Author: Giles Kristian
Reviewed By: Dean Asquith
My Rating: 5 out of 5 🏹
About The Author (From gileskristian.com):
Giles has led a varied life, to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops and at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena, and supporting such artists as The Spice Girls, Take That, Eric Clapton and U2. As a singer-songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit, he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man), Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York, where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel, RAVEN: Blood Eye.
Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired Giles to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling RAVEN Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In The Rise of Sigurd novels – God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year), Winter’s Fire, and Wings of the Storm – he returned to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship.
Britain is a land riven by anarchy, slaughter, famine, filth and darkness. Its armies are destroyed, its heroes dead, or missing. Arthur and Lancelot fell in the last great battle and Merlin has not been seen these past ten years. Now, the Saxons are gathering again, their warbands stalk the land, their king seeks dominion. As for the lords and kings of Britain, they look only to their own survival and will not unite as they once did under Arthur and his legendary sword Excalibur.
But in an isolated monastery in the marshes of Avalon, a novice of the order is preparing to take his vows when the life he has known is suddenly turned upside down in a welter of blood. Two strangers - the wild-spirited, Saxon-killing Iselle and the ageing warrior Gawain - will pluck the young man from the wreckage of his simple existence. Together, they will seek the last druid and the cauldron of a god. And the young man must come to terms with his legacy and fate as the son of the most celebrated yet most infamous of Arthur's warriors: Lancelot.
Following the stunning Lancelot was always going to be an incredibly hard task but it was one I knew Giles would succeed in. I was right. Giles not only delivers a novel not only level in quality with its predecessor but he manages to blow it out of the water. That’s my opinion anyway.
I was left emotionally distressed at the end of Lancelot (Careful, spoilers coming). I truly felt like I was Galahad himself watching Lancelot from that hill. Watching him rise and fall time and time again but eventually not rising again. Damn, now I'm getting emotional now just writing this review. Now, in Camelot continue my emotional anguish, so missing the man that as a reader I had become so connected to. As a result of this, I became equally attached to his son, Galahad. I felt Galahad’s pain, happiness, bloodlust...every emotion. This connection meant that I became so invested in Giles’ writing that I continued to read long into the night, risking bloodshot eyes and tired bones. I couldn’t give in to the story. I had to continue, I had to know that Britain would be united, I had to know that Galahad was ok, that he finally confessed his love to Iselle, that he finally accepted who he was, a warlord of Britain's son.
Speaking directly from the heart, Giles is my favourite author of all time, no one engrossed me into their stories like he does. Lancelot was my favourite story of any book I had read. That place has now been taken by Camelot, as Galahad became Britain’s champion, Camelot now sits at the top of my bookshelf. I have a signed copy that my wonderful wife got me for my birthday and it will forever hold pride of place.
If you love historical fiction, if you love incredible stories… Please, I implore you, read Giles Kristian’s works. You will not be disappointed. Thank you giles, these stories are sublimely crafted. Never, since Tolkien have I been so attached to stories.
From start to finish Camelot is a thrilling journey, one that I am so happy to have taken, the final act of the book (the battle) is breathtakingly well written and absorbs you in, I smelt the sweat, felt the pain, cheered with victory and mourned the losses.
Quite simply. Read. This. Book.
“I looked into the south-east and saw smoke, black as pitch, rising from Camelot, but there was no time to think more of that, and I parried a spear thrust. Then another. Holding Iselle against my body, consumed with wrath for any man or blade which sought to hurt her.” - Galahad