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Publisher's Summary

'Gwenhwyfar, daughter of Ogyrfan Gawr, Bad when little, worse when great...'; Britannia, 481 AD. 

Artorius has reigned as High King for two years. After his shattering victory at Mount Badon, an uneasy peace reigns over the land. The squabbling British kingdoms cling on in the West, while to the East the Saxons under Cerdic lick their wounds, waiting for a new generation of warriors to grow to manhood. 

Artorius is still unmarried, and faces increasing pressure from his nobles to take a wife. When civil war threatens, he finds a bride in the person of Gwenhwyfar, eldest daughter of the King of Powys. In return for his promise of protection, Gwenhwyfar agrees to marry the High King and live with him in the new British capital at Caerleon. Wolves circle the royal couple. Britannia is threatened by Scotti pirates ravaging his coasts, plundering at will, and carrying off treasure and slaves. Artorius raises an army and sails to Hibernia, where he plans to defeat the Scotti tribes and capture the fabled Cauldron of Annwn. 

With the aid of Bedwyr, Gwenhwyfar is left to rule in his stead, and must survive assassination attempts and savage barbarian invasions. Book Three of the Leader of Battles series chronicles the rise of Gwenhwyfar, better-known as Guinevere, Queen of Camelot. Drawing on Welsh folklore, the glory and tragedy of Sub-Roman Britannia are seen through the eyes of a woman who struggles to control her own fate, even as darkness begins to fall over her husband's kingdom.

©2015 David Pilling (P)2018 David Pilling

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not Quite Camelot

This is NOT your standard telling of the King Arthur legends nor is this the Guinevere of romance, but a sturdy medieval princess unused to frequent bathing, a tall, plain woman of 16 when we meet her. From the title we learn that this is the third in a series, although clearly the events herein tell their own story. Disguised in what I'd guess to be their Welsh variants, I recognized most of the character names found in the various accounts of the times, but the battles and events don't quite coincide with the musical version. We are treated instead to a strong and robust description that, especially as narrated by Paul Jenkins, pulls us into history and its sights, sounds, and smells--an exciting and real-feeling re-creation. Be sure to listen to the afterword where author David Pilling explains his research and the origins of the events he recreates. Imaginative!

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Love it!

I have truly enjoyed the 2 books in the series that I have listened to. This book is no different. Excellent plot, fantastic narration and a look at where the Arthurian world sprouted from. Well worth the time and credit.


This book was provided at no cost for a fair and honest review.

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A strong female character

I won’t go over the synopsis since audible does a good job. This book focuses mostly on Gwenhwyfar. She is a tall, strong-willed, clever woman who cares about her people. Although she marries Artorius for the promise of protection, she makes the perfect match for him. She does not take a backseat when things get tough.

This is the third book I’ve read/listened to by this author. I have already listened to Leader of Battles Book 1, Soldier of Fortune Book 1, and would love to listen to Leader of Battles Book 2 to fill in the gaps. I’d like to try listening to anything else he’s written.

This is the third book I’ve listened to by this narrator and I would definitely listen to another. I think he is a wonderful narrator. He gives every character a distinct voice including the women- they are well done. Listening is like hearing a story told or watching it happen, not listening to a story being read.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review

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Ruthless moments, intriguing portrrayal

I received this audiobook in exchange for a fair review and I leave this review in exchange and willingly.

This was a really solid audiobook. I came into this series in book 3, but the books looked sufficiently like stand-alones to me since each focuses on a separate character. I am really glad that I took this chance. This is far from my first exposure to the story of Gwenhwyfar (the Welsh spelling of her name intact for this book, though it has less bearing in audio. Welsh names are used in this.) but I enjoyed that the author would take a chance on telling her story. There were definitely times that were highly focused on the king, but I felt that she was portrayed well in general and that it is clear the research that went into this retelling. Some of that work is detailed at the end of the book, and the next book will continue the story. I felt that there was a good balance in this book and it was engaging. The narration was also very good and didn't lag in any way. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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A different take on Gwenhwyfar

This is a different kind of tale about how Gwenhwyfar grew up and met Arthur. The traditional tale has Merlin and the sword Excaliber, this tale has nothing about Merlin or Excaliber and Arthur is really Artorius. Artorius (Arthur) goes to judge a dispute between her sisters husband and her rights to the land of Powder. He decides to give the lands to her sisters husband and marry Gwenhwyfar. Very interesting story and version of what could of happened so long ago. I received this Audio book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. Really enjoyed the story! Thanks!