Lancelot: Her Story by Carol Anne Douglas
Lancelot: Her Story is a fantasy/historical fiction/lesbian novel by Carol Anne Douglas.
A young girl sees a man rape and murder her mother. She grabs a stick and puts out his eye. Her father raises her as a boy so she will be safe from men’s attacks. She practices and practices until she becomes a great fighter – Lancelot. She wants to protect women, and she does. Lancelot hears about King Arthur, a just king across the sea, and journeys to earn a place at Camelot. She vows to serve him, but fears that Arthur and his men will discover that she is a woman and send her away. Lancelot is shocked to realize that she is falling in love with the king’s wife, Guinevere. Guinevere is a strong woman who would have preferred to be queen in her own right, not just through marriage. Saxons attack Arthur’s kingdom, and Lancelot finds out that fighting a war is far different from saving women in single combat. The savagery of war devastates her. According to Curious Wine author Katherine V. Forrest, “Lancelot: Her Story takes a place alongside Nicola Griffith’s brilliant Hild (2013, set in the Middle Ages), in its highly detailed depiction of life in medieval times, in its reimagining of the Arthurian legends, specifically that noblest, purest of heart Knight of the Round Table, that polestar of the Arthurian legends, Lancelot. The story is both ingenious and suspenseful in its reworking of the tapestry of medieval times and its endless wars through a feminist prism.”
A Word from the Author
Lancelot: Her Story looks at what would happen if Lancelot were a woman in disguise. The characters of Lancelot, Guinevere, and Gawaine have fascinated me for a long time. The story is told from their viewpoints. It is set in 6th century Britain.
Lancelot is usually portrayed as sad or solemn. The original “knight of the woeful countenance.” Why is Lancelot sad? Surely loving a woman who is married to someone else is a good reason, but what else in Lancelot’s background produces the sadness?
Guinevere must be discontented with Arthur to fall in love with Lancelot. Why is Guinevere discontented? What kind of person is she? What kind of person is Arthur?
Gawaine is a hero who is different from Lancelot. How did the son of one of Arthur’s rivals come to join Arthur? Gawaine is both a kind person and a womanizer. How can he be both? How did he become both?
These are questions that interested me.
(Carol Anne Douglas, February 2017)
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Other Books in the Same Series
Lancelot and Guinevere