Though I’ve been reading a bit too slowly for my tastes recently, I finally finished Finding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon. I think one of the reasons it took me so long to finish reading it was because it was hard to follow. Let’s rewind a bit so I can fill you in on the plot.
Set in Wales, the novel revolves around Donald, an archaeologist who wants to dispel the myth of King Arthur. When his rival finds a burial site that is linked to the legendary king and Julia, an old friend introduces him to an old Welsh poem, Donald is compelled to solve the mystery of King Arthur. It’s part love story between Donald and Julia and part historical mystery about the ancient book of poems.
I tried really hard to like this novel but it was just too confusing. Julia and Donald are academics and they often discuss Welsh history or literature. For someone who is not familiar with those topics, it was hard to follow all the different authors, poets, and historical events. At points in the novel, the author attempts to educate the reader on Welsh history or literature (in context to Donald’s ruminations). These lessons felt awkward and I found my mind wandering.
The novel meanders around the plot line, with those awkward history and literature lessons. Perhaps as an American, I don’t understand how Arthurian legend permeates British history and thought. Maybe if I were shown more of it instead of jumping right into the mystery, I would feel compelled the same way Donald did about the ancient texts.
I wanted to love and embrace this novel because I love stories that bring the past alive. Unfortunately Finding Camlan didn’t do that for me.
Have you read this book? What’s your opinion on it?
I received a review copy of the book.