In this version of the Arthur legend, there were three queens of the same name. Our heroine is the third of those queens. Gwen is a warrior's daughter who chooses to become a warrior herself. The book spends most of its meat in explaining who Gwen grows up to be, and why. She is chosen to be King Arthur's third wife as the admittedly-lesser part of a bargain about horses. I enjoyed the setting of the story as much as - if not more than - the contents, particularly because the clashes of religions and cultures were shaded in grays and golds rather than black and red. The story itself was... ok... but never really took off for me. Even without knowledge of the general topic, this story was rather predictable. One interesting note is that the book includes an explanation from Lackey about why she wrote the story, and the origin of her idea for the three queens.
I recommend this to light fantasy readers who don't get balled up about who is sleeping with whom, when, or why, and who can understand that adults have issues with the difference between being right and simply doing right. I absolutely do NOT recommend this to historical purists or grammarians.
Why I picked it: It was a Lackey-without-co-authors book that appeared to be a stand-alone. I'm not an Arthurian scholar, or even much of a fan. I think the Mary Stewart trilogy, The Sword and the Stone, Camelot, and The Once and Future King are about it for my knowledge of the topic. But I do enjoy a good Lackey story about 4 times in 5, so thought to give this one a try.
New-to-me Books for 2012
House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan, YA fantasy. 282 pages; hardback. 3/5 stars on Goodreads (3 = "liked it"), 4/5 stars on Amazon (4 = "liked it"); straight into the giveawaybox
Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey, Fantasy. 404 pages; hardback. 2/5 stars on Goodreads (2 = "it was OK"), 3/5 stars on Amazon (3 = "it was OK"); straight into the giveawaybox