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by Debra A. Kemp
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Sequel to the EPPIE-nominated The House Of Pendragon, Book I: The Firebrand...In the long-anticipated second novel of her original House of Pendragon series, Debra A. Kemp continues the extraordinary story of King Arthur's estranged daughter, Lin.Adjusting from her life as an orphaned and abused slave to that of Arthur, the Pendragon's daughter does not prove an easy task for young Lin. She struggles to adapt and find her place within the sumptuous palace walls of Camelot. Her mother, Queen Gwenhwyfar, expects Lin to conform to the life of royalty and the duties of a princess, including an arranged marriage. But having survived the cruelty of life as Modred's slave, Lin wants more than a tedious life of weaving and gossip within the world of women. Rejected by her cold, unloving mother, Lin seeks the role of training to become a soldier.Her fighting spirit meets resistance at every turn. Can Lin prevail as a recruit in the Pendragon's army? Or will her past return to haunt her?
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813Literature English (North America) American fiction
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Lin was raised as a slave, and it wasn't until she was twelve that she learned the truth: she is the long-lost daughter of King Arthur, whom everyone believed died at sea as an infant. Her aunt, Queen Morgause, had kept Lin as a slave and allowed her son, Modred, to torture and rape the girl as he pleased.
Now, Lin is free and reunited with her father.
The homecoming does not go as Lin would have liked. Her mother, Gwenhywfar, had given Lin up to Morgause many years earlier, and still seems disinterested in her only child. Lin is an immediate disappointment to her mother, partly because she is unskilled in the needlework that ladies in King Arthur's court engage in. The girl makes an effort, but must put her foot down when Gwenhywfar announces that Lin should soon be married to one of the insufferable high-born young men who visit the castle.
What Lin really wants is to join her father's army, which she would have been able to do if only she'd been born a boy.
Unexpectedly, Arthur allows his daughter to begin training with the boys who wish to be soldiers. Lin must work harder than anyone else to prove herself. She also has to deal with four of Queen Morgause's sons who are serving at Camelot. Lin had known them all while enslaved to their family, but they had never paid enough attention to a mere slave to recognize her now. Lin must hide both her true identity and her hatred for them in order to succeed in her training.
THE RECRUIT is an excellent second installment in the series about a young girl who learns that she is much more than just an orphaned slave. Like the first book, it should appeal to readers who are familiar with Arthurian legends, as well as those who are not. The characters are well-drawn and the situations are compelling.
Lin is a likeable heroine who faces her many challenges head-on. She stands by her convictions, but is not afraid to admit her mistakes and learn from them. Hints of the illicit relationship between Lancelot and Arthur's queen add an extra dimension to the story that should appeal to all readers, whether or not they know what that relationship leads to.
Like Book #1, THE RECRUIT might not be appropriate for younger readers because it contains adult themes, including rape and drunkenness. Fortunately, this book seems to have overcome the biggest problem with THE FIREBRAND. In that first novel, Lin's agony as a slave continued throughout most of the book, as things just grew progressively worse for her.
Here, Lin's problems are tackled and beaten one at a time. Her mother is nearly as cold and cruel as Morgause had been, but Lin is not forced to live under Gwenhywfar's thumb for very long. She is now a free person with powerful allies, so she can move on and confront other challenges. There is no shortage of difficulties for Lin, but her strength and intelligence keep her from being trapped by any of them for very long.
This highly recommended book is an exciting continuation of Lin's story as she struggles to follow in her father's footsteps. Hopefully, future books will continue her journey. She is a character who seems to have much more to say. ( )