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The Lost Queen

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Mists of Avalon meets Philippa Gregory in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin. Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of Mists of Avalon meets Philippa Gregory in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin. Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever. Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear. The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time.


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Mists of Avalon meets Philippa Gregory in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin. Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of Mists of Avalon meets Philippa Gregory in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin. Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever. Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear. The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time.

30 review for The Lost Queen

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    There’s something magic about the past. I don’t mean the recent or immediate past, mind you—as the late, great George Carlin once noted derisively when talking about one-hour photo developers, “You just SAW the f@cking thing!” (Kids: physical photos used to be a thing; just take my word for it.) No, I mean a past beyond living memory, a time that can only be evoked through a combination of copious historical research and vivid imagination. Whether it’s the fog-shrouded streets of Victorian London, There’s something magic about the past. I don’t mean the recent or immediate past, mind you—as the late, great George Carlin once noted derisively when talking about one-hour photo developers, “You just SAW the f@cking thing!” (Kids: physical photos used to be a thing; just take my word for it.) No, I mean a past beyond living memory, a time that can only be evoked through a combination of copious historical research and vivid imagination. Whether it’s the fog-shrouded streets of Victorian London, the brightly frescoed walls of Renaissance Florence, the wondrous castles of feudal Japan, or the newly marbled columns of ancient Athens, the past, in the hands of a well-informed and skilled writer, becomes something you can truly visit, a place you can tangibly experience in the same way you would a trip to modern-day New York, Beijing, or Dollywood (okay, so, not all that much like Dollywood, because the only thing that one tangibly experiences there is a visceral desire to destroy every hidden speaker disguised as a rock that keeps pumping cheerfully bland country music directly into your cerebral cortex). Thankfully, sixth century Scotland is nothing like Dollywood, especially in the gifted typing fingers and nimble brain of Pike, who has fashioned—using the aforementioned combination of copious research and vivid imagination—a majestically sweeping story that feels as big as it does small. (Yes, I hear you over there, tapping your foot and muttering, “‘Feels as big as it does small?’” That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, and I’ve read some of your other reviews, Gibson…you’re as skilled at saying dumb things as the good people of Dollywood are at hiding speakers in such ingenious ways that it’s impossible to find and smash them.” Hang with me for a second.) What I mean by that is that it’s an epic story featuring legendary warriors, a long-forgotten Queen with an unbreakable spirit, the man who would be Merlin, and a host of opposing forces primed for a clash of ages. But, it’s also the intimate tale of closely connected siblings and the world they inhabit, and the level of detail—from the trees and plants they cultivate to formulate tinctures and salves to the simple but mouthwatering foods they prepare every day to the smell of sweat and leather that clings to them—makes it feel so incredibly lived in that the physical details linger long after you’ve flipped the final page. And this is only the beginning, the opening salvo in what promises to be a terrific triptych of tales. Perhaps the primary appeal for me is that it’s set at a time when magic was, if not real, something that was believed to be real, and that belief infuses the story with a wonder that transcends whatever actually happened historically to create something truly special. (I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t note that there are kissing parts. I mean, like, lady nethers getting hydrated kissing parts. Intense kissing parts. I mean, it’s not thrusing-your-purple-helmeted-warrior-into-a-quivering-mound-of-love-pudding kissing parts, but still…be prepared. And yes, you have to read the kissing parts, Fred Savage. They’re integral to the story.) Well worth checking out for all fans of historical fiction, epic sagas, family stories, and, yes, romance.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mellie Antoinete

    “War is not about victory. War is about survival.” This book was vividly amazing. Equal parts Outlander, Camelot and Game of Thrones, the characters are vibrant, the settings surround you and the story draws you right in. There were many a moment I felt like I was sitting on a hill learning from Cathan or in the yard training with the knife father gifted me all those moons ago. “In times such as these, when the people need a hero, so are such heroes made.” It’s funny how circular Langoureth’s st “War is not about victory. War is about survival.” This book was vividly amazing. Equal parts Outlander, Camelot and Game of Thrones, the characters are vibrant, the settings surround you and the story draws you right in. There were many a moment I felt like I was sitting on a hill learning from Cathan or in the yard training with the knife father gifted me all those moons ago. “In times such as these, when the people need a hero, so are such heroes made.” It’s funny how circular Langoureth’s story is. It all pinpoints to singular moments, unspoken choices, longed for dreams of a different life. Darkness colors the edges of the parchment just waiting to swallow the ink, and yet there is so much life, love and light keeping the darkness at bay that in the end, it boils down to a good story, woven in the richest of inks, and set with the sands of time. “We may not always have the choice we would like. But we always have a choice.” The book boyfriends in this novel are insatiable - be it the winter-eyed Rhydderch or the emerald richness of Maelgwn’s peepers. I would choose either equally and live out my days in happiness. Nope - I’d choose Maelgwn! His destiny is his own. Rhydderch’s “pulse is reserved for politics,” which often leaves him between a rock and a weak-assed coward of a hard place. But he’s got grit to him! I like it! Let’s meet, grab a coffee, see where there show leads! 😉 I believe you’re bound to surprise me in the end, Rhydderch my love (don’t let me down Signe!) “All leadership is blood.” Of course, I’m going to leave this with the desperatist of tones - This is by far the best #arc I’ve received and had the pleasure to consume to date! Could not put it down! The history burns from the page in all its bitter glory as if it only happened yesterday and I loved it. I loved every minute of it! Signe Pike is now an instant buy author for me! Bless you #netgalley! Preordered, place of honor, the whole nine stars! 💋 mwah 💋

