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In Camelot's Shadow (The Paths to Camelot #1)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  779 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Sarah Zettel's In Camelot's Shadow is an enticing romantic fantasy set in Arthurian England that explores the legend of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady. When Gawain, King Arthur's handsome and promiscuous nephew, saves a beautiful maiden from a sorcerer, will his love be able to overcome the forces of evil?

Risa of the Morelands was cursed even
Paperback, 490 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Luna Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Poison Study by Maria V. SnyderMagic Study by Maria V. SnyderFire Study by Maria V. SnyderCast in Shadow by Michelle SagaraCast In Courtlight by Michelle Sagara
LUNA Books
124 books — 162 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
Best Arthurian Fiction
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 17, 2012 Terence rated it did not like it
I like Kage Baker's Company books (Mendoza, before she's reduced to a simpering, love-sick nonentity, is one of my favorite characters in any series) and I love C.J. Cherryh's Union-Alliance future history (Signy Mallory of ECS Norway ranks as one of the most brilliant characters in SF (IMO) and Downbelow Station is a masterpiece). But I can't stand their forays into fantasy. I couldn't finish The Anvil of the World and Cherryh's fantasy tends to bore me.

Sarah Zettel joins that band of authors w
I seem to change my mind every time I read these books. I've loved all of Sarah Zettel's work, but reading Camelot's Shadow again (for a third time) didn't do it any favours. The amount of grammar mistakes I came across in the text, for example, really began to annoy me. And the oh-so-perfect women -- Rhian, Guinevere, Jocosa -- or the demonised women -- Pacis, Kerra, Morgaine -- really got to me. Rhian was perfectly patient, Guinevere a perfect queen, Jocosa a perfect mother... Pacis was the sc ...more
Apr 25, 2011 Ron rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, arthuriana
Okay book if you like the type--high Medieval Arthurian romance--which I don't.

Essentially a 100 page retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight set within 400 page framing story told from the point of view of Risa, his lady love. Little to enjoy and much to gag over.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2016 Arthurianmaiden rated it liked it
This novel mix the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Wedding of Dame Ragnelle and Sir Gawain, in a new story where the author narrates the love of Rhian and Gawain. Rhian is the daughter of a powerful lord who had sold her soul to a sorcerer, in exchange for the life of his wife. When Rhian finds out, she runs away, trying to escape from the sorcerer who wants now to take her for her powers. Gawain finds her and you can imagine the rest.
I admit I preferred this novel to the fourth
Jul 11, 2014 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Brownbetty
Shelves: fantasy
Risa's father forbids her to marry, and at last Risa discovers why--years ago, her father promised her to a sorcerer in exchange for his wife's life. Unwilling to wait around to lose her soul as part of a sorcerer's household, Risa flees. The sorcerer pursues, but to everyone's amazement Sir Gawain happens upon them and rescues Risa. Gawain offers his protection to Risa, and as they ride together toward Camelot the seeds of love are planted in them. But even as they fall in love, they are troubl ...more
Maddie Senator
Sep 06, 2016 Maddie Senator rated it really liked it
I am highly attracted to midieval and old English stories, so this book was right up my alley. A friend recommended it to me, and I was a little skeptical to read it at first, but then I got into it and it was great! It follows a nineteen-year-old young woman named Risa (it was nice to get a slightly older heroine for once) and Sir Gawain—yes, the same one from the King Arthur stories! When Risa was just a baby, her father promised her to an evil sorcerer out of desperation to save her mother's ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
I was prepared to adore any book written by a woman who's cat is named Buffy the Vermin Slayer. Unfortunately, this did not quite reach adored status. The story of Risa of the Morelands and Sir Gawain of the Round Table is filled with Celtic mythology and Arthurian Legend. Risa's father has sold her to a sorcerer and Gawain must rescue her. That's pretty straightforward, but there is also another witch who wants Arthur's throne and sees Gawain and Risa's issues as fortuitous to her aims.
The pac
Barbara ★
This is the third book I've read this month pertaining to Merlin and/or Avalon. This is the best one yet and it's only the first in a series. It's a tender love story in the midst of terrible danger. I can't wait to see where For Camelot's Honor takes this tale.

Lady Risa is promised at birth to the evil sorcerer, Euberacon, who is intent on dethroning King Arthur. Of course, Risa has absolutely no intention of becoming Euberacon's tool of destruction so she flees. She meets up with Saxon forces
Dec 01, 2016 Jacqie rated it liked it
Shelves: didnt-finish
I had the British version of this book, in which Risa's name is Rhian, so I had a moment of confusion when I read the synopsis.

