A powerful queen and one of the most influential women in early medieval Scotland, Languoreth has been largely forgotten. Her twin brother Lailoken, also known as Myrrdin, likely became the man that inspired the legend of Merlin. Signe Pike’s debut novel, The Lost Queen, fictionalizes their lives.
Primarily following the life of Languoreth – first as a girl who loses her mother, then as a political bargaining chip, and finally as a wife and mother – The Lost Queen is the first in a trilogy about early Arthurian legend. Although I was intrigued by its description as a cross between Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, the novel more than holds its own. It is a tale of forbidden love, familial duty, and embracing a destiny that you long to fight against.
Pike illuminates the lives of her characters with rich details, everything from their tragedies and their triumphs, to the smells, sights, and sounds of medieval Scotland. As the druid way of life competes with the newly arrived Christianity, Languoreth knows she must defend her family’s heritage if she has any hope of preserving it. She is a fierce heroine who fights for her family, even when she knows it could cost her everything.
We may not always have the choice we would like. But we always have a choice.
The Lost Queen* depicts Scotland at a tumultuous point in history. Pike’s novel shows how far and fast the ripples of change can alter lives near and far, and I could not put it down. Truly, it’s historical fiction at its finest.
Is anyone else fascinated by Arthurian legends? I have been since I watched The Sword in the Stone as a child!
*I received a review copy of this novel courtesy of Netgalley.