Guinevere, the Legend in Autumn: Book Three of the Guinevere Trilogy

Written by Persia Woolley
Review by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Persia Woolley’s final book of the Guinevere Trilogy, The Legend in Autumn, first appeared in 1993 and is being reprinted. Not having read the two prior books in this trilogy does not present any problems for this reader. The familiar story is enough to go on, and Woolley’s skillful delineation of Guinevere’s character makes this tale, though familiar, once again epic and haunting, in many ways like Marion Zimmer Bradley did in The Mists of Avalon. Told from Guinevere’s point of view, the final section of Arthur’s quest comes to vivid life as the queen’s struggles, both internal and external, reach the inevitable climax.

Filled with deftly crafted characters of low and high degree, Woolley breathes life into the story as Guinevere must choose how to best serve Arthur’s purpose – a strong, united Britain. While once the threats to this vision were outside Camelot, now those closest to Arthur endanger his dream – his son, Mordred; his best friend, Lancelot; and Guinevere herself. As Guinevere’s moira (fate) runs it inevitable course, readers will once again witness the conflict between the old gods of the Celts and the new religion of the White Christ. Once again they will experience the divided love Guinevere has for her husband and her champion. Once again, readers will savor the rich world of early Britain, when spirits moved in the trees and magic emptied itself into the world, sometimes wreaking havoc, sometimes sowing peace.