The Betrayed is the third book in the Dawning of Muirwood trilogy by Jeff Wheeler. Wheeler’s take on the famous Arthurian legend is told from an unexpected viewpoint. Instead of following Arthur or Merlin, or even Guinevere or Lancelot, Wheeler builds his story around a young abandoned girl named Eilean. In the previous two books, Eilean found her affinity for magic, found her purpose in protecting her kingdom, and grew in her power. Now in The Betrayed, Eilean will find out if she can fulfill her purpose and save her home, or if it will all end in ruin.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by 47 North for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of The Betrayed contains some spoilers!]
The conclusion of a larger story from the Dawning of Muirwood saga
The Betrayed is the final book in the Dawning of Muirwood saga and it showed. I wasn’t aware that it was part of a larger series when I started reading it and I was a little confused for the first few chapters. I was eventually able to piece together enough of the back story to make sense of what was going on, but it took a little while. So while The Betrayed is certainly worth reading, I would highly recommend going back and reading The Druid and The Hunted (books one and two respectively) first. Now, assuming you have, and pretending I did, let’s continue with the review.
The Betrayed opens with a prologue that introduces us to the King Arthur setup. Of course, Wheeler uses slightly different names for everyone but the personality comes through clearly enough to see who each character takes their inspiration from. After introducing us to the Arthur idea, we switch over to Eilean and Hoel waking up on a beach. They’ve landed here after traveling through a magical gate that brought them into this new world, entirely different from their own.
Eilean and Hoel have two weeks to locate a magical book somewhere in this strange land and return to the gate that brought them here. If they fail to find the book and return in two weeks, the gate will close and they will be trapped here forever. Of course, the book isn’t just hidden, a powerful sorceress has the book. She also has a grudge against Madero. So getting the book and returning in time is going to be more than a little tricky.
A bit of magic
Luckily they have a secret weapon. Eilean knows magic, well some, and she receives messages from The Medium, a mystical entity akin to God. Eilean is really still a novice when it comes to magic. She knows enough to help them get along, but not enough to make their quest easy. And The Medium’s guidance is somewhat laissez-faire, sometimes messages come through loud and clear, and other times The Medium is less than talkative. Still, magic and divine guidance are always appreciated on a difficult quest in an unfamiliar world.
Another secret weapon they have is Eilean’s knowledge of this new world. Her mentor, Madero, used to live in this new world. He was the guardian, and later advisor, of King Andrew and he wrote an account of his life there. Eilean studied this tome so she knows the major players of this new world. She also knows generally where to find Madero’s magic book. So She and Hoel begin their search.
Enemies and allies in The Betrayed
As Eilean and Hoel travel through Leoneyis they run into all kinds of people. Some of them end up helping the travelers. Others not so much. Enemies are everywhere. Madero’s tome is a very powerful book of magic; some will do anything to access the power inside.
Worse than the enemies around them is the uncertainty between them. Eilean is falling in love with Hoel but she is very aware that before he was her ally, he was her enemy. She wants to believe that he’s truly on her side but she can’t help her suspicions. She comforts herself with the thought that The Medium wouldn’t have sent him with her if he wasn’t trustworthy but still doubts lurk. Eilean must decide who to trust and decide right. Or it won’t just be her world or Leoneyis that suffer, but both.
A familiar tale with some unexpected twists
So Wheeler uses the Arthurian legend as a backdrop for The Betrayed. The interesting thing is that the Arthur/Andrew tale is not really central to what’s happening with Eilean and Holt. They need to recover the book and they get caught up in the drama happening between King Andrew, his Queen, Sir Peredur, and Elle. The story isn’t about these characters but their actions complicate Eilean and Holt’s quest.
It was interesting to follow a story that butted up to such a well-known tale yet was totally new and unique. I really enjoyed the brushes with things that were so familiar but were being seen in a new light. It almost reminded me of the movie Forrest Gump. Forrest also brushes against and inserts himself into famous stories but the famous stories are not the focus of the movie. Similar feelings with The Betrayed.
The Betrayed is a new twist on an Arthurian legend
Jeff Wheeler’s The Dawning of Muirwood is worth finishing. If your interest is piqued by this review but you haven’t read the first two then read those first, then finish the series with The Betrayed. There’s plenty of magic and mysticism to satisfy any fantasy fan. And the thrill of something familiar being twisted into something new was a definite plus.
I admit that when I first realized it was another Arthurian tale I was a little turned off but as I continued to read I was pleasantly surprised. So if you like fantasy and magic, check out The Betrayed.
My Rating: 7/10