Title: Finding Camlann
Author: Sean Pidgeon
Release Date: January 7, 2013
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Thriller
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Despite the fact that the myths and legends of King Arthur are rooted in our culture, they’re just that—myths and legends. There’s no actual proof that this king ever existed. Archaeologist Donald Gladstone, however, believes that Arthur did exist and when he stumbles upon evidence that could confirm this, he sets off on a quest along with linguist Julia Llewellyn, following clues that might lead to one of the greatest discoveries in modern history.
If you’re a fan of Arthur lore and legends, Finding Camlann is an absolute must read. It’s as simple as that. The ultimate quest of finding out whether King Arthur existed, once and for all? It’s absolutely enticing, and this literary thriller lives up to that promise. It’s gorgeously written and easy to read, yet readers will want to play close attention, as Pidgeon litters clues and tidbits throughout the novel’s pages. This makes for a fun, engaging read that will have you hooked.
If you’re not an Arthur fan? If you like puzzles in your books, you would probably still enjoy Finding Camlann, but there are so many references to the history behind Arthur, to the locations and little things that only someone who’s read a lot about the man would know. Pidgeon clearly did his research before writing this novel, and as a result, it’s very believable. There are no secret societies waiting in the shadows that have made off with all the evidence, as so many of these types of books devolve into. This is a literary novel first and a thriller second; as a result, it mirrors real life, which many readers will appreciate.
The characters in Finding Camlann are rich and well written. Donald is a determined archaeologist, and his drive is admirable. Julia’s job at the Oxford English Dictionary is fascinating, and it’s clear that she’s been damaged by her past. Indeed, her past is an important subplot in the novel, one that Pidgeon works in seamlessly. Julia may be a difficult character for some readers, as she sometimes acts selfishly, but she’s realistically flawed and fully fleshed out.
Finding Camlann is mainly set in Wales, and this beautiful country provides a stunning backdrop for this novel. Pidgeon’s love for the scenery is clear; he describes the setting with such care. It provides a wonderfully atmospheric feeling about the novel that doesn’t disappoint. It’s beautifully written, well-plotted, and absolutely fascinating, with the history it incorporates. Lovers of Arthurian lore shouldn’t hesitate with this one.