Prince of Dreams
The author of Queen of Camelot and Grail Prince returns to the Arthurian mythos with this retelling of the story of Tristan and Essylte. Tristan, son of the slain king of Lyonesse Meliodas, is a brilliant young fighter in the army of his uncle Mark, current king of Cornwall and Lyonesse. Although Tristan desires nothing more than to serve his uncle, Mark is convinced that Tristan poses a threat to his rule, and sends him to Wales, land of the enemy, to retrieve his uncle’s betrothed bride Essylte. Unfortunately, her mother, Queen of Wales, is determined that the match should not happen and creates a potion which will force Tristan and Essylte to betray themselves with each other, which they do. Caught between conflicting loyalties, the lovers begin a desperate series of deceptions and betrayals that will eventually destroy the lives of nearly everyone around them.
McKenzie does an excellent job of portraying the obsessive passion between the two lovers as one decision after another leads them down an inexorable path towards betrayal and despair. She brings to life the characters around the two, such as Branwen, Lancelot and Iseulte of the White Hands. Also brought to life is the political struggle for the rulership of Britain, which interacts with the characters and motivations in ways that make the outcome even more inescapable. A fine addition to the canon.