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The Dragon Queen (Anglais) Poche – 3 juin 2003


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Cornwall, England

Tintigal, Year of our Lord 470

THE SHIP PULLED UP TO THE QUAY.

Above the fortress, rock frowned down on the two men standing on the deck. “It has never fallen to assault,” the captain told Maeniel.

“This I can believe,” Maeniel said, studying the formidable stone and wood walls at the top.

“Even Caesar did not care to besiege it,” the captain continued. “Or so it is said.”

Though spring had come to the continent, the wind in Britain still had a bite to it, especially the sea wind. Maeniel pulled his mantle more tightly around himself. He knew the captain was eaten alive with curiosity about him and his mission. He had declined to say more than absolutely necessary about it to the man. The people he served needed as much protection as they could get. Not simply from the imperial tax gatherers but also from the barbarian warlords who so willingly served the interests of those who monopolized the remnants of Roman power. The captain probably had friends in every port where the Veneti called. A man now might be hard put to get a letter to Rome within a year, but gossip spread like a brush fire.

“I was surprised when they gave me permission to bring you here,” the captain continued.

“I have business with Vortigen,” Maeniel said.

The captain laughed. “I love the way you say that, as though you were a man stepping out to a fair to purchase a horse. A small matter of business, nothing extraordinary. Vortigen is the high king of Britain, and he seems to know your name. Oh no, my lord Maeniel, nothing unusual about this situation at all. Big doings up there tonight, though. I have been ferrying important people out here all day, one after another. You will be the last. Enjoy yourself at the feast, my lord.”

Maeniel nodded and smiled.

“High king or not, I hope he knows what he’s doing—all those Saxons,” the captain said, spitting the word Saxon.

One of the sailors reached out with a hook and pulled the boat up against the quay, while two others began mooring her fore and aft to iron rings set in the stone.

“No!” the captain shouted. “Don’t. We will sail with the tide. I won’t remain here. Not tonight at any rate.” He looked up at the fortress through narrowed eyes.

The man holding the boat to the dock gave him a puzzled glance. “I thought you enjoyed the king’s hospitality.”

“Not tonight, I won’t,” the captain said. “And don’t ask me any questions about why.”

Maeniel jumped over the gunwales to the stone quay. “You are returning to Gaul, then?” he called back to the captain.

“Yes.”

“Come,” the man said. “All this trouble for nothing. We could at least stay the night. We might pick up a cargo.”

“No,” said the captain. “We will be in Vennies by sunrise. I’d prefer it that way.”

A dozen men were at the oars. The mate shrugged and pushed off with the boat hook.

“Put your backs into it!” the captain shouted to the crew. “We will be home by morning. You married men can chase your wives’ lovers out the window and get some sleep. We were paid in gold for this day’s work. Everyone will have a share.”

Then they were gone, drawing away on the evening tide.

Maeniel’s eyes closed. The sea wind brought a mixture of odors to his nostrils: salt, roasting meat, and other savory cooking smells; pitch from the torches being lit on the walls above him; the human odor of infrequently washed bodies living in close quarters on the rock, perspiration and perfume, the diverse odors of linen, silk, and wool. This was going to be an aristocratic gathering.

And something else was borne on the wind to him, something he didn’t want to intrude on his consciousness just now, a warning. Yes, a definite warning. Sometimes humans sense things also. Yes, he’d paid the captain in gold to bring him to Tintigal in the kingdom of Dumnonia, but the man might as well have remained and tried to pick up a cargo. In fact, the captain had not done too badly once Maeniel was in Britain, picking up other travelers along the coast and ferrying them out to the rock. But come nightfall, he began to grow nervous. Maeniel knew the signs very well. The hair on the back of the captain’s neck began to stir, as had Maeniel’s when he first saw the fortress. And the captain didn’t know why any more than Maeniel did. Left to himself, Maeniel the wolf would have cleared out. He wouldn’t have run exactly, but that “not right” feeling, when it wouldn’t leave yet wouldn’t be resolved, was something the wolf wouldn’t have wanted to play around with. But humans—as he was now—with their predetermined appointments and planned meetings left little room for a response to the shadowy awareness that haunted him, that haunted the wolf.

A serving man appeared at his elbow. He bowed. “My lord.” He was responding to Maeniel’s silk woolen tunic and heavy velvet mantle. “My lord, are you here for the feast?”

Maeniel nodded.

“The stairs are to your left. They will bring you to the citadel; but before you go, if you would be so kind, I must have your sword.”

