Debra A Kemp, The House of the Pendragon I: The Firebrand

Published by Amber Quill Press, 2003

Reviewed by Angela Silliman

If you are interested at all in the Legends and Myths surrounding King Arthur then you might want to considering picking up <>I>The House of the Pendragon I: The Firebrand. This novel mixes several of the myths and original Celtic stories together creating its own unique Kimg Arthur atmosphere - one which works very well for it. But one thing is highly important here, King Arthur is not a major player - and that's what works so well for this novel and gives it a greater sense of its Celtic roots than anything else. While some traditions with the myth shall never die, Firebrand gives the story a new life, and a character who is interesting and well rounded - sympathic and strong - a perfect character to tell us what is happening to her and in the world of King Arthur during his reign and after his death.

The story centers, for the most part, on Lin, the lost daughter of King Arthur, and Dafydd, her brother (no real relation), a bard. We begin our story the night after the King has perished, but most of the action takes place in a flashback story Lin tells her young son. It is a very intense story, filled not with the high romance of the normal Arthurian tales, but instead with a dirty and realistic look at slavery, jealousy, and torture at the hands of those we consider to be evil - the always antagonists of any King Arthur story, Modred and his Mother.

The story of Lin's childhood that is told in The House of the Pendragon I: The Firebrand is compelling. The characters, even those in the background, are real and alive within the confines of the story. This makes the entire story more realistic and emotionally stirring. It should be on the must read list of almost anyone, but especially those who like the Historical myths of King Arthur - or other similiar materials. I personally can't wait for the next book in the series!

Published by Amber Quill Press, The House of the Pendragon I: The Firebrand is available in e-book in several different formats as well as trade paperback. Now, this may sound, well odd, coming from an editor of an electronic publication, but I highly recommend the paperback. It might just be personal preference coming into play, but there were many a nights, while reading this story, that I wished I could curl up in bed and continue reading. Sitting in front of the computer to read a novel just doesn't feel right to me. This book is a page turner, and I wanted pages to turn! However, I trust that many of you like e-books, what with them being cheaper than the trade paperback edition and usually a mass market edition would be - and they are more convient since you can take them anywhere much easier than carrying around a book.

Weigh your options when purchasing - decide what's best for you - but don't pass up Firebrand.

Firebrand is a finalist in the Best Historical Fiction catagory for the 2005 Eppie Awards. You can purchase Firebrand directly from Amber Quill Press at

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