  3. 4 out of 5

    Patti Henry

    An extraordinary historical page-turner. Pike brings a creative eye, unique voice and immaculate research to the world of historical fiction - the people and lands of this novel will not leave me. The Lost Queen is more than a book; it is a profound experience. Languoreth has emerged from the mists of Scotland to assume her rightful place on the throne where she belongs. I can not tell you how much I love this book -- I devoured it; I dreamt about it; I love it!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Now that I can no longer re-read The Mists of Avalon, and because I really liked the Sarmatian take on the Arthurian legends embedded in Gillian Bradshaw's Island of Ghosts, this is a very promising new series centered on an interpretation of the Arthurian stories originating in Strathclyde above the wall rather than Wales. Pike uses the freedom of a novel to reconstruct from a handful of mentions in historical documents, the life of a 6th century high queen at the center of transition between C Now that I can no longer re-read The Mists of Avalon, and because I really liked the Sarmatian take on the Arthurian legends embedded in Gillian Bradshaw's Island of Ghosts, this is a very promising new series centered on an interpretation of the Arthurian stories originating in Strathclyde above the wall rather than Wales. Pike uses the freedom of a novel to reconstruct from a handful of mentions in historical documents, the life of a 6th century high queen at the center of transition between Christianity and suprisingly unromanticized Druidic practice, and the piecemeal invasions of Angles and Saxons.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christine Spoors

    This is now one of my favourite books ever. I am so happy I found this book, a mix of Celtic folklore and historical fiction all in a book set around the Glasgow area in central Scotland where I live?! It's basically the book I've been searching for for years. If you're a fan of books like Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier then I definitely recommend. This book begins in the year 550 where we meet Languoreth and her twin brother Lailoken, they are the children of Morken, a petty King in This is now one of my favourite books ever. I am so happy I found this book, a mix of Celtic folklore and historical fiction all in a book set around the Glasgow area in central Scotland where I live?! It's basically the book I've been searching for for years. If you're a fan of books like Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier then I definitely recommend. This book begins in the year 550 where we meet Languoreth and her twin brother Lailoken, they are the children of Morken, a petty King in the Strathclyde area. This book follows the twins through their lives starting from quite a young age, I really liked that the author used quite big time jumps to keep the story moving at a quick pace. I love when we follow historical characters from their beginning. If you don't know much about Scotland around the 6th C I think this book explains well, of course with the author taking a few creative liberties which she explains well at the end of the book. I went into this book with an awful lot of background knowledge of this country, the area where I live and aspects of Celtic folklore, so it was just the perfect read for me right now. I can't explain how happy I am to have found this book, it really feels like the book I have been waiting for. This book has an absolutely gorgeous cover and a gorgeous map at the start, I saw on Goodreads that the sequel isn't out until May 2020, which is terrible news, but I will eagerly wait!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    This magical, historical tale, which is the first in a trilogy, had me glued to the pages. The setting is vivid, the characters vibrant, and the writing is beautiful. Set in sixth-century Celtic Britain, now known as Scotland, the story revolves around Arthurian lore, specifically Merlin. We follow Languoreth and her twin brother Lailoken, who we later know as Merlin. The story begins when Languoreth and Lailoken are ten years of age and have just lost their mother. Both children were born with a This magical, historical tale, which is the first in a trilogy, had me glued to the pages. The setting is vivid, the characters vibrant, and the writing is beautiful. Set in sixth-century Celtic Britain, now known as Scotland, the story revolves around Arthurian lore, specifically Merlin. We follow Languoreth and her twin brother Lailoken, who we later know as Merlin. The story begins when Languoreth and Lailoken are ten years of age and have just lost their mother. Both children were born with a gift and brought up in the Old Ways as their mother was a powerful healer and wisdom keeper. However, Languoreth is not able to follow in her mother’s footsteps as her father, the King, has demanded she marry for political reasons to secure the survival of the kingdom. This is essentially a coming-of-age story about Languoreth and how she navigates her way within a legendary royal family. I love being whisked off to another place and time and Pike’s rich, descriptive language really does the trick. We are transported to medieval Scotland’s beautiful countryside where Christianity is on the rise during a time of Druid faith and Languoreth knows she has to defend her family’s heritage even if it comes with consequences. I enjoyed the pacing of the story very much - the ebb and flow of it is perfect. Pike’s attention to detail is fantastic as she includes a character reference, phonetic pronunciations, a map, and an Author’s Note which is all very thoughtful and much appreciated. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, love Camelot and illuminating characters, will be enticed and enamored with this story, the story of the tragically forgotten queen known as THE LOST QUEEN. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve Donoghue

