Review of The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike
This is captivating without being melodramatic, romantic without any overdone elements, and wonderfully steeped in legend.
This is Pike's second book in The Lost Queen trilogy. Set in sixth century Scotland, The Forgotten Kingdom traces the story of Languoreth, a strong, imprisoned queen; her twin brother Lailoken (who eventually becomes the legendary character of Merlin); and the complicating factors of bloodthirsty vengeance and war between Languoreth's husband and his allies and Lailoken's master and his own allies.
Family is pitted against family; those who worship the old gods clash against those who embrace Christianity; and political alliances falter and reform in unexpected patterns. The details of everyday life are fantastic, and some characters wield magic and hold mysterious powers. There's appealing feminism--there are cultures of Wisdom Keepers and islands of strong women training to use their special sight. Plus, the man who will become King Arthur (Artur) makes a dreamy appearance and assists in saving the day.
This is epic. It's captivating without being melodramatic, romantic without any overdone elements, and wonderfully steeped in legend. I loved Pike's first novel in this series, The Lost Queen, and this book reminded me of The Mists of Avalon and Outlander.
I was at the beginning of the second book in a different series (A Court of Thorns and Roses) and was on the fence about continuing that one. Diving into this book cemented my feelings that the other was just too dramaaaaaatic for my taste. However, this book is right down my alley in tone, character development, and detail.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book--or any historical fiction/fantasy series you love?
The Lost Queen is currently in development for a television series, which is great news, unless it delays Pike's next book, in which case I am going on the record with mixed feelings.