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In Camelot's Shadow    by Sarah Zettel order for
In Camelot's Shadow
by Sarah Zettel
Order:  USA  Can
Luna, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Risa of the Morelands does not understand why her father denies every suitor who pays her court. Though she is well past marrying age, her father sends every suitor on his way. Rygehil's refusal of Vernus, a man Risa believes she truly loves, is the last straw. Risa and her mother Jocosa confront Rygehil and demand an explanation. Both are stunned by his reply. Jocosa came close to death while carrying Risa, and was saved by the intervention of a sorcerer. Rygehil, desperately in love with his wife, would have promised the sorcerer anything. For years he's kept the terrible secret of how he saved Jocosa. Now it's only a matter of time before the sorcerer comes to claim what is his.

Furious with her father and determined to escape her fate, Risa flees her beloved home, armed only with her bow and a sturdy horse. On her journey she is championed by Sir Gawain, an honorable knight of High King Arthur's Round Table. Gawain has been dispatched to discover those gathering in secret to undermine Arthur. As Risa and Gawain travel together they face many battles. They fend off thieves and those already under Euberacon's control, who have been sent to dispatch Gawain and deliver Risa into the dark sorcerer's hands. Once they reach Camelot, Risa wins acceptance and protection from Arthur and Guinevere. She also encounters suspicion from others plotting the downfall of all that Arthur and his Knights stand for. Nor can she escape her appointed destiny with Euberacon.

Sarah Zettel incorporates elements of Arthurian legend into her story with flair, skill and lyrical writing. Risa and Gawain are well-realized, well-matched, strong and sympathetic characters. They're drawn to each other from the moment they meet, despite Gawain's reputation as a man who's championed many a lady. Their relationship evolves from simple courtesy to ones of respect, growing fondness and eventually love. Dark Euberacon is presented in an equally sympathetic manner, as Zettel takes as much time to explain his background and motivations as she does those of her main characters - this includes the two witches, Morgaine and Kerra, aiding Euberacon (or are they really using him?)

In Camelot's Shadow is an engrossing and spellbinding tale and I can hardly wait for the sequel 'for the battle of England' mentioned on the last page!

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