates the degree to which the author has immersed herself in medieval and Arthurian imagery. I recommend that you read it.

I do have a few quibbles. The pacing of the book is not perfect. Although both the beginning and end are taut and fast-paced, there was a section in the middle that felt a little too slow and episodic. I think this is because the main threads of the overall plot (and the relationships between the main characters) were allowed to sink out of sight while the characters gathered information and experienced minor adventures. The information and the adventures were needed for the overall story, but did not convey as much of a feeling of forward momentum. Some readers may disagree with this, and argue that I merely have a short attention span for knightly adventures.

I also find myself deeply struck by the problem of Simon Corbin, an articulate character who attempts to prevent Blanche from taking up her role as heir. In the language of a free-thinking Edwardian skeptic, he rejects belief in God as well as the idea that anyone owes a duty to a kingdom, a higher power, or a moral code. He argues for modern progress instead of feudal virtue. In a later scene, he challenges an idealistic knight with the argument that, just as even the “best” leaders sin, and just as good men use ignoble methods in war and conflict, it is delusional to believe that right can be defended without doing wrong. Ultimately, the conflict of the book could be said to be between these two positions: between those who wish to use only ethical means to create a kingdom patterned on visions of heaven (even though they know this struggle appears doomed), and those who wish to use any means necessary to create a kingdom according to their own ideas of what would be best.

On the one hand, I commend the author for creating Simon Corbin, because he is no straw man. It adds realism that our hero and heroine cannot best him in debate. However, I rather wonder if some readers (especially those who do not share the author’s beliefs) will not find Mr. Corbin’s arguments the more compelling (I once ran into this problem in a short story of my own: I tried to let both sides speak for themselves, and my liberal teacher thought that my story had made a much stronger case for liberal relativism than for conservative beliefs, because those were the arguments that resonated with her). Will such readers wonder if someone like Corbin might not have made a better ruler than a king who allows random knights to run around, walloping each other into an early grave, while the peasants do all the actual work? After all, Mr. Corbin is the only one who addresses “realistic” issues such as sanitation and the suffering of the poor.

The motivations of the good characters are harder to put forth in tidy, convincing arguments, and they rest more heavily on what might uncharitably be called mystical naivete. Here of course we see, in a nutshell, the challenge of a Christian author who speaks from her own perspective while trying to avoid heavy-handedly “proving” her own point, or pausing the narrative for a discussion of theology. If one speaks too often or too directly about God, one risks alienating non-Christian readers or of failing to remain in the role of novelist. If one approaches philosophical and religious themes more obliquely, one can have trouble providing a full, compelling picture of one’s beliefs.

I have been asking myself if Miss Rowtree should have handled her story any differently. It might have strengthened her tale if the good characters had defined Arthur’s kingdom more concretely, and, in particular, truly acknowledged the humanity and needs of the peasantry. I realize that this story is intended to fit into the tradition of the knightly tale, not that of a realistic novel, of course, but I wonder if Mr. Corbin should have been allowed to introduce the sufferings of the poor without having the protagonists also truly acknowledge this issue.

Such questions aside, I enjoyed reading this novel, and I enjoyed thinking about the questions it raised in my mind. Many thanks to Suzannah for the opportunity to do so! I loved (and still love) her characters, and I look forward to seeing what she writes next. 9780994233905 Magnificent. 9780994233905 A couple weeks ago I finished Pendragon’s Heir by Suzannah Rowntree, and wow—if you haven’t read this book, you should seriously think about it. It is legend and adventure with a splash of honest, unsentimental romance.

Synopsis: Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900’s England. It’s been years since she wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon’s Heir?

In the first place, I loved this book because I love a good adventure story, and that is what Suzannah Rowntree delivered. It’s one of those stories where you feel like you are on the cusp of a great adventure and you’ll never be the same after. This book took the old Arthurian legends I knew and stayed true to them, while at the same time keeping me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next.

The setting was fantastic. From 1900s England to Logres to the wilds of Arthurian England, I felt like I was there, and not once was I pulled out of the story by an out-of-place detail.

I loved the vividness of the characters. Perceval was my favorite by far. At first I was not sure whom I liked the best, but by the last third or so, it was without a doubt him. He was impetuous, yes, but he had a good heart, and was a realistic fellow that you loved despite his faults.

Blanche had a fantastic character arc, in my opinion. She started the book as a sympathetic character with some flaws, of course, but they were not glaring ones. Over the course of the book, you see her drop selfishness that you didn’t even know was there until you see the new Blanchefleur emerging from the old, and you watch her become a brave and considerate young woman.

Simon Corbin was really cool. I’ll leave it at that. If you don’t know why, then please, read the book.

As far as I can remember, there were only a couple sensitive things in the book; the first was the use of magic by the antagonists. This, frankly, did not bother me, since it was basically just following the legends, and it was definitely not portrayed as a good thing. The second was the storyline of Lancelot and Guinevere, and Guinevere’s faithfulness was questioned throughout a portion of the book. I feel that the author handled this very well, however, and brought it to a good conclusion.

I felt that the middle dragged some. Blanchefleur is in one place and Perceval is traveling old-legend-style about the countryside, jousting and coming to adventures. It was not a boring sort of dragging, but I did feel perhaps like the plot was not driving forward the way it did at the beginning and the end.

The end was incredible. It sucked me in and I was caught until I had finished the book. I have to say, Suzannah concluded the book in the best way I’ve ever seen these tales concluded, hands down, and for once I did not walk away from them downhearted. There is hope and rightness in the end, and that is as much as I dare say about it.

Altogether the book was very clean and tight and easy to read. I would recommend caution for younger readers due to the discussion of infidelity in the book.

Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It's been years since she wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon's Heir? Pendragons Heir

Free download ↠ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free é Suzannah Rowntree