Pike investigates the legend of Merlin in 'The Lost Queen'

"The Lost Queen: a Novel" (Touchstone), by Signe Pike

Building on the fascination of Camelot and other Arthurian tales of nobility and magic, Signe Pike debuts the first novel in her new trilogy. "The Lost Queen" is a story of bravery and sacrifice told from the perspective of a strong, powerful woman who helped shape the man who inspired Merlin.

Languoreth is the daughter of royalty. Having been raised in the manners of the Old Way of her ancestors, she and her twin brother, Lailoken, fight to keep their family's traditions alive, including the sacred role of Wisdom Keeper, or divine healer.

Languoreth is destined to fall in her deceased mother's footsteps and longs to be a Wisdom Keeper. But since her father is king, her duty is first and foremost to her people. As Princess of Cadzow, she knows that once she comes of age, she will be forced to marry for the benefit of the kingdom.

During this unsteady time, Languoreth's arranged marriage must be strategized. The rise of a new religion, Christianity, leaves uneasiness among the people and sometimes bloodshed in its wake. The borders are threatened by Anglo-Saxons, yet one set of emerald green eyes keeps Languoreth steady in the storm. A forbidden love with Pendragon's top soldier, Maelgwn, gives her something to hold on to after her wedding day, even in the darkest of times.

Although she's a dutiful wife, Languoreth's love for her husband is no match for what she feels for Maelgwn. She finds herself longing for the companionship of her beloved twin brother, scared that someone will find out about her affair and conflicted that her husband is bending toward Christian ideas instead of the Old Way. When war is threatened, and Maelgwn stands on the opposite side of the battlefield to her husband, Languoreth knows that she must take matters into her own hands and fully utilize her title as the queen.