Title: GUINEVERE TRILOGY
Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Publisher: Silver Quill Publishing
Genre: Middle Grade / Teen / Young YA
GUINEVERE: ON THE EVE OF LEGEND
Princess Guinevere dreaded her upcoming thirteenth birthday. It signaled the beginning of her official role as the Lady of her father’s castle.
No more adventures in the forest with Cedwyn. No more explorations outside the castle walls. No more excitement. No more danger. No more fun.
Cedwyn—her companion for as long as she remembered—viewed her circumstances differently.
A Medieval coming-of-age story relevant today.
GUINEVERE: AT THE DAWN OF LEGEND
Ancient Stones. Mystical Stones. Autumnal Equinox.
Down upon a wide plain the yellow orb shines strong.
Racing side by side, the two laughingly ride.
A mist descends. The laughing stops.
A dangerous Medieval tale of two friends. Of a loyalty not often seen.
GUINEVERE: THE LEGEND
Fiercely loyal, Cedwyn always rushes to Guinevere’s defense. Stubborn to a fault. Always there for her. A future Knight? His one and only hope. A hero? Not what Cedwyn strove for, but it sought him.
Guinevere rarely thinks with her head. Just the opposite. Thinking with one’s heart: a recipe for trouble. And trouble finds Guinevere, all too often. Stubborn, she refuses to abandon those depending upon her. Even when ordered by her father, the king.
And so these two—both on the edge of Legend—barrel forth in this deadly dangerous and riveting Arthurian adventure.
Amazon → https://amzn.to/30jhehD
I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
The characters in this coming of age story are ones that most people are familiar with but this is about Guinevere before she marries Arthur and after Arthur became king.
In Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, it is obvious that she is stubborn and doesn’t listen to authority. Everyone knows this and it’s mostly tolerated but her father and Merlyn keep warning her that she’s going to have to grow up because she will be queen one day. On her thirteenth birthday, she finds out that she’ll be queen sooner rather than later because her father has promised her hand to King Arthur. I can understand why she is upset when they tell her this, but it was the custom back then so she shouldn’t have been too surprised.
Book one is mostly a fun read, and Guinevere even gets to meet a unicorn! I liked the relationship that Guinevere has with Cedwyn. It’s a close relationship that continues throughout the books.
After the first book is a short story titled Guardian of a Princess about Seren Brenin, Arthur’s warhorse who became Guinevere’s horse and guardian after he was injured in a battle. The injury is described in enough detail that I cringed and cried, and I wonder about younger middle grade readers reading it.
In Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, she is 15 but not married because they are at war. She and Cedwyn continue to make questionable decisions and end up putting several children in danger and possibly causing the deaths of some monks. This book has a lot of action and although Guinevere and Cedwyn want things to stay the same, they are realizing that war has changed their lives forever.
The last book, Guinevere: The Legend, is as much about Cedwyn as it is about Guinevere. He’s such a brave young man and takes watching over the children very seriously. It’s full of action, children living in horrible conditions, and has a touch of magic. The trilogy has a good ending but, of course, it’s just the beginning of Arthur and Guinevere’s story.
At the end of the second and third books is more about places and things that were mentioned in the books. It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research and some of that is shared. I learned quite a bit and young readers will enjoy the information as much as I did, I’m sure. There is also a helpful glossary at the end of each book.
At the end of the trilogy, King Arthur’s legend is shared. This I knew but it goes well with the trilogy and it’s worth sharing with those who may not be as familiar with King Arthur. This is definitely a trilogy worth reading for young adults or even old adults like me.
About the Author
Cheryl Carpinello taught high school English for 25 years. During that time, she worked with numerous students who didn’t like to read for a variety of reasons. However, she discovered that even the most reluctant readers became engaged in the classroom and in reading when she introduced units on King Arthur and the works of ancient world writers. Upon retiring, she set out to write fast-paced, action-filled stories in these setting to encourage young readers to read more. When not writing, you can find her reading, spending time with family, and traveling.
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend (1)
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (2)
Guinevere: The Legend (3)
Guinevere Trilogy ebook only
The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)
Sons of the Sphinx
Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales 1
Grandma/Grandpa’s Tales 2
WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:
Reader’s Favorite 5-Star: A Gripping Tale.
Guinevere: The Legend is the concluding entry in the Guinevere trilogy by Cheryl Carpinello, a compelling Arthurian tale with strong characters and a story that explores the themes of friendship and loyalty against the backdrop of a society rocked by a crisis. The little children have been kidnapped, and Cedwyn is with them. Guinevere has made a vow to rescue Cedwyn and she leaves home without telling her father, an act that fills her with guilt. But she doesn’t know her bravery might put Cedwyn in harm’s way. She is just fifteen. And eleven-year-old Cedwyn trusts her absolutely, considering her as his queen. He is certain that she’s coming for him and the children. Can she save them from the renegades who hold the children captive? Traveling across the dark waters to the land beyond, Gaul, is perilous. In spite of the grim tales she’s heard from the old wizard Merlyn, will she continue?
