Book Review: Mercedes Lackey’s Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit

Posted August 30, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mercedes Lackey’s Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit

Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit


Mercedes Lackey

fantasy, historical fiction in Hardcover edition that was published by DAW Books on October 6, 2009 and has 404 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Dead Reckoning, Conspiracies, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, Harvest Moon, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Burdens of the Dead, Bastion, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Games Creatures Play, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea

A standalone historical fiction tale of King Arthur’s queen, Guinevere.

My Take

Another variation on King Arthur and his knights. This time from the third Guinevere’s perspective. Yes, third. Lackey has a theory that with all the tales of Arthur’s wife having no children, one child, two children that quite possibly he had three wives, each named Gwenhwyfar.

For the most part, it follows the Arthurian legend with different details. An interesting tale which truly is good for those imaginative details. I do love how Gwen comes up with the fright to use against the Saxon invaders! I just get so depressed over the Arthurian ending.

The Story

This Gwen was the third of four daughters of a subject king of Arthur’s while the mother was magic. Gwen had been blessed by Epona and the Ladies meaning she could perform well as a warrior or be taught to use her magic by the Ladies. Choosing the warrior’s role, Gwen advanced to the role of war chief for her father. Intelligent, canny in the way of war, Gwen was happy in her life.

Oh, yes, there were stumbles along the way. Her youngest sister, Gwynhwyfach, was a spoiled brat eager to have anything that anyone else admired, owned, or desired. Willing to hurt anyone to take from them. She found a suitable partner when she married Medraut, a cousin and son to King Lot.

Lancelin, a Champion of King Arthur’s and his envoy and adviser, was the first to cause Gwen to regret her chosen role as a warrior. Then loyalty and honor required that Gwen marry. Another.

The Cover and Title

The cover is very classy with its thin raised borders of embossed brown and leathery black star-studded in the corners with a dark center and sword shield poised in its center. The White Spirit is a bit empty as it refers to such a small part of the book…even if it is one of my favorite bits.