    A smart and thunderously readable debut work of historical fiction, and a promise of an immensely enjoyable series! Curious readers lured in by surface echoes of Arthurian mytho-history will find a LOT more going on in these pages. My full review is here: https://openlettersreview.com/open-le...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I had to force myself to finish this today. I’m happy to report that despite the anachronisms I really enjoyed the last 200 or so Pages... but those first 300.. oh man. What. A. Drag. This is about the man behind the myth of Merlin... more specifically, Merlin’s twin sister, Langoureth. Set in sixth century Scotland, we watch Langoureth grow from a child to a teen, and eventually an adult. I want to start by saying the “romance” in this book is nonsensical to the point of being comedic. I wish I w I had to force myself to finish this today. I’m happy to report that despite the anachronisms I really enjoyed the last 200 or so Pages... but those first 300.. oh man. What. A. Drag. This is about the man behind the myth of Merlin... more specifically, Merlin’s twin sister, Langoureth. Set in sixth century Scotland, we watch Langoureth grow from a child to a teen, and eventually an adult. I want to start by saying the “romance” in this book is nonsensical to the point of being comedic. I wish I was exaggerating. This is the absolute worst case of instalove I have ever seen. The author interpreted “Love at first sight” quite literally. By the end of the book I think they’ve actually spent a running total of four days together, and if you’ve only counted the hours of those days it’s probably less than 24 hours. Secondly, this is written like it was set in renaissance times.. with talk of royalty and princesses and cavalry and generals and Arabian dancers from overseas... To be fair to the author- for all I know, they did have such things in 6th century “Scotland”, but I for one have surely never read a book set in this time period that used words like that. The language could have used some heavy editing to make the book feel more authentic. At one point I read “fleece lined couches” and I sort of wanted to scream in rage. Yes, let’s gather the Knights of the Round Table in the great room by the hearth and set them on couches. Then we’ll grab General Lancelot and send him on a mission of chivalry. WTF. Sorry. Rant over. If you manage to stick it out, and can eventually let all that nonsense go, the book does become rather enjoyable. I’m so used to reading books set from the battlefield, that to see the women working behind the scenes to support husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. was a nice change. Even though the romance was ridiculous, I found the story itself quite romantic, and was able to just sit back and appreciate the making of Merlin and Uther Pendragon. The author did manage to include lots of Celtic rituals and lore and at least on that front, I do think she has done her research (although- as stated above, wth do I know). The characters were sort of flat and one sided. I did appreciate Elufed because I felt like you never really knew where she stood. I loved Ariane and Cathan but there weren’t enough of them. Some character’s stories felt unfinished. I also felt the author projected some rather modern feelings and ideas on to these characters, that again, wouldn’t have fit the time. So if you are itching for a lighter fantasy, another facet of Arthurian lore, this wouldn’t be a bad book to pick up. I do recommend you don’t go into it expecting authentic feeling history though. You’ll be disappointed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shomeret

    Signe Pike decided to re-examine the Arthurian Mythos when she learned that a man who appears to have been the historical Merlin had a twin sister. A novel focused on Merlin's twin sister would certainly be covering new ground. That's why I agreed to review The Lost Queen by Signe Pike when the publisher made a review request. I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Net Galley and this is my honest review. Languoreth is not portrayed as a medieval feminist. As a woman who was a daughter o Signe Pike decided to re-examine the Arthurian Mythos when she learned that a man who appears to have been the historical Merlin had a twin sister. A novel focused on Merlin's twin sister would certainly be covering new ground. That's why I agreed to review The Lost Queen by Signe Pike when the publisher made a review request. I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Net Galley and this is my honest review. Languoreth is not portrayed as a medieval feminist. As a woman who was a daughter of a King, she was constrained in her choices. She married the man that her father chose instead of the man she loved. She did this for the sake of her family. There was a great deal of tragedy in Languoreth's life. I felt compassion for her, and tried not to judge her. This novel is compared to The Mists of Avalon because it takes the perspective of a woman, and portrays the struggle between Pagans and Christians that was taking place during that period. Since it's the first volume in a trilogy, I will be interested in seeing how Signe Pike will put her personal stamp on her version of the Arthurian legend in future books. For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...

