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Finding Camlann: A Novel

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A compelling argument about the origins of King Arthur wrapped in a brilliant novel.

Set against a rich historical landscape evoked by the secret places and half-forgotten legends of the British countryside, Finding Camlann is both a "fascinating mystery that will engage readers attracted by history, myth and language" (Washington Independent Review of Books) and a "beautifully written, intelligent, and ingenious" (Gillian Bradshaw) novel of how stories shape our notions of the past—and of ourselves.

Archaeologist Donald Gladstone is sure that there never was a "real" King Arthur—that is, until a surprising find at Stonehenge seems to offer hard evidence of Arthur's existence. Teaming up with Julia Llewellyn, a gifted linguist working at the Oxford English Dictionary, Donald sets off on a literary and mythological quest that will change both of their lives. Gloriously many-layered, Finding Camlann is a deeply satisfying love story, a gripping detective story, and a narrative journey of myriad pleasures.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 19, 2012 – What at first glance looks like a Dan Brown knockoff is in fact a different animal altogether. An ancient, grisly find uncovered at the Devil s Barrow near Stonehenge rekindles archeologist Donald Gladstone s quest to find historical evidence of King Arthur s existence and true identity. He s aided along the way by Welsh linguist Julia Llewellyn, a married woman with a mysterious family past. Together they try to make sense of The Song of Lailoken, an ancient Welsh battle poem, while fighting their growing attraction. While many recent popular novels take a swashbuckling, two-fisted approach to uncovering ancient secrets, this debut from Pidgeon, a reference publisher at John Wiley & Sons, embraces a more scholarly method. Much of the novel takes place in academic conferences or dusty college corners, with Pidgeon having fun with English and Welsh history. For American readers or nonhistorians, the book contains much interesting information about the United Kingdom, but for those hoping for a rip-roaring knight s tale, the story drags at times. Pidgeon s novel is situated comfortably in the English countryside s hedged lanes and strange earthen mounds, a read that rewards a deep inspection.

Customer Reviews

A Journey to Remember

I rarely give 5 stars. A book has to be something that touches me exceptionally deeply and makes me remember it long after I read it. Finding Camlann is one of those books for me. If I didn't have a 200+ book "to read" queue, I'd reread it immediately.

I thought of two metaphors when trying to describe reading this book. You walk a labyrinth, sometimes coming tantalizingly close to the heart of the mystery only to be turned far away for a while. Yet, in the end, you do reach the inner mystery.

Reading this was like eating an especially rich dessert. The language was often poetic and thick. I could only read a little bit of it at a time, and then I would put it aside to savor what I had just read, cleanse the palate with something else and pick the book back up for another delicious bite.

The characters are a bit weak, but I could identify with them. The romance was low-key and almost peripheral, which is just the way I like it.

Some of the hypotheses presented are a bit dated. As for hypotheses about who or what Arthur was, I've already heard about all of the ones in this book, so it breaks no new ground there.

The landscape is the real star of the book. I found myself going to Google Earth and following the routes the characters took and viewing the places they visited. This greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the book. I want to go back to Wales so badly after reading this.

Yet, I can see why there are such wide variations in opinion about this book. I think you have to be well versed in Arthurian legend, especially the Welsh lore about Arthur, have a love for Wales and its lore and literature and appreciate a slow burning story that has little flash or drama, but takes you on an extraordinary journey. If you are that reader, I highly recommend Finding Camlann. If you are expecting a "Davinci Code" type of book or a fast-paced thriller, with new and exciting mysteries or revelations every few pages, you are likely to be disappointed.

Ok but gave me a headache

This novel (?) reads more like a history text than a story. Interesting theories but the narrative seems like a series of academic arguments with little attention paid to character development. I'm an academic and could have done the research on my own.

Not recommended

Finding Camlann: A Novel
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jan 07, 2013
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings