Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Page Count: 544
From the Jacket:
I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history…
In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.
Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.
The Lost Queen cast a spell on me from the start and I could not put it down. I’ve always been fascinated by Arthurian legends, specifically the stories about Merlin. What I did not realize, is that Merlin had a twin sister called Languoreth who has been all but lost to history. The cover blurb says, “Outlander meets Camelot”, which is what initially caught my attention, but Languoreth’s story is even more captivating than Claire’s.
The world building and careful attention to detail in The Lost Queen are rich and vibrant. Set against the backdrop of the Scottish countryside during the 6th century, the story opens when Languoreth and her brother Lialoken are ten, and have just lost their mother. Raised in the Old Way, Languoreth’s mother was a powerful healer and wisdom keeper and both she and her brother have been born with the gift. However, because her father is king, Languoreth is not allowed to pursue her own desires to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and must instead agree to a political marriage to ensure the survival of her kingdom. She feels trapped and resentful of her lot, but with Christianity on the rise, and the invasion of the Angles, there is war coming that will threaten their way of life and change everything.
There are so so so many things to love about this book. With a cast of unforgettable characters, it made me laugh, rage, and cry. It filled me with longing, and transported me to another time and place. Pike’s writing is gorgeous and hypnotic, and she resurrects a time period and way of life that was lost so long ago. With Langoureth and Lialoken, she captures the unbreakable bond that exists between siblings, and with Maelgwn, the breathtaking passion and helplessness of fated love. And perhaps most authentically and powerfully for me, with Languoureth and her children, she writes of the sacred beauty that is the bond between mother and child. Weaved in with these relationships, there is adventure and intrigue and incredible feats of bravery. Langoureth is an extraordinary heroine and I’m so grateful her story will continue in Pike’s magical hands.
At the end of the book, Pike includes a fascinating author’s note about her inspiration and the years she spent researching to make this portrayal as historically accurate as possible. The story she created is in and of itself incredible, but to know that it was based on real people made it larger than life for me. This is just the first of a trilogy and I can legitimately say that I have no idea how I will survive the wait for the next one. The Lost Queen is easily in my all time favorites, and I know I will revisit it time and again. Despite the fact that I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review (thank you so much to Touchstone and Edelweiss), I plan on buying my own physical copy to treasure and share. I highly encourage you to pick this one up, especially if you enjoy historical fiction and epic family sagas.