  10. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    I only needed to see this book marketed as a cross between Outlander and an Arthurian legend and I was immediately excited about reading and reviewing this one. This book is a debut novel and what a debut it is! I was blown away by the story and you need to immediately move this one up on your TBR list, the hype for this book is real. I was torn between devouring the book to find out what happened and slowing down because I didn’t want the magic to end. On it’s surface, this book promises all the I only needed to see this book marketed as a cross between Outlander and an Arthurian legend and I was immediately excited about reading and reviewing this one. This book is a debut novel and what a debut it is! I was blown away by the story and you need to immediately move this one up on your TBR list, the hype for this book is real. I was torn between devouring the book to find out what happened and slowing down because I didn’t want the magic to end. On it’s surface, this book promises all the great things that people love about Arthurian legend…..battles, magic, romance, and court intrigue. But at it’s heart, it’s more than just that. Pike explores the depths of religion—-Christianity meets the Old Ways—-and the impact it has on the characters and the landscape of Scotland. It’s a remarkable novel and to say that I am excited about the remaining books is a vast understatement. One of the things that stood out most in this story was the directness of the plot. Sometimes with epics (and certainly an epic legend of this magnitude), the authors tend to get caught up in sub plots and other details to bring authenticity to the story. Pike has a much more direct prose that gives the reader only the details that they need and lets the readers imaginations take over. For example, we meet Languoreth first as a young girl when her mother has just died, and rather the pour over her mother and their bond that they shared and spending too much time on this part, Pike touches on it and moves on but it doesn’t lessen the impact. She brings impact with symbolism rather than words. Much of the story continues in this way and it moves the story without letting it get bogged down by too much world building and epics descriptions and explanations. At first I was worried that the strange names and places would be distracting, I often struggle with names that I can’t pronounce. But the Arthurian legend and the characters are quickly evident so that the reader can recognize their characters and focus on the story rather than the names. This book is neither too short or too long…..it ends at just the right moment and doesn’t get overly long and detailed. At roughly 500 pages, it’s a very appropriate length and shouldn’t be intimidating to most readers. I was surprised that I read it as fast as I did. I was easily done in a few days and happily set down my other books in favor of reading this one. I can’t sing this books praise enough. It’s beautiful, enchanting, and a story that will stick with you long after you are done. Many have praised this book as a feminist Arthurian legend, and sure it has feminist qualities, but for me it was subtle and that was just fine. Had it been overly feminist, it would have had a ring of falseness when it came to a representation of the period. Pike has written an impressive debut and I am eager to read the next book in the series. One last thing…..that cover is to DIE for. Do not waste your money on an e-copy…..spring for the hard copy because it’s truly stunning and will find a place of honor on your bookshelf, both for the story as well as the cover. See my full review here

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book left me with pretty mixed feelings. First, the good: it's a pleasure to read something set in this early medieval period- a time that can seem so obscure- which really does make it a living, tangible, vivid place. The scenes of festivals in particular are wonderful: you are right there with Languoreth, smelling, seeing, and feeling all the magic, darkness, light, and nature. There were some inaccuracies that bothered me, given the author's claim to extensive research (whiskey being men This book left me with pretty mixed feelings. First, the good: it's a pleasure to read something set in this early medieval period- a time that can seem so obscure- which really does make it a living, tangible, vivid place. The scenes of festivals in particular are wonderful: you are right there with Languoreth, smelling, seeing, and feeling all the magic, darkness, light, and nature. There were some inaccuracies that bothered me, given the author's claim to extensive research (whiskey being mentioned frequently when distilled liquor came much later than the time period of this book, for example; Rome being discussed as though it were still a unified entity), but they didn't really interfere with the story. The plot was oddly paced sometimes (especially at the end), but generally clipped along; I read the book quickly. There were many vivid characters, though it was mostly the secondary ones that grabbed me. I didn't much care for Languoreth herself, but that's partly because the book builds up expectations for her that are never really fulfilled. It is constantly implied that she is clever, but in fact she is mostly foolish; she trains with a knife, but then fails spectacularly every time she tries to use it, and so forth. Still, you do get a strong sense of her feelings, especially her love for her family. However, in the end, despite the new setting for Arthurian stories, this is a very traditional fantasy, and I don't especially mean that as a compliment. It has some common tropes that really need to die. For starters, everyone good is slender and attractive, or, if they are men, very muscled, and every villain is fat, not able-bodied, or has some defect (an underbite, for example). We are even told that noble breeding is visible in peoples' faces. People are extremely gender normative. Even the people you might think would inhabit more ambiguous spaces- the Wisdom Keepers- are slender and beautiful (if women) or strong and muscled and sexy (if men). Second, hierarchy is rigid and constantly invoked. Noblemen are the only people that matter: slaves (who are usually called "servants," but occasionally referred to as slaves) are fawningly devoted if meant to be "good" characters, and disloyal if meant to be "bad." The noble characters spout lines saying that one can never trust a servant, because they are always envious, etc. You could say that since this book is told in the first person from a noble's perspective, we couldn't expect otherwise....and yet. There are ways the author could have avoided uncritically reproducing these attitudes, by having slaves that are real characters. The entire storyline of Desdemona infuriated me. She is introduced suffering and having suffered immense trauma, and she suffers this trauma seemingly for no other reason than to make us think she should be grateful to Languoreth. She is used and abused from then on; her desire for equality is presented as evil, and her desire for love as something to be mocked. Ugh, all around. So, an entertaining read in many ways. But I'm not sure I'll read the next two, because I don't think I want these same old fantasy tropes anymore.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)

