courtney wilson

Once Upon A Bookshelf: The Betrayal of Arthur

betrayal-of-arthur-1999-coverThe Story

From the back of the book:

A prophecy of a golden age, a magic sword and a chosen one… This is the legend of King Arthur… or is it?

From the manuscripts of a twelfth-century English cleric to a New York bestseller, tales of King Arthur and his court permeate our world. But where did the stories start and how much is true? Were Guenevere and Lancelot traitors? Was Merlin a wise man or magician? And was King Arthur a great and glorious king or a tragic man doomed from conception?

Sara Douglass, a leading writer of fantasy, pierces the heart of this legend. A scholar and academic in medieval history, she explores the fascination, manipulation and permutations of this captivating myth that has intrigued the western world for centuries.

The Response

I will admit that I was worried about this book. It’s been sitting on the TBR for the past four years, and I was torn about whether I really wanted to read it. See, I have a love for the Arthurian mythos (well, for most of it, there are certain parts of the mythos *cough*Lancelot*cough* that I loath, but for the most part I love the legends)… and I was worried that this would make me loath all things Arthurian. But it was written by Sara Douglass, whose writing I adore, so it couldn’t lead me too astray into something I really hated, right?

So it was with much misgivings that I went into this book, and while it opened my eyes up to the true character of Arthur, it was certainly extremely informative and (surprisingly) enjoyable. HIGHLY enjoyable.

The Bottom Line

Highly recommended to people who are interested in learning more about Arthurian legends than just the story itself. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print, but it’s definitely worth the hunt for in second hand sources. I, personally, have drastically marked up my copy of this book and will be keeping it for a very long time to look back at when necessary.


©2011 Courtney Wilson / Once Upon A Bookshelf. To read the full review on the Once Upon A Bookshelf website please click on this link.

Once Upon A Bookshelf: The Twisted Citadel

the-twisted-citadel-us-editionIn the second book in the Darkglass Mountain series, Sara Douglass does not disappoint. It was as exciting and as consuming as all of her other books. It was as I had expected, though – I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for months, and had purposely left off reading it until I had a whole weekend free where I knew I wouldn’t be interrupted. The Twisted Citadel takes up right after where The Serpent Bride finishes. I don’t even know where to begin to start talking about this book – it’s like a soap opera and there is just so much going on that it’s hard to talk about the plot while trying to keep this post making sense. So, I think I will avoid the plot. Needless to say, you need to read The Serpent Bride before this (and it would probably help to read The Axis Trilogy, The Wayfarer Redemption, Threshold and Beyond the Hanging Wall as well).

Douglass’ writing style drew me in right from the beginning, again, and kept me wanting to see what would happen next. Am really wanting to go back and reread some of her other books now, but there are just so many unread books that are calling to me next. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series, but maybe I’ll have to make my way through The Wayfarer Redemption again within the next year.


©2008 Courtney Wilson / Once Upon A Bookshelf. To read the full review on the Once Upon A Bookshelf website please click on this link. 

Once Upon A Bookshelf: Druids Sword

druids-sword-us-editionDruid’s Sword is the fourth and last book in The Troy Game series by Sara Douglass. The series is loosely based on the Labyrinth from Greek Mythology, where the Minotaur who was kept in the center of the Labyrinth was killed by Ariadne’s lover, Theseus. At the beginning of the series, Genvissa (one of Ariadne’s descendants) attempted creating a new Labyrinth in what is now London, England, with Brutus (a descendant from Troy). The Labyrinth never got finished, and the main characters in the series are cursed to come back life after life until the Labyrinth is finally completed.

You know, I don’t think I can even explain more as to what’s been happening in this series so far, because there is just SO MUCH that has been going on. So many characters that have had so many different roles in the series. It doesn’t come across as confusing when you read it, but I don’t think I could possibly give it any justice just summarising it.

All in all, I’m quite happy with how this series turned out, and am even happier that I don’t have to wait another year to get the next installment (ah! closure is a wonderful thing!). And I swear that the story isn’t that confusing if you’ve read the series from the beginning.


©2006 Courtney Wilson / Once Upon A Bookshelf. To read the full review on the Once Upon A Bookshelf website please click on this link.