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Guinevere (Guinevere #1)

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  395 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Shaman New man tells the story of the golden child whose dearest friend is a saint who hears spirits singing; of the gentle-hearted woman who begins to dream of love, glory, and the fierce, proud king who will become her husband; of the passionate beauty whose name will be remembered and hated for centuries.

Sharan Newman portrays Guinevere with all the charm, skill, and er
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 15th 1996 by Tor Books (first published 1980)
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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
57th out of 329 books — 1,188 voters
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The Arthurian Legend Retold
83rd out of 389 books — 629 voters


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Community Reviews

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Nikki
I wasn't really impressed by this book. It follows the childhood of Guinevere, and her coming of age, until she meets Arthur. It's simultaneously fantastical -- there's a unicorn involved -- and historical, with a lot of focus on returning to Roman ways, etc. More or less standard fair. Guinevere's a bit of a Mary Sue: oh so beautiful, and mild, and she doesn't know about anything as coarse as sex, and there's something about her and Epona, and Arthur falls crazily in love with her and Gawain is ...more
Sara
It's been a long time since I read this book. What I most remember was the relationship of Guinevere to her unicorn. That has stayed with me for many years. I also enjoyed reading a book about Guinevere rather than King Arthur.
Arthurian Lucre
This novel is the first of Sharan Newman's Guinevere trilogy and as for the others Guinevere trilogies I've read (Rosalind Miles, Nancy McKenzie, Persia Woolley) the first one is about Guinevere's childhood, her family and her meeting/marriage with Arthur.
I still don't know how is the whole series, but for now this is the first "book one" of any Guinevere series I have ever read.
It escapes readily the tomboy Guinevere clich・ Here Guinevere is simply a child, a bit spoiled, very loved by her fam
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Sue
I'm a huge sucker for retellings of the legend of Arthur. And rightly so, in the past 15 or 20 years, there have been some amazing takes on this very old story ( e.g. Marion Zimmer Bradley's phenomenal 'Mists of Avalon). But this go-round is less than impressive. This felt very much like a YA version of what can be a most complex tale with mature themes. 'Guinevere' is too simple, too immature to be considered anything other than appropriate for young teens. In every version of this story I've c ...more
Margaret
Guinevere is a bit of a Mary Sue (though I guess impossibly beautiful is pretty par for the course), and the thing with the unicorn is a little silly, but Newman's Guinevere books have some of my favorite characters in all Arthuriana.
Ann
I tend to like retellings of classic tales, especially fairy tales, so a retelling of the legend of Arthur through Guinevere's eyes is very appealing to me. I enjoy seeing the legend in the context of actual English history: the changing of a ruling society descended from Rome, battling for supremacy with both the native Britons and the invading Germanic tribes. Other series have used this same treatment (Jack Whyte's books, for example), but Sharan Newman's version is fairly tame, almost young ...more
Anastasia
I own this because I had to read it for my freshman colloquium, all those years ago. I can't remember what I thought of it back then, although I'm sure I had to write a paper about it, which means I probably still have it....

Well, now... I can safely say I have no interest in reading the remainder of the series. There are so many superior retellings of Arthurian legend to give your time to.

Guinevere is supposed to be perfect, but it's certainly not my idea of the perfect woman, let alone the per
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Suzann
Mysticism and history

Guinivere is normally vilified. This first book in a trilogy reveals her life, and how her character was formed. The unicorn was interesting, and her only trusted friend growing up. Merlin is portrayed as a man torn and in need of family. Arthur becomes less legend and more human. The Saxons are a vital part of why Arthur wins Guin. Good start.

Cheryl
What a strange little book!!! Have read a lot of Sharan Newman's Catherine LeVendeur mysteries, written much more recently than this story. It deals with Guinevere as a very young girl, who meets Arthur and marries him at the end of the book. It deals with her as the daughter of a "Roman" family, who want the old Roman ways to be restored --- and Guinevere wanders through life as a golden child, really unaware of the world, how protected her part in it is, and finds a unicorn!!! Don't remember e ...more
Rusty
This is a fantasy based on the original story. Guinevere as portrayed by Newman is a shallow individual from a wealthy family who focuses only on herself and her needs. Her parents and brothers pamper her. The one redeeming feature of her character is her bonding with the unicorn. This portion of the tale was sensitive and well done, a delight to those who love the unicorn myth like myself. In addition, there is a priestess who attempts to sacrifice Guinevere to her goddess, the unicorn who love ...more
Jennifer
Nov 08, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Guinevere's life, believers of unicorns & magic
Recommended to Jennifer by: no one...I discovered it myself as a teen.
Just finished re-reading this one. Still like it. Yes, it centers around Guinevere life, starting as a child up until her wedding night to Arthur...ouch! Much involves her special relationship with a Unicorn. I had forgotten how many other characters lives [Gawain, Geraldus, Merlin (who despises Guinevere), Arthur (of course), Timon & Gaia, & more!] are described so one feels like they are your friends as well as Guin's. An entertaining read.
I am now into the 2nd book of the series, The
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Miriam
Newman remade the story of King Arthur and Guinevere set in England several hundred years after Roman leaves the island. Ghosts, a unicorn, and some magic are just some of the twists added by Newman. Of course there are two more installments in this tale. Can't wait to dive in.
Christiana
I can't really say much other than it's an interesting take on her legend. Since I've read everything I can get my hands on with regards to variations of Arthurian legends, I have to say that this was very interesting. Because it is broken up into a series, I can't wait to read what happens next!
Sarah
This book is a wonderfully intimate look into the life of Guinevere as a young girl. The author brings in fantastic historical details layered with the mixing of Roman and Celtic cultures. It was a fascinating read that I would recommend.
Helene
This just wasn't good as I expected it to be. The characters were never fully developed and the plot just plodded along. I was disappointed in this novel since I enjoyed Newman's Catherine LeVendeur mysteries very much.
Phair
Oct 15, 2011 Phair added it
Shelves: arthurian
Won't rate until I can re-read. Read this and the sequels around date of publication & loved this take on the Arthurian stories. Just enough magic to make it legendary.
Sarah
A novel about King Arthur's Guinevere. Very mythical (there is unicorn in it - I should tell my mom about this one).
Kristine Kinney
I really enjoyed this book. I just wish there was more to read.
Rachel
Dec 04, 2013 Rachel added it
I don't remember. It's been too long. I'll have to reread it to write an appropriate review.
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Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her e
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More about Sharan Newman...

Other Books in the Series

Guinevere (3 books)
  • The Chessboard Queen (Guinevere, #2)
  • Guinevere Evermore (Guinevere, #3)
Death Comes As Epiphany (Catherine LeVendeur, #1) The Devil's Door (Catherine LeVendeur, #2) Strong As Death (Catherine LeVendeur, #4) The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3) The Difficult Saint (Catherine LeVendeur, #6)

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