    Languoreth and her twin brother, Lailoken, are the children of the king, but things aren't entirely happy in their household currently as they just lost their mother. Their father, being a 6th century king, is often gone for long periods of time, so the children find themselves at home with their tutor as well as druid who often takes care of them. One day, Languoreth encounters Ariane, a Wisdom Keeper, who pledges herself to Languoreth. This is just what she needs as she has been longing for a Languoreth and her twin brother, Lailoken, are the children of the king, but things aren't entirely happy in their household currently as they just lost their mother. Their father, being a 6th century king, is often gone for long periods of time, so the children find themselves at home with their tutor as well as druid who often takes care of them. One day, Languoreth encounters Ariane, a Wisdom Keeper, who pledges herself to Languoreth. This is just what she needs as she has been longing for a female presence in her life. Their world is unsettling as their are enemies are surrounding and consequently, the war brings many warriors to their home including Pendragon and Maelgwn. There's also the issue of Christianity reaching their shores and challenging their Celtic old beliefs. The Lost Queen by Signe Pike is an interesting start to a new historical trilogy giving readers a new perspective on the Arthurian Legend surrounding Merlin and his long-forgotten queen sister. Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    I have been a fan of historical fiction since I first read Katherine by Anya Seton in high school. The catch is finding good ones that transport you in time and make the time period come alive. This is one of those. I felt like I was in Scotland in the 550's with young Languoreth, daughter of a minor queen. This captures the Merlin legend that the author proposes actually happened in Scotland. Her twin brother is Lailoken, later known as Myrddin. Could this be the genesis of the legend of Camel I have been a fan of historical fiction since I first read Katherine by Anya Seton in high school. The catch is finding good ones that transport you in time and make the time period come alive. This is one of those. I felt like I was in Scotland in the 550's with young Languoreth, daughter of a minor queen. This captures the Merlin legend that the author proposes actually happened in Scotland. Her twin brother is Lailoken, later known as Myrddin. Could this be the genesis of the legend of Camelot? This is a time when Christianity is making inroads into the older religions and the Old Way and the Keepers of the Faith are being shoved aside. Lailoken is a Keeper of the Faith. It has not been easy to be a woman in history but Languoreth is spunky and learns the art of healing. She cannot be a Keeper of the Faith as she is destined to marry a son of a king who is slowly converting to Christianity. Languoreth is supposed to be the bridge to protect those who follow the Old Way. She is stubborn and hard headed and make mistakes and then you remember she is 15 after all. This is supposed to be part of a trilogy and I can't wait for the next one. This one ends as a cliff hanger as the army of her son and husband prepare for battle against her brothers. This is a very well written and researched book and tells an interesting story. I could barely put it down. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Strong start to a fascinating trilogy which has it's roots in Dark Age Britain. Eagerly awaiting the sequels.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    To say that I devoured this book would be a gross understatement. I read this book in record time and am left sitting here, wishing that I had more...so much more...from this author! The story itself was utterly incredible. The plot moved at a quick pace, with the story building upon itself seamlessly. The characters however...oh my goodness, the characters. The characters were created so beautifully. They were complex, human, raw, emotional and unique, and made their way into my heart permanent To say that I devoured this book would be a gross understatement. I read this book in record time and am left sitting here, wishing that I had more...so much more...from this author! The story itself was utterly incredible. The plot moved at a quick pace, with the story building upon itself seamlessly. The characters however...oh my goodness, the characters. The characters were created so beautifully. They were complex, human, raw, emotional and unique, and made their way into my heart permanently. Dear Signe Pike: You have a new forever fan!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Unabridged Bibliophile

    AGHHHHH!!!! So good!! Definitely in the top 3 that I have read this year and I have read some absolute killers. Please, Signe don't take 6 years to write the next one. I need to know if Maelgwn is going to be ok. Like, I honestly might cry if he doesn't make it and I don't cry reading books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Shatarevyan