This book plays with the legends of Gawain and the Green Knight and also the Loathly Lady. It looks like Zettel, the author, has done a decent amount of reading of the different versions and related works of the King Arthur legend.

I didn't finish it because there just wasn't quite enough to keep me interested. I've read a bunch of Arthur-inspired books, and at this poin
Nat Parsons
Dec 11, 2014 Nat Parsons rated it liked it
I'm going to be biased, because I LOVE Gawain (character from Arthurain legend, not necessarily the one depicted in this book.) I love Gawain and I want him to be happy.
I am also happy because Sarah Zettel's retelling did an amazing job of blending several things:

- The story of Gawain and the Green Knight (totes classic!)
- Gawain and the Loathly Lady (another amazing butt-kicking CLASSIC right there)
- Apollo and Laurel (Apollo fell in love with Laurel, the wood-nymph. She changed into a Laurel-
Aug 27, 2013 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Ce premier tome des Chemins de Camelot, de Sarah Zettel, reprend l'intrigue de deux histoires liées à Gauvain, chevalier de la Table Ronde: Sire Gauvain et le Chevalier Vert (Gawain and the Green Knight), et Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady (littéralement, Sire Gauvain et la Dame Répugnante).

L'héroïne du roman, Rhian, est la fille d'un petit seigneur, Rygehil des Morelands. L'histoire commence avec un énième refus de ce dernier à une demande en mariage concernant sa fille: Rygehil a promis Rhian,
Sep 15, 2016 Sylvie rated it really liked it
I picked this book off my shelves at random, and I must say, I was quite pleased with it. Sarah Zettel is a really good writer. I read some of the comments after I had started reading, and was greatly surprised to find some very harsh ones. I love Arthurian novels, yes even the romances, and although this is a romance, it has so much more going on that just romance. Turns out the damsel in distress is more than able of taking care of herself despite having met Gawain in her flight from an evil s ...more
Apr 16, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
Synopsis: "Sarah Zettel's In Camelot's Shadow is an enticing romantic fantasy set in Arthurian England that explores the legend of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady. When Gawain, King Arthur's handsome and promiscuous nephew, saves a beautiful maiden from a sorcerer, will his love be able to overcome the forces of evil?

Risa of the Morelands was cursed even before she was born. While returning from King Arthur's coronation, her father made a deal with an evil necromancer named Euberacon to save his
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I liked this story--mildly. I'm a fan of Arthurian stories and given this is the story of Gawain and his lady that helped. Being a fan I've read such excellent takes as those by Mary Stewart, T. H. White and Gillian Bradshaw. The comparison didn't help. This one is more in the mode of T.H. White in the sense history was played very loosely and the fantasy element to the fore, but there was none of the imagination and whimsy that was the hallmark of White.

It did help that this was one of the bett
I really liked this book the first time I read it, but after revisiting it several years on I have to downgrade my opinion a bit. It's good, but not great. It's not a complex book, so this review won't be complex either. If you are a fan of Authurian tales, you might like Sarah Zettel's Camelot's Shadow. Just be aware that despite a few refreshing updates, like a damsel who for the most part rescues herself rather than waiting for the men to do it for her, it is still very much what I think of a ...more
Jun 20, 2015 Vicki added it
Recommends it for: the unembarassed
Shelves: fiction
I don't want to say that I'm a snob, but I think I might have to. It's embarassing to carry around a book that has the word "Camelot" on it. And a lady in a medieval dress. Today I was riding the bus from my house in Bubenec to work in Smichov, and I'm sure that nobody (ladies hassling with strollers, old people with double canes, young and hungover looking guys) cared about what I was reading. If they spoke English or otherwise. But I still hid the cover by angling the book against the seat in ...more
I enjoyed this book. It is always a risk to try to write a new take on the Camelot legend. After all, how do you do something different, something nobody else has done with this story? Well, I think Sarah Zettel has done something different.

Arthur, Guinevere and Morgaine although interestingly portrayed, are only perpheral characters in this story, which revolves around the Knight Gawain, and a woman from an outland area named Risa. Both Risa and Gawain run afoul of magical beings which causes t
I had read one of Zettel's other works, (the Isavalta trilogy, I think) and found it to be somewhat generic fantasy, but I rather enjoyed this one. I am not a terribly critical reader when it comes to Aurthurian reworkings since I don't know the source well enough to spot any offenses; readers who are should note that.

That said, it managed to present at least the appearance of a well researched semi-historical novel that blends history and legend while trying not to damage either too severely. P
Oct 29, 2014 Camy rated it really liked it
I liked this medieval fantasy novel and the way it has a neat paranormal twist on the Arthurian legend. I'm not very familiar with Arthurian literature and so I think it allowed me to enjoy this book just as a good historical fantasy read.

