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This was the WORST arthurian novel I have ever read. There may be worse written books around but not one of them made me roll my eyes and grumple in anger like this one. I found it sexist, boring and full of lazy writing.I’ll address the boring part, first. The first and the second book of the trilogy are far better, in my opinion, especially the second book where Hume amazed me with wonderful and exciting descriptions of battles and war strategy. In this third novel there is a mix of different themes and many things felt too slow, in my opinion or as if Hume wasn’t really sure what to add or what to do with her characters. Still I liked how she managed th Grail stuff and the quest, it was an original idea even if it left me confused in some parts (was it supernatural? Was is just human obsession?). Talking about things I liked, I like Bedwyr and Percival because their character are really pleasant and interesting and so was Taliesin who was a clever way to use an old arthurian character often ignored.Talking about things I didn’t like. (view spoiler)[I didn’t like Mordred. Mordred is (among with others) the main villain of the book but his character seems to wander without purpose for half the book. He is at court and it almost seems like his purpose (and Hume’s purpose in the narrative) is for him to seduce Guinevere and one can expect them to work together against Arthur… instead it doesn’t happen. It nearly happens but it doesn’t, as if Hume realized at the last minute that she didn’t like that kind of plot or she didn’t want to make Guinevere completely bad. Mordred is also the perfect example of lazy writing. He is evil for evil’s sake. He wants the crown, yes, but he is also a sadistic pedophile who rapes boys and girls all around and who killed his own mother. Quite lazy because Hume used this SAME characteristics (sadistic, pedophile, matricide) for the character of Kay who was the villain of the first book and the second part of the second book.Another reason for defining this book lazy is Arthur’s pain. Arthur’s pain is always the same: his wife Guinevere is a “stupid slut”, he feels old, he lusts for Elaine (Bedwyr’s wife) and he is nostalgic about his dead wife Gallia.The book almost lead us to believe the greatest danger is for him to become like Uther, but again Hume seems to change her mind at the last moment, leaving us with Arthur as he was at the beginning of the book. Instead his pain is mostly associated with memories of Gallia, lazy memories I’d say because instead of using these memories to add something to the plot, Hume only scatters around sentences like “suddenly Arthur tought of Gallia, his perfect wonderful wife, and he was sad”. This stratagem is often used after Arthur has a confrontation with Guinevere.The other women are divided into Sluts/Saints. Only Morgana seems the ecception but she appears in only a couple of pages. Guinevere is in the slut category. Every page is an occasion for the characters and the narrative to offend her with sexist slurs. Everything is her fault and the characters give her the fault. Even when she refuses to go to the nunnery to protect herself (before Camlann) the narrative justifies this refusal as “she refused to see the reality” or something like this, instead of accepting her reasons. Instead the memory of perfect Gallia, the memory of perfect Anna, the rare moments with Nimue- these women are all saints. Elaine is considered a saint too and all these women have in common is their acceptance of hard labour, how not-interested-in-fashon-and-jewels they are, how elegant and simple, gentle and caring they are while Guinevere is bitchy, cold, protesting and in love with jewels and tacky dresses.Elaine in particular was an horrible character, in my opinion. She is the simple, gentle, void character, I couldn’t even understand how she was supposed to be, actually. The only thing I understood was that she was the good one, that Arthur loved her, that she lost herself in the snow (Guinevere’s fault again) and Arthur had to come and save her. And then they slept together and Elaine insisted a lot while Arthur didn’t really want to betray his friend Bedwyr. Elaine insisted and she was wonderful and needy and other awful sexy descriptions.Another thing that disappointed me was how Hume avoided the most interesting moments. For example, when Arthur sleeps with Elaine, Bedwyr is away and when Bedwyr returns the reader (or at least I wanted it) wants to read the confrontation. How will Arthur say it to Bedwyr? How will Bedwyr react? Instead Hume decided to use a simple description of what happened on the lines of “Arthur called Bedwyr and he told him. Bedwyr was angry etc. etc.” when the confrontation would have been much more satisfying.I could talk for hours in disgust about this novel. I’d also like to add that miracously Hume managed to take my four favourite characters in all arthuriana and turn them into her worst characters: Sir Kay and Sir Mordred are both sadistic perverts who like to rape and kill and killed their mothers, Guinevere is a slut, she is stupid and egoistic and too interested in fashon and jewels, Galahad is a Christian obsessed snob and quite rude who gets some sort of redemption only when he realizes the danger of the Grail and he basically dies. (hide spoiler)]

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