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Camelot's Shadow

(The Paths to Camelot #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  896 ratings  ·  63 reviews
A stunning tale of romance and magic set against the legendary backdrop of King Arthur's court. At nineteen the beautiful Lady Rhian is clearly of marriageable age. But her father seems reluctant to give his blessing to any of her suitors. When she discovers the true reason for this -- that in return for her mother's life he promised her to a sorcerer -- she runs away to j ...more
Unknown Binding
Published November 1st 2005 by Not Avail (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  896 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Aug 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 whose SF I like but who
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’ve read this several times now, and I always go back and forth on it a little. Initially, I think I was a teeeeeny bit ashamed to be caught reading something that is a romance in both the modern and the medieval senses of the word. Then I included it in my dissertation and had to think about it critically. And now… now I get to read it just for pure fun. Which is great: it makes me realise how much this version of Gawain is exactly what made me love the character in the first place, and that t ...more
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
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Sep 03, 2008 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 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Silver Petticoat
Read this entire review and others at The Silver Petticoat Review: IN CAMELOT’S SHADOW BOOK REVIEW – RISA AND GAWAIN’S ROMANTIC STORY

Review by Mandi Harris

Overall Rating = 5; Romance Rating = 5

In Camelot’s Shadow by Sarah Zettel follows the story of Risa of the Morelands as she escapes a terrible fate. Before her birth, her father promised her to an evil sorcerer to save her mother’s life. When she learns of what he has done, she seeks to escape. There, fate puts her in the path of one of Camelot’/>Overall/>Review
I like all of the ideas that go into this book - the fusion of the story of the loathly lady and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the way women have agency in this book, and even the changes to the story of Dame Ragnelle, and the interpretations of the characters (from sharp, thorny Kay, wise Guinevere, and Gawain, who manages to be both honorable and a bit of an idiot). I like the sense in the book that happy endings are something you have to earn - love isn't enough on its own, but you have to ...more
Kiri Kayrooz
This one has sentimental value as it is part of a series that I started reading as a teenager. As a teenager I liked fantasy, romance, and reworkings of other stories so this book would've ticked all the boxes back then!

Lady Rhian is ready for marriage but frustrated because her father refuses to give his consent to any suitor. Rhian is devastated to discover that her father cannot give his blessing because she was promised years ago to a sorcerer in order to save her mother from death. When sh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Billed as an Arthurian romance I was intrigued to give it a go having not read a fantasy novel in a long time. First of a series which I didn't realise. Very disappointing. Silly plot, heroes can do no wrong, to the extent I didn't care what happened to them. Won't be reading the next one.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
I’m not really a romance reader but I do love anything Arthurian and these 4 Camelot books by Sarah zettel really hit the spot. I loved them all!
Mikayla Hatch
Apr 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn’t get into it. DNF.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this enough to keep it, admittedly it's pretty predictable, but I liked the characterization and the heroine wasn't limp and useless which helped.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Eh, not my type since it's a bit too heavy on the romance and the "perfect man" and "perfect woman" and the "perfect couple". Dunno if it's my version, but could do with another edit.
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. While it was somewhat of a slow start, I'm glad I pushed through. I loved this retelling of Sir Gawaine and very happy to realize there is a sequel!
feux d'artifice
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
an utterly tedious and boorish read. if it weren't for the fact that this was a book club book, I definitely would have stopped after a couple pages.
i'm retroactively changing this to five stars even though it is by no means perfect - but it was quite formative for me re: romance fiction, arthurian fiction, historical fantasy, which in my brain is pretty much the same thing as being perfect. hot tip for authors, if you get to me early enough i will continue to harbour deep affection for your books forever
Nat Parsons
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. Sh
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
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 as "clas ...more
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
Aug 26, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
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 wh
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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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

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)