The twins Langueroth and Lailoken are raised by their father, king Morken, and mother, a wisdom keeper, in the Old Ways. Lailoken has a calling to become wisdom keeper himself, something Langueroth can only be jealous of. She’s destined to marry to advance her family. But in 6th century Scotland the new Catholic faith will bring chaos and bloodshed, while at the same time men in the North gather under the banner of Emrys Pendragon to defend the country against the Anglo-saxons. Langueroth falls for one of Pendragon’s men but she’ll have to marry the son of the Catholic high king. Can she and her brother Lailoken defend and preserve the old Celtic faith?
The cover says ‘Outlander meets Camelot’, and it’s indeed a historical story with fantasy elements based on the Merlin myth. Pike discovered that a man named Lailoken could have been the inspiration for the character of Merlin. And that this Lailoken had a twin sister Langueroth who was queen of Strathclyde, an ancient Scottish kingdom.
But this is more than a retelling of Merlin. It’s the story about a girl who’d become queen in a troubled kingdom. About a clash between the Old Ways and the new Catholic faith led by the monk Mungo. About new heroes in the North bearing the name of Pendragon. About the love between siblings.
There are so many storylines that’s is difficult to write a summary :). ‘The lost queen‘ is the first part of a trilogy so there’s much more to come. And sometimes it was a bit frustrating that some storylines disappeared a bit towards the end. Probably to come back in the next book. For example the conflict with Mungo is definitely not over yet.
There’s also a heavy focus on Langueroth’s romance with one of Pendragon’s men. That was not my favorite part of the story. I did like Langueroth’s relationship with her brothers Lailoken and Gwendolau, as with her new husband and family. I also was very intrigued by the old Celtic traditions and the wisdom keepers, who were some kind of druids. They had even more power than kings and the mystery surrounding their prophecies gave the story a darker touch.
It may not be the new ‘Outlander’ or ‘Mists of Avalon’. But Pike certainly gives Merlin and Langueroth a new and original voice. I might pick up the next book in the series ‘the forgotten kingdom’ soon.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher to provide me a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Have you ever read a book about the celtic tradition? I’d love to discover more stories about the Celts.