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In Winter's Shadow

(Down the Long Wind #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  660 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews

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 a

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Mass Market Paperback, 321 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Spectra (first published 1982)
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Nikki
There are very few Arthurian retellings that truly make me feel sorry for Guinevere/Gwenhwyfar. I'm not entirely sure that this is one of them, but it made me cry, so perhaps it must be. It's a painful read, this last book of the trilogy. Gillian Bradshaw spares the reader no pain: these aren't legendary characters, but for the space of reading, real people, and I grieved for their hurts and mistakes and the way they got swept away in circumstances. I'm not sure I liked Gwenhwyfar and Bedwyr, by ...more
Deborah Pickstone
Oh dear....it's all over. All 3 books consumed and done. It was a pretty wild ride! And to think she wrote this trilogy by 26 at best! Absolutely a great new take on the Arthurian legends and absolutely one of the best executed versions as well. A fabulous writer. I tend to have prejudice against Gwenhwyfar, myself, and this third book is from her viewpoint; I have read it and feel perhaps less annoyed by the general character than I did.

Highly recommended to Arthur fans :)
Richard Derus
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: The last days of Camelot as narrated by Guinevere. Arthur lost in battle, Gawain and Mordred at daggers drawn over the death of Gawain's beloved son, death comes for all in the epic Battle of Camelot...Guinevere dies to the world by becoming a nun, and later the abbess of her nunnery. In this book, Guinevere's rupture with Arthur comes because she dishonorably attempts to rid the kingdom of horrible Mordred, not because she dallies with Lancelot. Frankly, I lik
...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I requested this book in the giveaway for a friend. She wanted it and wouldn't you know it, I won it. This is the 2nd time I've won a book for someone else (how's that for luck..hehe). She finally read it and loved it. I asked her for her rating and she said 7 stars (huh?), I finally figured out she was talking about a 10 star rating scale (ok, so she doesn't rate books often). I then asked her out of 5 stars, so she said 4. I'm not going to question her math skills and I'll go with the 4.
Em
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you know Arthurian lore, then you don’t need to worry about spoilers in this review because Gillian Bradshaw’s In Winter’s Shadow is the definition of by the book. This final installment in her Arthurian trilogy feels like it belongs to an entirely different series than its predecessors. Hawk of May told the origin story of Gwalchmai ap Lot, better known as Sir Gawain. Kingdom of Summer gave us a similar coming-of-age treatment of Gwalchmai’s servant, Rhys ap Sion. But although the action in ...more
Laura Hartness
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i ...more
Gaele
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
AudioBook Review
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 5 Story: 4


Carrying the story forward, the story is now told by Gwenhwyfar or Guinevere as more commonly known. Bradshaw has managed to bring us to the end of days for Camelot, with the final battles, the death of Mordred, Gwalchmai’s death and her own roles and guilt for her part.

