Elaine of Corbenic is a young woman doing whatever she can to keep herself, her brothers and her father from starvation. She is alone since her father is unable to understand the dire circumstances they find themselves in. Her older brother, crippled in a joust by Sir Lancelot du Lac, is now a bitter drunk; unable or unwilling to live with what fate has dealt him. Elaine feels responsibility weighing her down; the peasants are starving, the keep is falling down around their ears, and there are no marriage prospects on the horizon.
Chance finds Sir Lancelot getting lost and passing by Corbenic on his way from a tournament. Hiding his legendary true identity, Lancelot discovers the Corbenic family despises him, a sentiment he can understand, but is dismayed over. This turns to introspection about the callous way he has treated others in the past. Discovering that Elaine dreams about Gawain, not himself knocks Lancelot down a few pegs, and when he begins to fall in love with Elaine, he longs for the simple life she and her family live. He cannot stay, he is bound by enchantments, he has pledged to use his superhuman strength to defend his King and country, and must return to Camelot. When Lancelot is wounded in battle, it is Elaine who nurses him back to health; the Lady of the Lake abandoned him when he broke his vows to her, so she withdrew his invincibility. The Lady has plans for Lancelot, which doesn’t include Elaine, so she separates the lovers. Lancelot and Elaine must stand together to break the enchantments, and have a life together with their son, Galahad.
A spectacular fresh approach to the legend of King Arthur and Lancelot, Gwen Rowley has written an exciting medieval romance to find a place on many “keeper” shelves. The wonderful sense of time along with some creative license gives this story a new direction; answering questions surrounding the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere, and re-casting the characters in a fresh new romantic adventure.
The chemistry between Lancelot and Elaine was an emotional and vivid presence throughout, while the bitterness of Torre was so well portrayed; I felt a part of his bitterness, the challenge of his daily life and could well imagine the trials and tribulations of the day. KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE: LANCELOT is a highly recommended read; I savored every word.