Maeniel felt even more uneasy. He was tempted to say no, but in the growing gloom he saw two indistinct figures behind the serving man and realized they must be part of the king’s guard. “Will I be the only one who must yield up his weapon?”

The servant bowed again. “No, my lord. No one may bring a weapon to the king’s board, not tonight. They will be held in the strong rooms under the fortress and will be returned in the morning. They will all be under guard through the night.”

Maeniel unbuckled his sword belt. “I want to see where you take this,” he said.

The servant smiled, a little bit patronizingly, but said, “Certainly, sir.”

Then his eyes widened slightly at the sight of the hilt. It was wrapped in gold wire. A lot of gold wire, more gold than the servant had ever seen in his life. “It looks old,” he said.

“It is old,” Maeniel answered.

“The hilt—”

“The hilt is nothing. The blade is everything.” So saying, Maeniel drew half its length from the sheath. The torchlight shining down from the ramparts above woke rainbows in the steel.

The two soldiers behind the servant peered over his shoulder to look into the blade, for indeed, they could see their reflections there.

“Only the gods could make such a weapon,” one of them said.

Maeniel looked down at it sadly. “Not the gods but men made and wore it before the Romans came to Gaul. But no matter, please take care of it.” He handed belt, sword, and scabbard to the servant. “My teacher bestowed weapons on me. I cherish them.”

Then he turned and began climbing the stair. The servant walked ahead with the sword, the soldiers behind.

From the stair, Maeniel could look out over the ocean. The sun was only a salmon glow among the purplish-blue clouds on the horizon, but since a feast was in the offing, torches blazed everywhere. The serving man paused before they reached the top.

“The fortress was built in the form of rings, each higher level above but inside the lower.”

Here Maeniel encountered magic. He always seemed to do so when he least expected it. This ring had a broader area of open ground than the others, and it had been turned into a garden. Large square clay pans held food crops, and giant urns housed small trees and shrubs. A waist-high wall surrounded the garden, and the trees and vines flowed from troughs at the edge, hanging down so far that they almost reached the next level. There were roses—many roses—white, yellow, and red. Pomegranates, hazel trees, and berry vines, their long thorny canes draped over the rail. They were not in fruit but in bloom, white flowers scattered like stars among the vines. The clay pans were filled with herbs—rosemary; mints, which will grow anywhere if they have water and sun; pennyroyal; spearmint and the hairy apple mints—onions, leeks, garlic, cabbages, and mustards, their cross-shaped yellow flowers open to the night wind and sea air.

“A garden in the sky,” Maeniel said.

“Yes. Are you then an adept?”

“Adept?” Maeniel said, mystified. “Adept at what?”

“Magic, sir,” the serving man answered, then pointed to the soldiers. They were climbing the last flight of stairs to the inner keep above. “They don’t even know we are not with them, though they will announce your presence to the king. He will thank them for it. He is always polite and will not warn them that they are deceived.

“Most can’t see this garden at all, and those who can only think it is a quaint concept of the high king to keep a few pots of flowers and vegetables near his front door. I will conduct you to the hall of weapons.”

“Yes,” Maeniel said. “Beneath the rose.”

“Behind it,” the serving man corrected, for there were pots of white roses all along the inner wall.

Maeniel saw the wall and the entrance hidden by magic, and he and the serving man—by now Maeniel was sure he was no ordinary servant—stepped into it.

Was it morning or was it evening? He couldn’t be sure, and the wolf did not inform him. The sun was just over the horizon, driving long shafts of light into the mists drifting in the vast hall.

Vast, Maeniel thought. Why vast? The drifting mist was so thick he could barely make out the doorw...

Revue de presse

PRAISE FOR ALICE BORCHARDT

The Silver Wolf
"A daring and vibrant new voice on the female literary frontier . . . The Silver Wolf is a stunning initiation into a dark and dazzling realm."
--ANNE RICE

"A fascinating tale--brutal, ribald, engrossing, poignantly beautiful."
--JOHANNA LINDSAY
New York Times bestselling author


Night of the Wolf
"Mystical . . . Fascinating . . . Readers feel, breathe, taste, and love with the characters . . . Let yourself be drawn into this world."
--Romantic Times

"Borchardt's wolves have a sensuous intensity that matches the best suspense fantasy being written today."
--Kirkus Reviews

The Wolf King
"A beguiling and dark romantic fantasy . . . A powerful tale . . . Sensuous, provocative storytelling."
--BookPage

"Exciting from the first page to the last."
--Allscific.com


From the Hardcover edition.


Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 512 pages
  • Editeur : Del Rey; Édition : Reissue (3 juin 2003)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0345444000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345444004
  • Dimensions du produit: 17,8 x 11,1 x 3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 824.021 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Format: Broché
When I saw the sub-title "The Tales of Guinevere" for Alice Borchardt's "The Dragon Queen," I assumed she was going off in a new direction and since I was waiting for her next wolf book I just got around to reading it and discovering that it is, tangentially, a wolf book. What this means is that Maeniel is a character, albeit, a supporting character. He dominates the scenes in which he is present, but they are relatively few. This story is indeed about Guinevere, about to reach puberty and apparently intended to be the concubine of young Arthur, the summer King.
The most interesting part of this book are the ideas of kingship and queenship that drive Arthur and Guinevere. Borchardt may or may not be dealing with authentic notions of kingship from this period of history, but that hardly matters. The idea that the Dragon Queen has the duty of bringing her people a worthy king makes Guinevere a player in the power politics of her world where there is a growing need to bring order out of chaos. Reading "The Dragon Queen" is as much about finding out the rules of the game and the possibilities in play as it is about learning about the abilities and intentions of the characters. Consequently, Maneniel's presence is perhaps something of a hindrance because this book is certainly less grounded in the history of the times than "The Silver Wolf" or Borchardt's other novels. Then again, there is a logic to this, since Arthur and Guinevere are more figures of legend than Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.
Having read "The Dragon Queen" I keep asking myself one key question, and I do not mean whether Borchardt will ever have a book that does not have a quote from Anne Rice on the cover. No, my question is why is this story about Guinevere and Arthur?
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Amazon.com: 46 commentaires
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Interesting Concept, Hard to Read 18 mars 2004
Par J. Vilches - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Alice Borchardt presents an interesting take on the Arthur/Guinevere story in The Dragon Queen. Guinevere is the daughter of a Celtic queen. She is hidden from the arch-druid Merlin at an early age and is raised by a druid and family of wolves and werewolves. During the story, she grows into powerful magic and fearlessly confronts every situation that she is thrown into. Merlin and Igraine are cast as evil sorcerers who torment the young Arthur and plot for power. Guinevere and Arthur must navigate the trials that they are thrown into by Merlin and Igraine if they are to win their thrones and be reunited.
Borchardt paints a vivid picutre of Britian in the Dark Ages. She has no trouble setting up scenes of legendary castles and fantastic worlds populated with dragons and goddesses. However, the plot often bounces around abruptly, which may leave you confused about which characters you are following. I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs and pages until I figured out what was really happening. The dialogue is uneven and several of the characters can't seem to find a consistent voice or personality. The main characters are either near-perfect (Guinevere, Arthur, Maeniel the werewolf) or consummately evil (Merlin, Igraine) with little room in-between. While that isn't a showstopper in a good vs. evil tale, it would be nice to have a character the reader could relate to.
Guinevere's many adventures seem to have only one point: to give her more magical victories and allies. Arthur enters the tale about halfway through the book, and he is also launched into several trials. Arthur's courage and nobility are showcased during his struggles, but they don't seem to advance the plot. His adventures might acquire more relevance in the sequels. The concepts and twists added to the Arthur legend are fascinating, but because of the inconsistent dialogue and the abrupt transitions I was not able to settle in and enjoy the storyline.
16 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Outstanding! 28 décembre 2001
Par G. Greene - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is an absolutely fascinating tale of Guinevere, brilliantly written and told from the perspective that she was not just another pretty face, but a force to be reckoned with in her own right. Those who do not like tales of powerful women or the rewriting of a beloved legend may not like this book; however, Arthur is not slighted in this novel at all and proves himself to be a worthy consort, surviving trials of his own. The secondary characters, be they shape-shifting wolves, dragons, or Druids, are fabulous and extremely well-developed. A caution: It may be a bit unsettling to see Merlin as a villian, especially if you have read Mary Stewart's wonderful "The Crystal Cave" and its sequels.
Borchardt is an amazing story teller, and this book will leave you breathlessly awaiting the two sequels in the trilogy. Highly recommended!
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Dazed and Confused 13 avril 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I love fantasy books and I liked Alice Borchardt's previous wolf books and the Devoted books. But this book jumps from character to character, from story to story, from one "world" to the next "world" with very little in the way of transition, explanation or logic. I understand that this book is about "magical" things and events, but for goodness sake, I found myself wondering what the heck was going on WAY more often than is necessary. And I kept thinking that at the end it would end up making some sort of sense...but no such luck. Get Ms. Borchardt's other books and skip this one.
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Guinevere, the Dragon Queen meets Arthur, the Summer King 13 avril 2002
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
When I saw the sub-title "The Tales of Guinevere" for Alice Borchardt's "The Dragon Queen," I assumed she was going off in a new direction and since I was waiting for her next wolf book I just got around to reading it and discovering that it is, tangentially, a wolf book. What this means is that Maeniel is a character, albeit, a supporting character. He dominates the scenes in which he is present, but they are relatively few. This story is indeed about Guinevere, about to reach puberty and apparently intended to be the concubine of young Arthur, the summer King.
The most interesting part of this book are the ideas of kingship and queenship that drive Arthur and Guinevere. Borchardt may or may not be dealing with authentic notions of kingship from this period of history, but that hardly matters. The idea that the Dragon Queen has the duty of bringing her people a worthy king makes Guinevere a player in the power politics of her world where there is a growing need to bring order out of chaos. Reading "The Dragon Queen" is as much about finding out the rules of the game and the possibilities in play as it is about learning about the abilities and intentions of the characters. Consequently, Maneniel's presence is perhaps something of a hindrance because this book is certainly less grounded in the history of the times than "The Silver Wolf" or Borchardt's other novels. Then again, there is a logic to this, since Arthur and Guinevere are more figures of legend than Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.
Having read "The Dragon Queen" I keep asking myself one key question, and I do not mean whether Borchardt will ever have a book that does not have a quote from Anne Rice on the cover. No, my question is why is this story about Guinevere and Arthur? Of course, the fact that "The Dragon Queen" is the first of a planned trilogy is enough to suggest that at least the title character would make it to the final volume, but once you make it about Guinevere and Arthur we pretty much know the endgame, and while I definitely appreciate the idea of making Guinevere more than a trophy wife there has to be more of a payoff to this idea down the road, especially given that this Arthur seems more given to pragmatics than idealism. Additionally, there needs to be some sort of a significance to turning Merlin into a villain. However, at this point my enjoyment of the characters and the story has little to do with that fact it is Guinevere and Arthur. The only important thing is that I will be around for the rest of the tale.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Incredibly disappointing... 13 mars 2007
Par Tanari - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I tried so hard to give this book the benefit of the doubt--I read it cover to cover, even though it was at times almost physically painful. I usually avoid arthurian fiction because the topic has been done to death, but I was drawn in by the reviews and the beautiful graphic design of the cover. When it comes down to it, no one has mastered the arthurian legends better than Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I'd recommend any reader try the Mists of Avalon, rather than this grotesque disappointment.