    You know a book is that good when you can't stop thinking about it. First in a trilogy. Books 2 and 3 haven't been written yet, how am I to patiently wait? This is not exactly a book review, just me gushing because it's the type of book that enchants me. Beautifully written, well researched. And now I dream of going back to Scotland. Thanks to my colleague and friend, Tiffani, for giving me this book. She knows exactly the types of tales that capture my heart.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    1st. I had immense difficulty putting this book down. 2nd. It is superlatively written and researched. 3rd. The lost queen is a true historical figure. 4th. Her twin brother is connected to Merlin! Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen #1) allows the reader to enter 6th century Scotland and The Kingdom of Strathclyde where in The House of Morken reside 10 year old twins, Languoreth and her brother, Lailoken. Their father is high chieftain/petty king of Goddeu. This House practices religion 1st. I had immense difficulty putting this book down. 2nd. It is superlatively written and researched. 3rd. The lost queen is a true historical figure. 4th. Her twin brother is connected to Merlin! Signe Pike’s The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen #1) allows the reader to enter 6th century Scotland and The Kingdom of Strathclyde where in The House of Morken reside 10 year old twins, Languoreth and her brother, Lailoken. Their father is high chieftain/petty king of Goddeu. This House practices religion - The Old Ways with Wisdom Keepers (Druids) and festivals of Beltane and Samhain. Also found in The Kingdom of Strathclyde is House of Tutgual in which the reader meets Tutgual, king of Strathclyde ( I did not like this one!), his wife, Elufed, a Pict, and two sons. Tutgual is sitting on the fence in relation to The Old Ways and Christianity-attempting to ‘get’ the best of both, I think. This presents problem #1. Problem #2 is constant invasion and battle with the Angles. Enter Emrys, the Pendragon, ‘leader of the Angle resistance’, who has his fort on The Wall (Hadrian’s Wall) with his second in command, Gwenddolau. Please do not worry about the pronunciation of names. The author so thoughtfully includes a phonetic pronunciation of these names. The story flows beautifully as it is excellently written. The characters jump off the page and become the reader’s friends. At least this happened to me. I loved this book, and cannot wait for #2. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 5 stars ++!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Crystal King

    It's a big book, it's a debut, it's a twist on the Arthurian legend, and it's a novel that really needs to be on the top of your TBR pile ASAP. THE LOST QUEEN follows the story of Languoreth and her twin, Lailoken (later known as Merlin). Sixth century Scotland comes to life in vivid color under Pike's pen. She artfully delivers up rich, colorful characters that you deeply care about and will want to follow not just in this book, but in the other two that are to follow. The story of Languoreth i It's a big book, it's a debut, it's a twist on the Arthurian legend, and it's a novel that really needs to be on the top of your TBR pile ASAP. THE LOST QUEEN follows the story of Languoreth and her twin, Lailoken (later known as Merlin). Sixth century Scotland comes to life in vivid color under Pike's pen. She artfully delivers up rich, colorful characters that you deeply care about and will want to follow not just in this book, but in the other two that are to follow. The story of Languoreth in this book is that of her coming to age, struggling against the restrictions of being part of the royal family. It's gorgeous, magical and extremely well-wrought. I can't wait for the next book by Signe Pike! Thanks, NetGalley and Touchstone Books, for the advance copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Out of the Bex

    Historical fiction with a touch of fantasy The Lost Queen follows the twin sister of Merlin from youth to adulthood, forging her own role in the annals of history. A history that, until now, has been largely forgotten. Signe Pike, an experienced reader in the Arthurian myth herself, resurrects Languoreth with a story of female power, passion, and grace. Set in a time when Christianity was just beginning to blight out its pagan predecessor, Languoreth must fight for the protection of “the old ways. Historical fiction with a touch of fantasy The Lost Queen follows the twin sister of Merlin from youth to adulthood, forging her own role in the annals of history. A history that, until now, has been largely forgotten. Signe Pike, an experienced reader in the Arthurian myth herself, resurrects Languoreth with a story of female power, passion, and grace. Set in a time when Christianity was just beginning to blight out its pagan predecessor, Languoreth must fight for the protection of “the old ways.” Pike delivers an authentic, naturalistic performance of pagan glory that will satisfy the magic which lies hidden in the heart of each of us, particularly young women. These aspects are enlivening, enchanting, and well-explored by the author. Many modern authors would alter history to appeal to a twenty-first-century audience, twisting truths about the roles of women in 500 AD, in turn giving way to numerous inaccuracies. Instead of surrendering to more sensationalist tones, Pike chose to respect and honor the more realistic aspects of what it would mean to be a female power in an ancient time period, celebrating a feminine power that is different, yet no less viable, than a man’s. If I had read this as a teen it would have been a five star read for me, a time when I was a bit more forgiving and didn’t mind some loss in detail for the sake of a truly magical and empowering story. The Lost Queen had me craving more by the last chapters and I look forward to future installments in this trilogy. WHAT WOULD I CHANGE I had one main issue with this book, one I was able to overlook for the sake of a good story. I struggled with visualization. It was difficult to picture the landscapes and the architecture. Even as important as the setting was in the development of this nature-based story, it felt like the reader was expected to already know how the world in 500 AD would look. Unfortunately, I don’t. I wish the setting had been a bit better described, not solely for visualization but also for the sake of atmosphere, which could have used more depth in its aura. For those who struggle remembering multiple characters, please keep in mind that you may feel overwhelmed at the novel’s start. There is a helpful character guide with name pronunciations and family ties before chapter one. Refer to this for the first few chapters and you’ll have the hang of it in no time. A small additional note was a slight case of insta-love, though I realize this is a personal preference. I care much less for love built solely on passion. However, Pike was able to make it more convincing than most. My next point is not quite a complaint, just a thought. The timeline is so grand in scope (from our heroine's time as a ten-year-old girl to a mother of four), that it would be impossible to include everything a reader might want. The work is separated into three time periods in Languoreth's life which significant gaps in-between. At times, you felt like you were missing out on an experience you wanted to read. I do wonder what the next two novels in this series will include and how grand in scale they may end up to be. Will they too have a grand timeline, forcing us into Languoreth's old age? Or will they give way to other characters? Only time will tell! THE BOTTOM LINE A captivating, empowering tale with just the right sparkle of magic. Signe Pike delivers a historical fiction joined with an enchanting a fantasy flair, perfect for readers seeking an epic adventure with a powerful woman at its center. VERDICT: Buy It

