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Gillian Bradshaw

Gillian Bradshaw(1956- )
Gillian Bradshaw grew up in Washington, Chile, and Michigan. At the University of Michigan she did joint honors in English and Classics, and won the Hopwood Award for Fiction, the Bain-Swigett Prize for poetry in traditional form, and the Phillips Prize for Classical Greek. Then she went to Newnham College, Cambridge, in the UK, to read Classics. She married a physics professor. They live in Coventry and have four children and one grandson. Learn more at Gillian Bradshaw’s website.

Hawk of May: A beautifully written story about Sir Gawain

Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw

I thought I was tired of Arthurian Legend and I’ve avoided reading one for quite a while now, but Gillian Bradshaw’s beautifully written story about Sir Gawain has changed my mind. Hawk of May takes place early in Arthur’s career and is inspired by the Welsh legends of King Arthur, the Sidhe, and Cú Chulainn. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Bradshaw’s DOWN THE LONG WIND trilogy.

In Hawk of May, we meet Gwalchmai, son of the Morgawse, the beautiful sorceress who hates her father Uther Pendragon, and who seduced her half-brother Arthur years before. Morgawse is the wife of Lot, one of the kings of Britain who, now that the Romans are gone, are engaged in a power struggle amongst themselves and are simultaneously trying to fight off Saxon raiders. It seems that Arthur is the only man who realizes that all the in-fighting must stop and the kings must band to... Read More

Kingdom of Summer: Sir Gawain’s story continues

Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw

In Kingdom of Summer, Gillian Bradshaw’s second novel in her DOWN THE LONG WIND trilogy, Gwalchmai (the Welsh version of Sir Gawain) is traveling Britain in search of Elidan, a noblewoman he fell in love with off screen. He wronged her eight years previously and hasn’t seen her since. (We didn’t see any of this happen in the previous novel, Hawk of May, but he tells us the story near the beginning of Kingdom of Summer.)

During his travels, Gwalchmai stays with the family of the farmer who helped him in the last book. Rhys, one of the farmer’s sons, is fascinated by King Arthur and his band of warriors, so he asks Gwalchmai if he can be his servant. Gwalchmai accepts him and takes Rhys to Camelot before they set out again to be King Arthur’s ambassador to King Maelgwn, who Arthur distrusts.

When they get to Maelgwn’s court they dis... Read More

In Winter’s Shadow: Tragic and painful

In Winter’s Shadow by Gillian Bradshaw

In Winter’s Shadow is the final book in Gillian Bradshaw’s DOWN THE LONG WIND trilogy, an elegantly written historical fantasy about King Arthur that’s inspired by the Welsh legends. While the first two books, Hawk of May and Kingdom of Summer, have focused on Gwalchmai (Sir Gawain), this last novel is written from Gwynhwyfar’s perspective. You certainly don’t need to read the previous books to fully appreciate In Winter’s Shadow, but if you’re a fan of the time period or the legends, you’ll probably want to read Hawk of May and Kingdom of Summer at some point. They are lovely historical stories.

In In Winter’s Shadow, Gwynhwyfar gives us some of the history of the Roman Empire... Read More

Horses of Heaven: Historical fantasy with an unusual setting

Horses of Heaven by Gillian Bradshaw

Gillian Bradshaw’s Horses of Heaven is a historical fantasy set in a place and time far from fantasy’s beaten path: central Asia in 140 B.C. It takes place in the kingdom of Ferghana, which was once on the eastern fringe of Alexander’s empire. Now, Alexander is long dead and Ferghana is an uneasy mix of Greeks and native Sakas. The widowed King Mauakes makes a political marriage with a Greco-Bactrian princess, Heliokleia, but he is abusive toward her and their marriage is a disaster from the start. When Heliokleia instead falls in love with Mauakes’ handsome son Itaz, and he with her, the situation becomes as incendiary as Greek fire.

It’s a time and place where many ideas and philosophies competed for dominance, and there are many debates within these pages: the merits of Buddhism vs. Zoroastrianism vs. the Greek pantheon vs. Saka sun worship, for example, a... Read More

More historical fantasy by Gillian Bradshaw

The Dragon and the Thief & The Land of Gold — (1991-1992) Ages 9-12. Publisher: In ancient Egypt an unlucky young man meets a wealthy dragon and together they find dangerous but exciting adventure.

book review Gillian Bradshaw The Dragon and the Thief The Land of Goldfantasy and science fiction book reviewsbook review Gillian Bradshaw The Dragon and the Thief The Land of Gold

Magic’s Poison — (2011) Publisher: There was once a terrifying empire based on the magical power of the venom of a race of serpent-men. The empire fell, and the serpent-people are all extinct. Or so the world believed… Marin had never expected to be in the middle of the biggest magical crisis for two centuries. A peasant by birth, she was uncomfortable enough with her noble status as a Guardian, charged with policing the use of magic — even though her district, the White River, was a mere backwater. However, a renegade sorceror in that same backwater district somehow obtained a supply of a notorious magical poison—the venom of a race of serpent-people who’d been believed extinct — and it’s up to Marin to stop him. It obviously won’t be easy: the last people to use that poison ended up ruling the world. Afraid for her life and aware that the governor of her own district has already been bewitched, Marin turns to the duke of the neighbouring province. When the duke’s expedition arrives in the White River, however, the situation becomes ever more complex. The sorceror’s poison-enhanced power is greater than they’d feared; the natives of the region are threatening war; and the king’s son, a bitter rival of the duke, is planning his own descent on the region. The serpent-people turn out to be nothing like what Marin expected, and the struggle over what to do about them has implications she’d never imagined. As if this weren’t enough, Marin realizes that she’s fallen in love with a duke. A simple farmgirl is out of her depth — but then, so is everybody.

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book review Beyond the North Wind Gillian Bradshaw novelBeyond the North Wind — (1993) Ages 9-12. Publisher: The Greek god Apollo sends a talented young magician on a quest to stop an evil queen from exterminating a small tribe of griffins.

book review Gillian Bradshaw The Wolf Hunt novelThe Wolf Hunt — (2001) Publisher: Love, betrayal, and lycanthropy in the time of the CrusadesThe Wolf Huntis a breathtaking and romantic adventure. When Marie Penthivre of Chalendrey is abducted and taken to Brittanys court, she vows to never dishonor her family by marrying a Breton. There is only one who might change her mind: Tiarnn of Talensac, a handsome and noble knight… and a werewolf. But Tiarnn marries someone elseand when his new wife learns of his secret, she betrays him. When the widow joines forces with Tiarnns enemy, Marie realizes something is dreadfully wrong. Only she is clear-headed enough to rescue Tiarnn and return him to his rightful statusbut can she do so before it is too late?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Sun’s Bride — (2008) Publisher: Spring, 266 BC. When Isokrates, helmsman of the Rhodian warship Atalanta, encounters a pirate vessel off the Lycian coast, he finds himself caught up in affairs of state more deadly than the naval battles hes accustomed to. Among the pirates victims is a beautiful woman, the mistress of a king, who is fleeing to her lovers enemy with news that will start a war to engulf the whole of the east…