This is a beautifully written story with fascinating characters, set in medieval England, and featuring characters of legend like the legendary King Arthur and Merlyn. In this novel, the author deftly develops a tale of adventure that revolves around Guinevere as a young girl and her loyalty to those she loves. The reader encounters her at the very start of the story, poised and on the go, determined to save her friend. Cedwyn is a richly developed young character as well and I enjoyed the way the author develops his friendship and devotion to the protagonist. The writing is filled with strong imagery, including elements of the setting like the rugged landscapes. The author’s unique ability to unveil the strong emotions of the characters and to keep the story realistic is a great addition to the strengths of the novel. The medieval era is reflected in the unique style of conversation and in the beliefs of the characters. Guinevere: The Legend is a gripping tale that keeps the reader turning the pages until the very last one…Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend
Guinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.
She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the nine-year-old was short.
She stamped her foot on the ground, annoyed at being interrupted. “Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”
“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are damp. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His voice betrayed his hurt at her tone.
Guinevere knew her anger wasn’t with Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. The bottom of her green ankle-length tunic, also damp with the morning dew, was starting to make her ankles itch. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days.
Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth, but he was too late.
Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”
Cedwyn nodded, not wanting to make any further noise.
Her eyes wandered across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mother was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.
“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”
“You better not let your mother hear you use that word. Anyway, I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere said.
Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”
She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference between boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”
Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously. “But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”
“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”
“Of course I am! Otherwise, what would happen if the day before I didn’t get a rabbit? This way there are more chances to get one. Now, let’s go. I’m sure I saw the grass moving up ahead, and I don’t think it was the wind.” She didn’t mention to him that she needed lots of luck.
Cedwyn obediently followed her, mumbling to himself. “We’re still running out of time.”
They hadn’t gone far when he thought of something else. “Guin’ver?”
She turned, her long brown braid whipping around. “Shh! You will scare the rabbits away!”
“But you also promised to teach me how to hunt with a bow and arrow once you are thirteen.”
“Yes, but if you don’t stop your chatter, I won’t. Do you understand?”
Cedwyn nodded. A slight upturning of his mouth betrayed his satisfaction at her promise.
“Then let’s go.”
He followed, a smile highlighting his chubby cheeks. He then smacked into Guinevere who had abruptly stopped.
A hand clamped down over his mouth followed by an angry “Shh!”
Cedwyn moved quietly up to her side, his nine-year-old frame coming up to her shoulders. When she looked him, her brown eyes sparkled with excitement in the midmorning light. Her lips formed the word “Look.” His blue eyes followed her out-stretched arm.
There, just beneath the pine trees where the wild grasses grew– movement. He stared at the spot. Then the tall green stalks bent again, betraying the presence of something beneath.
“How can you tell if it’s really a rabbit?” he whispered.
“See how the stalks move forward a bit and then part?”
“Well, the forward movement of the stalks is the rabbit testing out the goodness of the food. And then where the grasses part—that is—when the rabbit stops and starts feeding,” Guinevere said, her pride in her knowledge showing. “Hand me an arrow.” She held out her hand as Cedwyn pulled an arrow from the small leather quiver on his back.
Very carefully, her heart pounding, Guinevere nocked the arrow and steadily drew the bowstring back. Taking a deep breath to steady her arms and calm her heart, she let the arrow loose. She watched the spin of the feathers as the arrow sped to its target like a hawk diving after its prey.
Suddenly a horrendous cry filled the air. Guinevere and Cedwyn jumped into each other’s arms. They crouched on the ground and covered their ears as the shrill cry continued to make their ears ring.
“Wh…what is that?” Cedwyn whispered.
Guinevere shook her head in reply.
And then, a different sound—of something crashing through the grasses and scrub thickets. They inched their way up to peek above the grass. There—crashing and charging around the thickets—the biggest wild boar they’d ever seen.
Cedwyn looked at Guinevere. “Ain’t that your arrow sticking in its side?”
She nodded slowly, in shock that she’d hit anything. For a few moments, they watched as the boar ran first in one direction and then another in what appeared to be a crazed pattern. But Guinevere recognized the pattern: the wounded boar was searching for its hunters .
“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand. “We have to get out of here now!”
“Why?” Then he had his answer. The boar roared in anger. The ground trembled under their feet as the boar spotted them and barreled straight for them. It had found the culprits responsible for the arrow in its side.
“Run!” Guinevere said, no longer quiet.
Cedwyn needed no further urging. He took off with Guinevere close behind him. The thunderous crashing of the boar through the grasses and scrub brush vibrated through every part of their bodies.
Guinevere chanced a look behind her and realized that the boar was gaining on them. She glanced around. Off to the right was a smaller pine tree that Cedwyn could climb to get up out of danger. He was the slowest, but they were running faster than ever. Guinevere reached for Cedwyn’s shoulder, heard a thud, and her hand found only air. He cried out as he hit the ground. The exposed tree root had claimed its first victim of the day.
She reached down to help him up, but his foot was stuck solid. Seeing the boar grow in size as it got closer, Guinevere’s brain frantically looked for a way to save Cedwyn and herself. If she made enough noise, she could get the boar to follow her into the forest. That would give Cedwyn time to get loose and up the tree.