Again managing to re-invent the story of King Arthur using Bretonized forms of the names and presenting unique perspectives on the events, with points of view that were lef
...more
Sarah Edwards
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing about Arthurian legend books it that for them to be written well they are often bitterly and heartrendingly tragic. This one was no exception. A powerful story told through the eyes of the heart of the storm itself, it will pull at your heart. I'm not sure why I continue to read the Arthurian legend books, knowing already how they'll end, but In Winter's Shadow is an excellent conclusion to Ms. Bradshaw's series. The characters were well fleshed out with only rare instances of feeling ...more
Howard Wiseman
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The darkest, most realist, and best (in my opinion) of Bradshaw's Down the Long Wind trilogy. Unlike the earlier two novels, magic hardly makes an appearance here, and the focus is not on Gwalchmai (the Gawain character) but on the classic Arthurian love triangle, and the downfall of Arthur's kingdom. Gwynhwyfar (Guinevere) is narrator and protagonist, and the most well developed character. Being a history wonk, one of the things I appreciate about Bradshaw's novels is that she is meticulous in ...more
Mel
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
Not as good as the first two books in the trilogy. Told from Gwinevere's point of view. I suppose it isn't Gillian Bradshaw's fault that Gwinevere and Bedivere are selfish and weak. Halfway through this book I was starting to admire my daughter's resolve in refusing to read any further King Arthur tales. "There doesn't seem to be any good reason to do so. I know they are going to end badly."
Pam Baddeley
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the third and final volume in the Arthurian retelling by Gillian Bradshaw, which has a post Roman Britain setting. Unlike the earlier books, this switches focus away from Gwalchmai (Gawain) and is told in the first person point of view of Arthur's wife, Gwynhwyfar (Guinevere). Also, unlike the others especially the first, this story includes no overt magic: the only lingering traces are the acknowledgement near the end of the presence of Gwalchmai's 'magical' horse of the Sidhe and his u ...more
Ozymandias
I was really hoping that this book would continue the winning streak from Kingdom of Summer but - alas! - it’s borrowed the problems of Hawk of May and mixed them with the few problems that developed after and then threw in a whole new set. Making Guinevere the protagonist was a huge mistake. Think about it: what is her role in the Arthurian mythos? Does she really do anything? Is she ever at the center of events? The main enemy is and always has been Mordred. Guinevere’s just a distraction. ...more
Arthurian Tapestry
When I started the "Down the Long Wind" trilogy, I would have placed it as one of those series that proves rewarding after one has gotten through the other modern Arthurian classics such as those by Mary Stewart and Rosemary Sutcliffe (to mention only two). But, having completed the last book in the series, I place Bradshaw right up there on the first tier. "In Winter's Shadow" is an Arthurian novel that stands out among the very best I have read. At first, I was put off by the choice of yet ano ...more
Juan Gallardo Ivanovic
In Winter's Shadow reveals the last part on the Down with the Long Wind trilogy. Gwynhwfar has been Arthur's wife for long, managing the whole of the day-to-day tasks and activities in Camlann but she also sees the coming threats that are beyond such activities. After allowing Medraut to enter Camlann, he gains influence in the Family and becomes a large power even without revealing his secrets. As Arthur's becomes more concerned by this fact, she will feel isolated and she will try to find sola ...more
Kat  Hooper
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars, Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

In Winter’s Shadow is the final book in Gillian Bradshaw’s DOWN THE LONG WIND trilogy, an elegantly written historical fantasy about King Arthur that’s inspired by the Welsh legends. While the first two books, Hawk of May and Kingdom of Summer, have focused on Gwalchmai (Sir Gawain), this last novel is written from Gwynhwyfar’s perspective. You certainly don’t need to read the previous books to fully appr
...more
Annette
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh I have adored it. It seems like forever since the last time I've enjoyed an Arthurian novel so much... Not that I do not enjoy the genre, I do. But after you read many books with the same subject, you're bound to be disappointed by many of them. Anyway, that's not the case.
I even liked this book better than its prequel, that was pretty, but not exactly my favourite around (its Gawain was a tid bit too far from canon to be my favourite).
Let's go with some order.

This is an account of the Fall
...more
Melanti
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, 2014
Reading the conclusion of any series about King Arthur and Camelot is a rather daunting prospect - even more so when you are reading a version from Queen Guinevere's point of view.

I'm hiding the rest of the review under a spoiler tag because it technically is a spoiler if you're not already familiar with the legends, but the story is so well known I can't be bothered to separate the spoiler bits from the safe bits.

(view spoiler)
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I liked this book quite a bit more than the first two volumes of Bradshaw's Arthurian trilogy. I said in the reviews of the other two books that I not only didn't feel those first two books were standouts among Arthurian-themed books I had read, but that I preferred Bradshaw's straight historical fiction. And I do, even though I am a lover of fantasy--even high fantasy. Nevertheless part of the reason I liked this so much more is that this novel does read much more like historical fiction than f ...more
Joy
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
The last half of the Arthur's story is always hard for me to read. Some authors even put a happy spin on it. In this version the slow decline into chaos is narrated by Gwynhwyfar and her tragedy is made very real.

It is a much more sorrowful version, detailing the slow decline of the court and the painful awareness of the venom of Medraut, Arthur's bastard, is creating; but none can stop it honorably. Gwynhwyfar is a less romanticised/glamorized and much truer to what a Roman descended, educated
...more
Francisco
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Narrada en primera persona por la reina Guinevere la historia sufre de una etapa romántica casi insoportable. Hay espacios donde las reflexiones sobre la infidelidad con Bedwyr hacen pensar que Bradshaw quiere que tengamos lástima por los pobrecitos amantes, con su apogeo en el discurso de Gwalchmai sobre qué no era maldad pues lo hicieron sin intención. Que manera de casi arruinar una historia! Al final, lo mismo: buenos y malos, honores resumidos y la rehabilitación a través del sufrimiento. E ...more
Cody Cramer
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book, sad towards the end, I loved the first two and the last one just ripped me apart I haven't had a book do that in a long time.