I must admit that the first third of the book was a little slow for me, mostly because of the way the narrative jumped to the points of view of other characters in the story besides the hero and heroine. I guess I just wasn't as much interested in the villains'
Aug 16, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
The day that I bought this book I honestly didn't walk into the bookstore looking for it by name and title. In my country it's somewhat hard to come across cheap books in English, and since I was in another countries bookstore I was making the best of it. I think I was already buying three other books and I had a little bit of spare cash to buy a cheap forth one. I guess this book's title and spine called out to me when I was looking around the bookstore and once I read the plot I was pretty int ...more
Rachel Boling
Jan 11, 2014 Rachel Boling rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
The writing was excellent and the premise was really intriguing, but the men were rather . . . lustful . . . which was perhaps the point, but I still decided not to finish. Plus, the women seemed to be flat, which was probably due to the society they lived in, where men objectified and subjected them, but still. At least the main character had lots of spunk, and had resolved to take charge of her life, although she didn't have a very good plan. If lustful men (and probably more later in the stor ...more
Sep 28, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
I'm not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed in this book. I found it too girly and too cliched and I also really didn't like the portrayal of either Gawain or Rhian to be honest. I thought they were both quite shallow and flighty and although some work had clearly gone in to trying to make Rhian spunky and sassy, it just came across as a bit of a cliche and then as soon as she 'fell in love' with Gawain she turned into a simpering idiot. I also didn't really like the magic stuff. I did think ...more
I discovered this book in my library. It was the 'Save the Libraries' day. My husband and I went to our local library and checked out the maximum number of books we were allowed in solidarity.

I found this on the shelf. I was completely surprised to discover that somehow an Arthurian novel had passed me by...

There are (I think) four books in the series... I have already picked up the second one from the library.

Camelot's shadow is a bit of an historical romance loosely adapted from Sir Gawain and
Jul 04, 2011 Mo rated it it was ok
I didn't like this book all that much. I enjoyed Gawain as a character and Risa wasn't too bad, but their lovestory couldn't really interest me. It took me forever to finish this book, I kept putting it down for weeks at a time, then picking it up and reading several chapters. I don't know why I kept picking it up, probably because of Gawain, who is one of my favourite Arthurian characters. But all in all the story didn't really hold my interest, the writing felt stilted and the characters were ...more
Jul 07, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quickly got into this book when I was reading it on holiday. At times I just wanted to scream at some of the characters but I got through it and enjoyed it. Even though I knew the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight it took me a while to click in that they were related in the story which made me feel a bit daft. But it was a good read and I cannot wait to read more by her set in this period.
Aug 22, 2011 Grace rated it liked it
Ok, well i admit i didnt finish this book. But it didn't really give me a drive to finish it. Yes i loved the romance, I loved the setting... The writing was practically flawless. I think the characterisation of the female reallllly got to me. Also there is almost TOOO much focus of ettiquette. Also her constant praying to Mother Mary got to me after a while. Even though I'm Catholic,I felt uncomfortable reading it. I don't know why, but I just didnt enjoy it as much as I wanted to.


Rachel Summers
May 27, 2015 Rachel Summers rated it it was ok
I was excited to try out a "fantasy" book so I brought this home and then I found out that it's basically a harlequin/fantasy. Ugh.
It's not often that I don't like a book and can't find something redeeming in it- but this book was one of those. After the first fifty pages I didn't care about the characters. I felt that the book was cheesy and fluffy and wish I hadn't wasted my time.
Jun 26, 2012 Ginny rated it really liked it

I have a soft spot for all things related to the tales of the knights (and ladies) of the Round Table- and this is no exception.

An intricate tale that takes the legends that we have more than a passing familiarity and weaves a spellbinding yarn that sweeps you into a world that is like a second home- one that is strange, scary and somehow better than the world we really live.
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Sarah Zettel is the critically acclaimed author of more than twenty novels, spanning the full range of genre fiction. Her debut novel, Reclamation, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her second release, Fool’s War, was a 1997 New York Times Notable Book, and the American Library Association named Playing God one of the Best Books for Young Adults of 1999. Her novel Bitter Angels won the Phi ...more
More about Sarah Zettel...

Other Books in the Series

The Paths to Camelot (4 books)
  • For Camelot's Honor (The Paths to Camelot, #2)
  • Under Camelot's Banner (The Paths to Camelot, #3)
  • Camelot's Blood (The Paths to Camelot, #4)

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