Spear by Nicola Griffith
The girl knows she has a destiny before she even knows her name. She grows up in the wild, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake come to her on the spring breeze, and when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she knows that her future lies at his court.
And so, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and, with a broken hunting spear and mended armour, rides on a bony gelding to Caer Leon. On her adventures she will meet great knights and steal the hearts of beautiful women. She will fight warriors and sorcerers. And she will find her love, and the lake, and her fate.
AUTHOR: Nicola Griffith (narrates the audiobook as well)
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Audio
LENGTH: 176 pages (5 hours 43 minutes)
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s), Gay/Achillean Secondary Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s).
SPEAR is a wonderfully queer addition to Arthuriana, the protagonist filled with a hunger for belonging and a willingness to put in the work to achieve the rightness she can feel in her bones.
I'm delighted by the characters I could recognize, they feel full and vibrant even when they are not the focus. The pacing is unhurried, allowing quiet moments to take up precisely the space they are due, only occasionally breaking into action and danger. It has grief and joy, each having space in their turn. The author narrated the audiobook and did an amazing job. The words flow easily and her performance enhanced the already excellent story.
Having reached the end I'm contented by the time I spent with this book, and I'll happily spend time again.
CW for sexual content, grief, sexual assault (backstory), sexual harassment (brief), ableism (brief), blood, violence (graphic), injury detail, cannibalism (not depicted), animal death, suicide, parental death, death (graphic).