READERS BEWARE! The editorial reviews LIE! I was suckered in by claims of historical accuracy (the San Jose Mercury News claimed that this book was "well grounded in the history, politics, and religions of the time...")

There's a certain smattering of genuine history, politics, and accuracy, but this book mostly reads like a childish flight of fancy... Or maybe a series of disconnected vignettes/short stories. I was unconvinced by the strange and apparently unintentional mingling of pagan and christian theology, and I have NEVER heard of a Celtic god names "Dis", much less any Celtic god of 'Hell' which is flatly impossible--Hell is, after all, a purely Christian invention. Even beyond the confusing religious aspects, the main characters are supposed to be children, but hardly ever act like it; they've even been hyper-sexualized in places, too, which is disturbing in the extreme.

To make matters worse, the plot rambles in strangely disjointed directions until I could no longer suspend disbelief. (Case in point: Guinevere is hauled back in time by a nameless goddess to fight a dinosaur. That's not what they call it, but that's essentially what the author described. And then, for no explicable reason, that dinosaur turns into a Greek faun.) If you are looking for a well-researched and legitimate alternative interpretation of Guinevere's origins, look elsewhere!

I found this entire book hard to follow--it flitted between characters and situations that seemed only loosely related. The 'magic' was not thought out, in as much as that it had no logical rules or structure. Strange things just happened, and the reader is left wondering why.

Let me just conclude by saying that this unfortunate impulse purchase was the WORST book I've read in years (I don't usually feel compelled to write reviews at all, so it's a testament to the negative power of this book that I actually took the time to do this!) It could have benefitted from a very diligent and strong-willed editor. And I have heard that Anne Rice prides herself on having her books published 'as-written' and with no editing... I wonder if her sister has made the same tragic mistake.

Sadly enough, I bought the Raven Warrior with the Dragon Queen, though I can't imagine ever forcing myself to read it.
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