The Lost Queen, Signe Pike, Simon & Schuster Inc, 2018, 515 pp
My first book finished in 2019 is a wonder of romantic historical fiction set in sixth century Scotland. I first came to know of Signe Pike eight years ago when I read her lovely memoir Faery Tale, wherein she went on a journey to honor her recently deceased father as well as to determine whether or not fairies are real.
That endeavor led to her continued research on Celtic history and folklore. The Lost Queen is the first in a trilogy about a Queen lost to history. She includes new historical research into the origins of Merlin and King Arthur.
I have always loved books about the Arthurian legends and particularly about the clash between the old Celtic religion and Christianity as it was brought to the British Isles by the Romans. Here we have a new look at the roots of those legends and plenty of clashes!
In the ways of coincidence in my reading, I had recently read Julian by Gore Vidal which features a similar clash of Christianity with the Old Religion of Greece and the Middle East, defining the life of a short-lived Roman Emperor. In our time we are experiencing an ongoing clash between Islam and Christianity. All so fascinating to me.
Languoreth is the titular queen in this novel, though she is not yet a Queen. Here we learn of her early life as the daughter of a petty king under the High King Tutgual. The lands where these men rule are near the Firth of Clyde and today's Edinburgh.
Languoreth has a twin brother, Lailoken, who is being trained as a Wisdom Keeper or as we call them today, a Druid. Their bond is deep and Languoreth longs for the freedom he has compared to her destiny: to be married into some royal family so as to protect her family lands and ally her father with more power. Naturally she falls in love with a Celtic warrior but must marry a prince.
If you have read The Mists of Avalon you will feel right at home in The Lost Queen, even though it is set almost a century earlier. If you have read Outlander you are familiar with the blazing romances that can catch fire between adventurous individuals of older days.
Reading this book is to be swept into a romantic adventure filled with thrilling history. There is enough enchantment to make you wish you could have lived there and then.