by Alice Borchardt
The Dragon Queen
Del Ray, October, 2001.
Hardcover, 480 pages.
With the plethora of fantasy retellings of the Camelot legend -- some good, some bad and some indifferent -- one might think that the theme couldn't possibly be rewritten in another interesting way. Enter Alice Borchardt, author of Night of the Wolf, The Silver Wolf and The Wolf King, and the sister of bestselling novelist Anne Rice. Borchardt has been making a name for herself, and this newest series is sure to cement her reputation as a top-notch fantasy author with formidable writing skills. The Dragon Queen is the first book of a trilogy which focuses on the life of Queen Guinevere. But this Guinevere is no passive beauty. She is the daughter of a mighty pagan warrior queen, and she has the potential to wield great power and magic. Spirited away as a baby to save her from the evil wizard Merlin, Guinevere is raised by a powerful Druid, Dugald, Maeniel, a shape-shifting wolf/man and a pagan woman of good family who is rescued by the three from pirates. Guinevere will be tested by means both practical and fantastic in order for her to stake claim to her destiny to be Queen of the Dragons, the wife of the noble King Arthur and to defeat those who would stop her from pursuing her path.
From the moment little Guinevere is dumped into a wolves' den as a tiny toddler, she shows grace and courage. A complex and intriguing character, Guinevere is not one to be trifled with. Some readers will be disheartened by the casting of Merlin and Igraine as evil sorcerers who would do anything to prevent Guinevere from marrying the courageous Prince Arthur. But the re-casting of Merlin as the Machiavellian advisor who tries to control young Arthur's destiny provides some excellent plot opportunities, of which Borchardt takes full advantage. Her writing is lyrical and engrossing; she has created a magical backdrop peopled with unusual and compelling characters which should appeal both to fantasy and romance readers alike.
--Claire E. White
The Dragon Queen is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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