AD 573 - The Battle of Arderydd. Signe Pike’s THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM (Lost Queen #2) continues the story of Languoreth and her twin brother, Lailoken. Set during the very beginnings of Christianity, The Forgotten Kingdom continues to spin the tale of Lailoken (otherwise known as Merlin) and his lesser known twin sister, Languoreth. Wary of the new religion, their family believes in a different God and the old ways of their ancestors. After the death of his father, Rhydderch has become King and Languoreth is his Queen!
"Togetherness was our bargain. Allegiance until the end."
In the Battle of Arderydd, the House of Pendragon of which Lailoken was a member was decimated. Although this major battle has been mostly forgotten as Languoreth became “The Forgotten Queen”, the survivors of which there were only nine found shelter in a cave in the Caledonian Wood. With her uncle Angharad, the youngest daughter of Languoreth, who was to be taken safely by her father, Rhydderch, the leader of the opposing forces, back to her mother, Languoreth, but was not. Thus, Angharad became lost to her mother.
The different perspectives in this book are well written in that it's immediately obvious whose perspective you're reading even if you skip the identifiers on the chapter title page. As mentioned, I loved the Lailoken and Angharad chapters immediately, and the Languoreth chapters grew on me. Angharad's chapters were my favourites. The timeline was not consistent across the POV shifts, however. Dates are given on chapter title pages but with three perspectives and several years' worth of time difference later on in the book, sometimes those leaps back and forth in time got a little confusing. Most of Lailoken's chapters, for example, follow the outcome of the first battle we see with relatively little fast-forwarding, but by the time Lailoken has only progressed a couple of months from that battle, we've already read a much older Angharad. Some POV shifts required the mental flexibility to realize which parts we had just read will actually be in the future for the character we are now reading.
Overall I enjoyed this book. As mentioned, Languoreth's POV grew on me and Lailoken and Angharad were great from the beginning. My opinion of this title improved along with Languoreth's chapters. At this point, I rate THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM a solid 4 stars out of 5 and I look forward to book three. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction or fantasy.
The story continues in The Forgotten Kingdom, the second book in the epic Lost Queen trilogy, already hailed as “Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan, author of Things We Say in the Dark) and “The Mists of Avalon for a new generation” (Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Golden Wolf).
AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.
In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”
Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.