The story was paced slower than the first two but it made the final chapters that much more real because of the way the book started.

I have not read many books about king Arthur or any Arthurian tales, but now I seriously continuing to follow this type of story and would gladly accept any book the comes close to the caliber or exceeds it.

now i have to take my l
...more
Jeanette
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Arthurian era book. I really did enjoy it. The only thing I really stumbled on is the names. I eventually came up with nicknames for each character. Sometimes I would catch myself sounded the names out in my head instead of reading the sentence in front of me. The battle scenes were a little much and bordered on boring in certain parts. But on the whole the book was great. The last 100 pages I read in one night all at once. I could not put the book down until I knew what happen ...more
Terric853
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
The fall of Camelot as told from Guinevere's point of view. From what I've read, this story is more aligned with the Welsh version of the tale than the traditional English version. In this version, Gwynhwyfar tells about falling in love with Bedwyr, Arthur's warlord, while Arthur is in a moral funk stemming from the knwoledge that his evil son, Medraut, was borne to Arthur's sister, who tricked him into an incestous tryst. (He didn't know she was his sister.) The love story didn't ring true for ...more
Thalia
Dec 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthurian
Book Three. I liked this one best of all as it was the most complex, and possibly because it was the most familiar. We sort of lose Gwalchmai as the primary focus on this one and instead are in the midst of Medraut and Arthur and Bedwy as well. A few things bothered me though. I found Gwen and Bedwyr's relationship contrived. And because that resulted in the big changes in the story it fell a little flat. And the ending was anti climactic...I hate that! Personally, I find this trilogy, definitel ...more
Kate
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Book three in this Arthurian trilogy was told by Gwynhwfar and presented the tale from a different perspective. The fates of characters from books one and two are revealed and not surprisingly what ultimately happens to King Arthur remains shrouded in the mists of legend. Bedwyr, one of Arthur's key commanders, assumes the role of Lancelot. This trilogy is ultimately a tale of the struggle of Britain during the 4th century between the light and the dark with Britain sliding into the Dark Ages.
Jen
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Good Reads First Reads Winner
This was the first Arthurian book that I have read, and this was the third book in a trilogy. The story is told from the point of view of Gwynhwyfar and centers on how she brought down her own empire. It was a great read, but not very uplifting. I like Gillian Bradshaw’s writing style and am interested checking out in what else she has written. I won this book in a good reads first reads contest.
Gisela Dunn
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The heartbreaking ending to an unforgettable retelling of the Arthurian legend. Even though I read the first two books in the series many times over, I did not have the courage to read this third one a second time...the beauty and sadness were overwhelming. The only other time I felt this way about the ending of a series was when I closed The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm going to go through the series again, and this time, I will read all three. Be strong, my heart.
Clare O'Beara
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This ends the Arthurian trilogy which was very well written and full of lively characters.
I thought that the end was too sad, and that the fact that the kingdom had held out against the Dark Ages for just long enough for the monks from Ireland to collect and save all the books, was not stressed enough. This is a personal story told by the Guinevere character, who fell for a trick and for the wrong person.
My favourite is the first book Hawk of May.
Elise
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
So sad...so so sad. Of course, you know what's going to happen the whole time, but the torment and anguish of the characters comes alive. I love Bradshaw's retellings of history and myths and I love that she adds more to the classic story without making it unbelievable. The characters are real with real flaws (which I am SO happy that they acknowledge their own weaknesses). Although this chapter of the Arthurian legend is full of grief, Bradshaw made it fresh and unexpected.
Nadine Sutton
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my favourite of Gillian Bradshaw's books. I Like others but am not really well up enough on classic history to know how accurate they are. And I think she's written rather too many, and its hard for me to remember which is which. But This is one of her early works and gives us a realistic Guenevere, and realistic telling of the Arthur story.
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Born in Arlington, Virgina, Gillian Bradshaw grew up in Washington, Santiago, Chile and Michigan. She is a Classics graduate from Newnham College, Cambridge, and published her first novel, Hawk of May, just before her final term. A highly acclaimed historical novelist, Gillian Bradshaw has won the Hopwood Award for Fiction, among other prizes. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and their four ...more

Other books in the series

Down the Long Wind (3 books)
  • Hawk of May  (Down the Long Wind, #1)
  • Kingdom of Summer