Welcome to my stop on the THE LOST QUEEN by Signe Pike! I am excited to be posting an Review + Author Post.
THE LOST QUEEN Info
Title: THE LOST QUEEN
Author: Signe Pike
Pub. Date: September 4th 2018
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.
Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch’s wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear.
The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time.
About the Author
Signe Pike is the author of the upcoming novel THE LOST QUEEN (Touchstone, Fall 2018) the first in an epic historical trilogy.
Her memoir FAERY TALE: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World, was a “Best of 2010” Pick from Kirkus Reviews and received glowing reviews from Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Adventure Magazine, and renowned spiritual leader Marianne Williamson among others. Pike has been featured on WPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge” in an episode on enchantment along with Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, and A.S. Byatt.
She was born in Ithaca, New York and currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
Can you discuss your writing process for The Lost Queen, how much of the novel is fantasy and
how much of it comes from historical facts?
I’m obsessed with historical research and could do it no end. For me, it was the fictional aspect of The Lost Queen that was most demanding. I was a memoirist, so while I’d had to reimagine moments from my own life on the page, I’d never imagined doing it for someone else’s life – especially not a noblewoman who lived 1,500 years ago. So I began with what I was most comfortable with. I gathered all the historical events that occurred in Languoreth’s lifetime and drew out a physical timeline. The timeline carried over three pieces of computer paper taped lengthwise and I posted it on my office wall.
I knew those events were the major scenes that would drive the novel. After all, it was the actual historical events Languoreth experienced that made me want to write of her in the first place – the raids, battles, religious upheavals and the Anglo-Saxon invasions/migrations that ended up displacing so many Britons by the end of the 7 th century. My launching point was Adam Ardrey’s incredible non-fiction book Finding Merlin, in which Ardrey details his own research into the lives of Languoreth and Lailoken. With his blessing to write this book, from there I examined all the ancient texts
myself – The Welsh Triads, St. Mungo’s hagiography written by Jocelyn of Furness, all the old poems attributed to Myrddin, the king lists, The Annales Cambriae, etc. Then followed location visits to the historical sites in Scotland where Languoreth lived and would have visited. Lots of museums. Darkening the doors of local Scottish archeologists. Lots and lots more reading on the ancient Celts, early medieval society in the British Isles, books on religion, on the flora and fauna of Scotland, and then research into
what would have been indigenous. Research into archeology and ancient hillfort sites. Into how to build a curragh. Augery. Ancient cooking, cosmetics, weaving (I can’t help it, I find it dreadfully boring)… thelist goes on!
Only then did it feel appropriate to begin trying to slip into Languoreth’s skin and reimagine her life and her story. The history informs everything – it’s the skeleton of the book, the bones the story depends on. The fictional parts are the meat on the bones that brings the whole body to life. That’s where you have to sometimes to invent characters, like the children’s nursemaid, Crowan, or the mysterious Ariane. Those pieces are part of the muse-inspired inexplicable that finds you when you undertake to do the work.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike is the first book in a historical fiction that perfectly weaves fantastical elements with historic facts. Set in Wales centuries ago and centers around Languoreth, the twin sister of Lailoken, the man associated with Merlin.
This was a fierce, fantastical, wild journey through the life of a queen many don’t know about it. I loved pretty much every part of the book. I was drawn in from the very beginning and it does not stop from there. Pike does a great job making her characters jump off the page and gather in your imagination. The twins, Languoreth and Lailoken were the definite highlight for me. They were fleshed out well and I found their plot-lines more fascinating.
I liked that Pike was able to blend history with fantasy and deliver in such a crisp clean way with her writing. I didn’t find it muddled or confusing, and I enjoyed the journey she takes you from childhood well into adulthood. The world is lush and descriptive, and the characters well written and unique to one another!
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys books of both genres! You get a perfect blend of complex writing, fantasy/magic, adventure, war, and romance! Definitely a must read this fall!
Until next time,