Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review and Royal Giveaway - In Winter's Shadow by Gillian Bradshaw


From Sourcebooks:

Arthur Pendragon strives to unite a fragmented empire as his bastard son threatens to tear down the king, his queen, and their bravest champions. From the sudden death of innocence to a perilous campaign that strikes at the very heart of the empire, this third and final book of the acclaimed trilogy by Gillian Bradshaw offers the reader a front-row seat as Arthur's dream and his kingdom collapse around him.

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First published in 1982 and now reissued by Sourcebooks Landmark, Gillian Bradshaw’s In Winter's Shadow is the concluding volume of the Down the Long Wind trilogy.  An Arthurian tale, this series focuses greatly on those surrounding the legendary High King and Emperor.  In Book 1, Hawk of May, the story’s emphasis is on Arthur’s emissary Gwalchmai and his ascendancy from childhood to royal servitude and respected combatant.  Book 2, Kingdom of Summer still has Gwalchmai as the main character, but it’s told from the perspective of his manservant, Rhys.  Summer chronicles the rising tide that began to swell against Arthur, as well as the personal relationships of Gwalchmai, Rhys, and their love interests.

Book 3, In Winter’s Shadow varies in that it’s told from the perspective of a woman, Emperor Arthur’s wife Gwynhwyfar.  Through Queen Gwynhwyfar’s eyes, we watch the continued struggle of Arthur and his Family against the forces of evil, brought on predominantly by his bastard son, Medraut.  The Queen is very much a part of this struggle herself, as she is not only a leader within her community but is incredibly affected by events without and within.  While her loyalty ultimately is always with Arthur, her heart is frequently torn between what is right and what is desired.  This leads to trouble both within her marriage and throughout the entire kingdom. 

The longest of the three volumes, In Winter’s Shadow took the shortest amount of time for me to read.  I found every chapter to be quite interesting, and not bogged down in unnecessary set dressing and descriptive language.  Bradshaw’s writing is such that we are easily transported to this Arthurian world, but without excessive baggage.  There are battles without ridiculous amounts of gory details, passionate anger without cheap vulgarities and adulterous love scenes with just enough information to get the point across.  It’s decidedly less spiritual than the first two thirds of the trilogy, and I missed having more of that element within the plot, but the political intrigue and relational dramas more than made up for that change in composition.

Down the Long Wind is different from other Arthurian tales in that there is no “Round Table” per se and no mystical Merlin character (although there is a briefly mentioned, mysterious bard named Taliesin).  The fortress of Camelot is the more traditionally named Camlann.   However, much of the original legend is retained, with a moderate amount of magic and spirituality within the first two thirds of the trilogy.  This last portion, In Winter’s Shadow follows the travails and struggles of Arthur, his Queen and the forces swirling around them.  There is adventure, betrayal, loyalty, passion, victory and defeat.  It’s a sweeping tale that spans decades and easily transports the reader to another time and place. 

I can say that I wish the final chapters had turned out somewhat differently than they did.  Without offering any revealing details, the conclusion is not tied up perfectly in a tidy bow, with all parties happy and gratified.  That being said, I felt that matters were handled in a highly realistic and possibly more historic fashion, if there is any truth to the Arthurian legends. 

In Winter’s Shadow is a fine conclusion to a very satisfying trilogy.  I enjoyed hearing the story from the perspective of a woman, and Bradshaw always made her narrative interesting and worth my time.  I frequently read this volume during my morning and afternoon walks by a lake, on the way to or from dropping my sons off from school.  I always looked forward to that time, as it was a delightful escape from the duties and responsibilities of my day.  I certainly recommend Down the Long Wind, especially if you’re a fan of Arthurian novels, but also if you enjoy a captivating, sweeping tale of adventure, magic, love and political intrigue.  Gillian Bradshaw produced a fine work 30 years ago, and it is certainly worth its current re-emergence in the marketplace today.  Hopefully it will acquire a new audience and continue to be enjoyed for years to come.


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Calico Casting Call – For the Movie in My Head
(With the appropriate age and look for their characters)

King Arthur – Anthony Head
Gwynhwyfar – Nicole Kidman
Bedwyr – Matthew Macfadyen
Gwalchmai ap Lot – Karl Urban
Rhys ap Sion – Rupert Grint
Morgawse – Monica Bellucci
Medraut – Sean Bean
Eivlin – Dakota Fanning
Gwyn - Jeremy Sumpter

















Royal Giveaway!
The Down the Long Wind Trilogy
and
Hand Crafted Jewels by Jenn
(U.S. Addresses)

As much as I enjoyed Gillian Bradshaw's novels, I do not have the shelf space to give them a permanent home.  I earnestly want them to go on to someone who will enjoy them, so who better to offer them than you, my readers?  The winner of the giveaway will receive my gently-read ARCs of Hawk of May, Kingdom of Summer and In Winter's Shadow.  The cover art is the same on Books 1 & 3, but for some reason they went in a different direction on the cover art for Book 2. But they're all in great condition, and I hope you enjoy them. 



