An Arthurian tale with a female twist
Seeing a new Nicola Griffith novella coming out put a spark in my heart. Spear is an Arthurian tale with a female twist which makes it even more amazing. The main character, Peretur, is raised in an isolated cave deep in a forest, warded by her mother’s magic. Her mother is deathly afraid of the two of them being found but never reveals why. Finally of age and disguised as a man, Peretur treks to the outside world, driven by a quest that is not even clear to her. She is not like others and her uncanny abilities in battle and her free way with wildlife keep her safe on her journey to seek out King Artos and his city.
It’s a short book but rich in detail. There’s never a wasted phrase or interaction. There are good action scenes and the pace ebbs and flows artfully. Everything is a brick carefully laid out. Peretur has several love interests, all women and they feel perfect in the moment, especially when she finds her true love. In poor hands, Peretur could have come off as distant and overly larger than life, but Griffith writes her as a humble soul so she is easy to like and I was invested in the outcome.
The author states in the afterword that King Arthur stories are essentially fanfic with each person adding their own spin which makes sense. This is a wonderful addition. Nicola Griffith introduced me to w/w stories in the 1990s with Ammonite, The Blue Place, and Slow River. I will forever be a fan but this book is a small treasure and I would recommend it anyway. I already bought the audiobook and am looking forward to listening to Griffith’s narration as well. 5 stars