“I’ll lead the boar away. Get yourself free and then head for that tree.”
Cedwyn looked in the direction Guinevere pointed.
“Get up in it as far as you can go and hang on until I let you know it’s safe to come down. All right?”
Cedwyn nodded, his eyes wide with fear.
“Stay down and be still ‘til you hear from me. Then be quick!”
He nodded again, searching behind them for sight of the boar.
Guinevere jumped and shouted, “Halloo boar! Here I am. Come and get me!” She waved her arms, diverting the boar’s attention to her. Once spotted, she ran. The pounding of its hooves told her the boar was following and, if possible, coming even faster. “Cedwyn! Now!” Guinevere shouted as she dashed for the safety of the trees.
Behind her, the boar charged, pain fueling its rage. Thundering through the grasses and scrub brush, it focused only on reaching the creature responsible for its pain. Behind them, Cedwyn frantically dug and pulled on the root to free his foot.
“Guin’ver! I can’t get loose!”
“You have to! Try harder! Pull harder!”
Cedwyn dug and kicked his foot until he felt it start to loosen. Finally pulling free, he stood up. He could see the boar charging after Guinevere. He ran for the pine tree. Grabbing branches, he pulled himself up until he was too high for the boar to reach.
“I’m in the tree!” he yelled.
Not turning around, Guinevere raised a hand and continued running.
Once in the forest, she slowed to let her eyes adjust to the darkness, and as she waited, the sounds of the boar grew louder. Finally, she could just make out a faint trail. She ran down the path, trying to find some place to hide so that the boar would run past her.
Up ahead was a pine tree with low hanging branches. Using her last bit of speed, she reached the tree and jumped. Her hands grasped a branch; pine needles pricked her skin. She pulled herself up, struggling to breathe, her arms aching from the effort.
Before she could get a good hold, the whole tree shook. Pine needles fell, sticking in her hair and on her clothes. Screaming, she fought to hold on, ignoring the bark cutting into her skin. At least if the boar gets me, I won’t have my thirteenth Birth Day. She didn’t know which would be worse: the boar or turning thirteen.
The boar charged the tree again. Her grip loosened. She screamed louder, suddenly sure that turning thirteen wouldn’t be as bad as facing the angry boar.
“Guin’ver! I’m coming!” Cedwyn’s only answer was another scream from the forest. He loosened his arms and slid down the tree, unmindful of the scratches from the bark.
Guinevere’s right arm flailed above her, blindly searching for a higher branch. Her fingertips brushed the bottom of one sliding through the sap. She stretched up, grasping the branch firmly with one hand. Trying not to think of what would happen if she fell, she let go with her other hand. For just a moment she felt herself slipping down, but her fingers found the branch, and she held on. The boar hit the tree again. It shook hard enough to nearly topple over, and Guinevere screamed once more.
Then she heard another more horrible scream. Its piercing sound traveled up the trunk into her body. Thinking it was Cedwyn, she looked down and saw a rock hit the boar’s side with the arrow. Its angry cry filled the air one last time before the wounded animal ran off deep into the forest.
Guinevere leaned against the rough pine trying to breathe.
“Is it gone? Can you see it?” Cedwyn asked, peeking out from behind a bush.
Guinevere searched the path that the boar had taken. There was no sign of it, and she couldn’t hear it anymore either.
“It’s gone. We’re safe. C’mon out.”
As Cedwyn made his way to her, she climbed down the tree and collasped on the ground, her legs too wobbly to hold her. Both of them were a mess. Guinevere proceeded to brush some of the dirt, pine needles, and small twigs off her clothing. Strands of hair had escaped from her braid, and she tried to tuck them back as she pulled out the pine needles.
Cedwyn plopped beside her, brushing twigs and pine needles off his clothes. Guinevere reached over and rubbed dirt off his cheek. They looked at each other and burst out laughing from relief at still being alive.
“I..thought..we..were…dead!” Cedwyn said between laughs.
“You should have felt that tree shake! I was sure I was the boar’s next meal!” Guinevere paused before adding, “Thank you for coming to my rescue.”
“You saved me too. That’s what friends are for.”
“Yes. I’m only glad that we’re still alive to be friends,” she said, squeezing his hand. “Let’s go. We’re really late now, and we don’t even have a rabbit as a peace offering.”
He nodded. “We’re gonna be in trouble.” Then, as if someone had heard them, upon the wind came a faint but clear voice.
“Lady Guinevere! Cedwyn!”
Grabbing hands, the two ran, fearful of what awaited them at the castle.
Suddenly Cedwyn stopped and pulled Guinevere backwards, almost knocking her down. Grinning, he pointed under a bush at the side of the path. Laughter spilled out from her as she saw their trap in the thicket where they had set it earlier that morning. It was no longer empty. Inside crouched their peace offering: a rabbit! They stuffed the rabbit inside the small leather satchel Guinevere carried; their good humor restored until the wind carried that voice again, this time louder and angrier.
“Lady Guinevere! Cedwyn!