Monday, April 16, 2012

Blog Tour Review: The Dragon's Harp by Rachael Pruitt

From the Back Cover:


Before Gwenhwyfar became Queen - before Arthur met Merlin - a tribal Welsh princess met a young Heatherlands Mage. Together, they will create a legend.

Inside a mist of beauty and brutality waits the Arthurian legend as you’ve never heard it before. Enter the world of THE DRAGON'S HARP, a realm of blood lust and vengeance, of spellbinding magic from the beginning of time. The realm of Princess Gwenhwyfar: a young girl torn between magic and desire, born with magical powers she can either wield to save her people from destruction - or deny to save her soul.


First in a five book series of historical fantasy, Rachael Pruitt’s unique take on a beloved legend reintroduces the mythic characters of Gwenhwyfar, Merlin, and Vortigern against the gritty backdrop of sixth century Wales, where scenes of shape-shifting and heartbreaking romance vie with torture, murder, and battle in a dragon-haunted land.

My Thoughts:

This is the first in a series of five novels spanning the life of one of history's most enduring legends, Gwenhwyfar. You may be thinking, does the world really need another Arthurian novel? For me the answer is always a resounding YES! With such rich fodder for the imagination and virtually no rules, readers and writers are free to dig in and let themselves get carried away. And when Gwen takes the starring role, I'm on board. No matter which version of Gwen we've encountered, I think every girl who hears of her has been captivated by her story at some time or another, and I am no different. But I always worry when I start a new Arthurian novel that it won't live up to the visions of Gwen and Arthur I've created and hold in my head, and I've met a couple that didn't. The Dragon's Harp is not one of them!

I'm not going to go into plot for fear of spoiling anything, and there are some aspects of this Gwen's tale that you may not have seen anywhere else. I will tell you that I loved everything about it. I don't usually like reading about child protagonists, but Gwen lives in a world where children have to grow up quick and there were plenty of adult intrigues to keep me satisfied until Gwen grew a little older, and Gwen is everything you would expect the only daughter of a fierce Welsh warlord to be. I loved the dichotomy of her parents--so different from and yet so devoted to each other and to their family and their empire. I loved Pruitt's version of Merlin and the weaving of Druid lore and forest magic with the emerging faith left over from the Romans, that of Cristos, and the clashing of old ways and new--and the reemergence of an ancient evil. The story is full of rich supporting characters; the setting in fifth century Wales comes to life in all its mystical, savage beauty; the period detail, the mixture of fantasy and reality, good and evil--it's all blended perfectly in a story full of twists and turns that is both heartbreaking and triumphant.

I had some minor issues with some repetition and word usage, but nowhere near enough to detract from an excellent story that I could not put down and did not want to end. Gwen began the book as an innocent headstrong, eight-year-old and finished as a wary fourteen-year-old on the cusp of womanhood, having already witnessed more horror and sorrow than anyone should, and there's only more in store for her as she grows up and takes her place in Arthur's world. If I'd had the second book, I would have started it immediately. As it is I can't wait to get my hands on it! This is seriously the best self-published novel I've read to date, and I highly recommend it for Arthurian fans and historical fiction and fantasy lovers.

My Rating: 5 Stars out of 5


Rachel has generously offered one copy of The Dragon's Harp for one of my U.S. readers! Simply leave a comment with your email address and you're entered! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59pm, Monday, April 30th. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected. Stay tuned for more great giveaways!

The Dragon's Harp is on a blog tour!
Click here to view the tour schedule.
Click here to visit Rachel Pruitt's website.


  1. I loved this book too. I echo your thoughts on Gwen as a child, she was still readable and loveable. And I am also ready for book number two!!

    1. Thank you so much, Allison..and, as you know, I'm hard at work on "Harp's" sequel. Thank you also, Allison, for your wonderful review in March! Have a fantastic spring :)

  2. At first five books about the Arthurian sounds daunting but if the first is excellent, I'm totally in. I'm willing to give this a try - even if it is self-published. - thanks for the giveaway too!

    1. Thank you very much for your interest, Jessie! If you'd like to check out sample chapters of my novel, you can find them on my website (", follow the "writing" link. Thank you again!

  3. Thank you, Jenny, for your wonderful review of my novel, "Dragon's Harp"! Like you, I am a big fan of the Arthurian genre & I'm so glad my "take" on Gwenhwyfar and Merlin worked for you! I also do assure you, I'm hard at work on it's sequel, "Dragon's Breath" :)

    It's my pleasure to participate in your giveaway. In the meantime, if any of your readers who would like to check out the first 3 chapters of "Harp", they're available on my website ( the "dragon's door" marked "writing" :) Thank you again for your gracious time & review--I'm thrilled you enjoyed "Harp"! Have a fantastic week.

  4. This fascinating book would be a treasure. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. The Dragon's Harp sounds captivating and special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Sounds like a wonderful saga. If the first 3 chapters are any indication, I am in for all five books!

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

  7. I've recently read a couple of Arthurian series and can't seem to get enough. I love the different interpretations. Thanks for this giveaway.

  8. I love love love Arthurian legend books! Thank you so much for the giveaway, guys!

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. definitely sounds like something i would llike to read......

    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  10. What an amazing book! Excellent review

  11. This sounds like a TBR for me. Thank you for the review and giveaway!

    PhoenixCarvelli at gmail dot com

  12. Can't wait to read it, thank you Elaine

  13. I enjoyed the review. Sounds like a good book.



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