(1956- ) US writer whose reputation in the fantasy field rests mainly on her first work, the Gawain trilogy: Hawk of May (1980), Kingdom of Summer (1981) and In Winter's Shadow (1982), assembled as Down the Long Wind: The Magical Trilogy of Arthurian Britain (omni 1988 UK). The venue is a Land-of-Fable post-Roman Britain, skewed from mundane history mainly through the presence of patterns of Magic normal to Arthurian tales, and through a sense – central to Arthurian work of any seriousness – that the Matter of Britain is being addressed. Gawain himself is a man of decent (though not irreproachable) instincts, caught up in the dynastic and cosmological war between Arthur, representative of the Sun God on Earth, and Gawain's own mother, Morgause, who is identified as a Witch and as the Queen of Air and Darkness. Any Christian element imposed upon later versions of the Arthurian Cycle is treated here with reserve. GB's style is literate and plain-spoken, though frequently eloquent; and her sense of Britain nicely balances Legend and historical verisimilitude.
Much of her subsequent work – like Horses of Heaven (1991), which has some fantastication – lies in the field of historical fiction. Some of her later tales – like The Dragon and the Thief (1991), The Land of Gold (1992) and Beyond the North Wind (1993) – are historical YA fantasies. [JC]
Gillian Marucha Bradshaw