Melanti's Reviews > Hawk of May

Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw
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Jun 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: e-book, 2011, alternate-history, young-adult
Read from June 08 to 09, 2011

I read copious amounts of King Arthur fiction when I was younger but have tired of it in recent years.
However, this particular book follows a side character (Sir Gawain) rather than the main action and just just uses the King Arthur story as a backdrop for it's own. It's also not particularly concerned with being historically accurate, and is overtly a fantasy novel with demons, sorceresses, enchanted swords, and magic.

I really enjoyed this interesting take on the legend. Gwalchmai doesn't seem particularly Gawain-like, but the book covers his childhood/early adulthood, so it's not horribly out of character for him compared to the original legend.

I'm definitely going to finsish off the trilogy.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Nikki Sir Gawain isn't really a side character, if you look at the medieval tradition -- in fact, Arthur is more of a side character than Gawain is. I think part of the problem with the characters of all the people involved in the Arthurian mythos is that it isn't made up of one single legend, but an accretion of many. I believe Gillian Bradshaw was attempting to reflect the Celtic origins of the myth, rather than the more commonly known stories that were influenced primarily by the French literature. Little is known of the Celtic Gwalchmai, that I've ever come across -- I believe he's mentioned in 'Culhwch ac Olwen', and little else -- which gave Bradshaw plenty of room to play!


Melanti I was referring more to the modern interpretations when I said side character - and as you mention, that's just a tiny portion of the medieval version of the mythos. Le Morte D'Arthur at times seemed like it talked about everyone except King Arthur.

'Culhwch ac Olwen' is probably part of The Mabinogion, right? That's one that I've always meant to read but never have gotten around to it.


Nikki Now I think about it, there's quite a few I can think of that focus on Gawain, even modern ones. All the retellings of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example. I think people's perception of what the Arthurian tradition is mostly comes from what they've already read.

Yes, it is. I think Gwalchmai has one or two references and little else, though.


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