Local Author Signe Pike resureects Languoreth in her Lost Queen trilogy
Pike releases the second novel in her Lost Queen trilogy this month
If your vision of Merlin is of an eccentric bearded wizard teaching a gangly boy the wisdom he’ll need to become King Arthur, you’re in for a shock when you read local author Signe Pike’s The Forgotten Kingdom (Atria Books, September 15).
The novel is the second in The Lost Queen trilogy that follows the story of Lailoken—who through legend becomes “Merlin” —and, more importantly, his twin sister, Languoreth, who was erased by patriarchal history but is resurrected by Pike. As a reader, it matters little whether the powerful twins actually lived, but Pike, who has done extensive research, says there’s evidence the siblings did exist in real life.
“The battles are bloody, the impact of the fight scenes almost visceral. This is no treacly Disney tale.”
Set in sixth century Scotland, The Forgotten Kingdom focuses on a war that splits Languoreth’s family. Her husband and son march off to battle the Dragon Warriors, whose ranks include her twin brother and her secret lover. The Dragon Warriors also have been sheltering Languoreth’s young daughter, who is in training to become a Wisdom Keeper. But Languoreth is held prisoner in her hall and cannot reach her loved ones to warn or protect them.
The battles are bloody, the impact of the fight scenes almost visceral. This is no treacly Disney tale. The clash of Christian against pagan religions for primacy and power will resonate with today’s readers familiar with some of the more violent and zealous religious wars of modern times. The book offers a gripping look at the devastation caused by warring ideologies and creates a world where matriarchal love is a match for the fury of battle.
Languoreth’s husband fights for the newer Christian religion, while the Dragon Warriors practice polytheistic religions, and Pike captures the visions and magic that underlie their old ways.
Ironically, the clash of religions continues in how The Forgotten Kingdom is classified. “It’s categorized as historical fiction, but some readers assume it’s historical fantasy,” Pike says. “It’s interesting how if you have a fictional Christian character who prays and perceives their prayer as answered, the book is considered historical fiction. But if a pre-Christian character prays and perceives their prayer as answered, the novel is considered fantasy. Some people assume it’s fantasy because of the focus on the Arthurian legend and a pre-Christian religion many readers are unfamiliar with.”
Fantasy or fiction, readers will celebrate that Pike gives voice to Languoreth. Hear her discuss the trilogy and the research behind it during her virtual book tour launch at 7 p.m. on September 15, organized in conjunction with Buxton Books.