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nichole

    This book sounded interesting to me, but I had no idea that I would love it sooo much! This story follows Languoreth from child to forgotten Queen. Languoreth and her twin Lailoken were raised according to the Old Way. They knew from a young age that one of them would be Chosen as a Wisdom Keeper, and the other would rule their lands. Languoreth wanted so badly to be Chosen. Not only would she be following in her mother's footsteps, she also wouldn't be forced to marry someone for the good of her This book sounded interesting to me, but I had no idea that I would love it sooo much! This story follows Languoreth from child to forgotten Queen. Languoreth and her twin Lailoken were raised according to the Old Way. They knew from a young age that one of them would be Chosen as a Wisdom Keeper, and the other would rule their lands. Languoreth wanted so badly to be Chosen. Not only would she be following in her mother's footsteps, she also wouldn't be forced to marry someone for the good of her people. Her wish did not come true. Lailoken was Chosen. Now she must prepare herself to be married off to whoever her father decides is the best match. With a new religion overtaking the Old Way, Languoreth knows it is all political. This new religion is home to a few fanatics that believe it is the only way and are willing to start a war to prove it. Between Christanity, the Picts, and the Angles, Languoreth is surrounded by war. All she can do is try to make decisions that will keep those she loves safe. I absolutely loved this book! I fell in love with the characters, I could picture the world, and the story itself kept me hooked through the whole book. I cannot wait for the next one!! I received a copy from Net Galley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gaele

    There are no words.....this is possibly the best historic fiction based in Arthurian legend that I have read in a very long time. Taking the unusual perspective to tell the story from 'above the wall' in Strathclyde, the story mixes intrigue, bloodshed, power games and philosophies in ways unexpected. Langoureth is a complete character - human, flawed, contradictory and utterly palpable, and she's influenced by the history, myths and superstitions of her place, often coming into conflict with her There are no words.....this is possibly the best historic fiction based in Arthurian legend that I have read in a very long time. Taking the unusual perspective to tell the story from 'above the wall' in Strathclyde, the story mixes intrigue, bloodshed, power games and philosophies in ways unexpected. Langoureth is a complete character - human, flawed, contradictory and utterly palpable, and she's influenced by the history, myths and superstitions of her place, often coming into conflict with her own desires, choices and dreams that seem impossible, and all are presented in a clear and evocative prose that feeds the imagination as it transports you to places unknown. THIS is a story that, like Outlander and Game of Thrones could easily garner millions of viewers and fans, if only people are willing to delve into the book and just escape within its pages. Secondary characters are also rich and developed in ways that conversations are easy to hear, the moments unfold with a richness and fullness that place you in the space: sights, sounds, and smells all are palpable, and there is an uncanny sense that darkness is creeping in on the edges - ready to take away progress and redirect the choices in ways that both limit and expand the progress of Langoureth's journey. I can't wait for the next in the series! I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review .I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Seeing as I devoured this book pretty quickly (so much so that I didn't even take the time to update it as a current read here on GR) I'd have to give this a very strong 4 stars. You can read the description of the book and see that it's based on the lost story of a young Merlin's twin sister. Since I love that time period and the location in Scotland, I was intrigued. I haven't read a fantasy novel in a while so I was looking forward to a good story. It took a bit for me to really get involved Seeing as I devoured this book pretty quickly (so much so that I didn't even take the time to update it as a current read here on GR) I'd have to give this a very strong 4 stars. You can read the description of the book and see that it's based on the lost story of a young Merlin's twin sister. Since I love that time period and the location in Scotland, I was intrigued. I haven't read a fantasy novel in a while so I was looking forward to a good story. It took a bit for me to really get involved in the story, but once I was, it was one of those "don't bother me until I'm finished reading" kind of days today. The characters were all well-rounded and had unique personalities. I'd have to say that the reasons it wasn't a 5 star for me was because there were jumps in time that came totally unexpectedly and a bit unnaturally. Also, the instant attraction between Languoreth and Maelgwn was a bit too far-fetched. There were many parts of the plot that were completely predictable, but that's not really a deal-breaker for me. It was a fun day spent with warriors and queens of early Scottish legend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Quirkybookworm