In addition to these delightful reads, I'd like to offer to the winner a gift from Jewels by Jenn.  Choose any items up to $12 (not including shipping, which I'll cover).  Jennifer Degraeve offers lovely beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  These accessories will have you looking like a Queen, or you can bestow them to the Lady Gwynhwyfar in your life.  Choose from the items below, or from the selection on the Jewels by Jenn website.










Earrings: $5
Bracelets: $8
Earrings & Necklace: $9
Necklaces: $10
Bracelet & Necklace: $12 
3 Piece Set: $15





Contest Rules

  • Leave a comment below; this counts as your entry.
  • Entries accepted until 11:59pm on Saturday, November 5th
  • The winner must supply a US mailing address for prize shipment.  I apologize to my international readers, but especially with this giveaway (3 books & separate jewelry shipment), I cannot afford the international postage.
  • Make sure at least one posted comment includes your email address. If you'd rather not have your email posted here, you may contact me directly to give me that information after you've entered here.
  • I will compile the entries and the winner will be chosen by Random.org, so even one entry can make you a winner.
  • I will contact the winner on Sunday the 6th.  Please take measures to ensure that my email will make it past your spam filters, lest you miss my message. (CalicoCritic@gmail.com) You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
  • More information on the giveaway policies can be found on the Contact / Policies page.


Bonus Entries

Please make note of all your bonus entries in your comment(s).  You may post separate comments or a single large comment.  Here are your bonus entry options:

  • +1 Bonus Point:  Follow The Calico Critic by clicking on the Google "Follow" button on my sidebar (old or new followers both get the bonus entry, just please let me know your GFC follower name).
  • +1 Bonus Point:  Follow me (@LHartness) on Twitter and tell me your @UserName.
  • +1 Bonus Point Each:  Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter.com. Be sure to use an URL linking back to this blog posting in your tweet. You may do this as frequently as every 8 hours between now and November 5th at 11:59pm EST.  For each tweet, please come back and post the direct URL link to that specific tweet, not just your @Username.  Here's a sample tweet you can copy:
@LHartness ARC & Jewelry Giveaway! Down the Long Wind trilogy by G. Bradshaw for @Sourcebooks and Jewels by Jenn bit.ly/RoyalGiveaway
  • +5 Bonus Points:  Subscribe to The Calico Critic via email (see left hand sidebar) and become a verified Feedburner subscriber.  Make sure you let me know the email address you used to subscribe.
  • +5 Bonus Points:  Mention this giveaway in a post on your blog.  Deadline to publish your post is 11:59pm EST, November 3rd.  Please provide a direct link.



Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to all!
If you'd like to be alerted anytime a giveaway is posted here on The Calico Critic, here are three notification options:

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CymLowell

27 comments:

  1. I'd love to win! koerner77@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I follow you on twitter. @EON84

    ReplyDelete
  3. I tweeted. http://twitter.com/#!/EON84/status/125632992772227072

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for letting me know about this (on Goodreads), reading In Winter's Shadow is one of the fondest memories I have from an unhappy time in my life. Even my daughters know about my memories, and, without my asking, have tried to find me a copy to surprise me. I would love to revisit the story, and actually get to read it in it's complete form. And maybe even be able to persuade them to read it, as well. My fingers are crossed :) Thank you, Melissa (CM is my pen) ( melmoh@gmail.com )

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yay! Glad we connected. Thanks for entering!

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  6. I love this series! Actually, I love pretty much everything by Gillian Bradshaw and I think she should be much better known. :) Thank you for the giveaway!

    liedermadchen(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/LiederMadchen/status/125834867752706048

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for this Wonderful Giveaway , the Books sound amazing and the Jewelry is so Beautiful!! Joined and following !!
    Crystal Trent Dotson
    cfcbc@netzero.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't read these books yet so I would be uber excited to win this giveaway!! They've been on my must-read list and this would be my chance to finally read them! Thanks for an awesome giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  10. GFC follower: Julie Witt

    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Twitter follower: @jwitt33

    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/jwitt33/status/126027227656761346

    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am an email subscriber:

    jwitt33 at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I follow you on twitter @mamabuny13
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. #1 email subscriber
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am over the moon. My two favorite things: books and jewelry. Could life get any better?! Thank you


    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  18. +1 I Follow via google (old follower)
    name: Clenna (golden retriever pix)

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. +5 I Subscribe to The Calico Critic via email

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  20. http://twitter.com/#!/scarletredwill/status/128157451836063744
    I tweeted for your giveaway!
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I follow via GFC as veltara
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I follow via Twitter @scarletredwill
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I follow via e mail
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love all the great jewelry items. I love her last set...LOVE LOVE LOVE
    veltara(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  25. thanks, very pretty jewelry

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete

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