    This is the type of novel I really enjoyed. The author really did her research on this story, history, Merlin and his twin sister. I just had to read this book! I was sadden when I finished this book. I was hoping there may be a sequel. It felt unfinished. I want more! Think of Mists of Avalon meets with Game of Thrones. This book kept my attention from start to end. I received this ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you. update: Just found out this is a trilogy !! YES! c This is the type of novel I really enjoyed. The author really did her research on this story, history, Merlin and his twin sister. I just had to read this book! I was sadden when I finished this book. I was hoping there may be a sequel. It felt unfinished. I want more! Think of Mists of Avalon meets with Game of Thrones. This book kept my attention from start to end. I received this ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you. update: Just found out this is a trilogy !! YES! can't wait for the second book! This makes me hapoy!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ambur

    I've been a fan of stories about Merlin and King Arthur for as long as I can remember, so when I first heart about The Lost Queen and how it centres partially around the man who is believed to be the inspiration for Merlin and his twin sister, Languoreth, I was extremely excited to pick it up! :) While it wasn't quite what I expected, I still really, really enjoyed The Lost Queen! The world-building and descriptions were fabulous, and the characters were great! I did find the story dragged a bit I've been a fan of stories about Merlin and King Arthur for as long as I can remember, so when I first heart about The Lost Queen and how it centres partially around the man who is believed to be the inspiration for Merlin and his twin sister, Languoreth, I was extremely excited to pick it up! :) While it wasn't quite what I expected, I still really, really enjoyed The Lost Queen! The world-building and descriptions were fabulous, and the characters were great! I did find the story dragged a bit at times, which I kind of expected because it's an epic, and there weren't as many Arthurian aspects to the story as I'd hoped there would be. I feel like that aspect of the story may be coming more in the later books of this trilogy, but I was kind of hoping for more right from the start. I did enjoy Languoreth's perspective though, and it was extremely fascinating to see the world through her eyes at different ages. Along with loving the descriptions and world-building, I loved all of the characters. Languoreth was fierce, loyal, and strong, and I loved seeing how her perspective changed throughout the story. I also absolutely loved her brother Lailoken, and I really loved the bond between them. The Lost Queen was packed full of amazing secondary characters, and I really did love so many of them. They were extremely well flushed out, and they all felt so real. I really loved Languoreth and Lailoken's father, Morken...and I loved his relationship with Languoreth, too. And their cousins, Brant and Brodyn, and foster brother, Gwenddolau—all of them were amazing and I loved seeing how they all connected. Seriously all of the family parts of this book had my heart all twisted up because it was just so good...and then there was the romance! As I'm sure everyone knows by now, I'm a sucker for romance, so I loved the little romantic subplots. It isn't a big element of the story, but I adored every second of it! Finally the story itself! As I mentioned, some parts were a little slow, but other parts were extremely intense and I was so anxious and just had to keep reading...I had to know what happened next! Even though I've always been a fan of Arthur and Merlin, I'm definitely not familiar with the true history that inspired their tales, and I was blown away by just how much detail was in The Lost Queen. The research elements were phenomenal, and it really does feel like you're experiencing everything through Languoreth's perspective. I'm definitely intrigued and excited to see where this trilogy goes next! Overall, I really enjoyed The Lost Queen! I did find that it was a bit slow at times, but I thought that the world-building, characters, descriptions, and the story itself were extremely well done! I'd recommend The Lost Queen to readers who love historical fiction, especially if you enjoy epic tales and any-and-all-things to do with Merlin!

  26. 4 out of 5

    whatsjennareading

    The Lost Queen cast a spell on me from the start and I could not put it down. I’ve always been fascinated by Arthurian legends, specifically the stories about Merlin. What I did not realize, is that Merlin had a twin sister called Languoreth who has been all but lost to history. The cover blurb says, “Outlander meets Camelot”, which is what initially caught my attention, but Languoreth’s story is even more captivating than Claire’s. The world building and careful attention to detail in The Lost Q The Lost Queen cast a spell on me from the start and I could not put it down. I’ve always been fascinated by Arthurian legends, specifically the stories about Merlin. What I did not realize, is that Merlin had a twin sister called Languoreth who has been all but lost to history. The cover blurb says, “Outlander meets Camelot”, which is what initially caught my attention, but Languoreth’s story is even more captivating than Claire’s. The world building and careful attention to detail in The Lost Queen are rich and vibrant. Set against the backdrop of the Scottish countryside during the 6th century, the story opens when Languoreth and her brother Lialoken are ten, and have just lost their mother. Raised in the Old Way, Languoreth’s mother was a powerful healer and wisdom keeper and both she and her brother have been born with the gift. However, because her father is king, Languoreth is not allowed to pursue her own desires to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and must instead agree to a political marriage to ensure the survival of her kingdom. She feels trapped and resentful of her lot, but with Christianity on the rise, and the invasion of the Angles, there is war coming that will threaten their way of life and change everything. There are so so so many things to love about this book. With a cast of unforgettable characters, it made me laugh, rage, and cry. It filled me with longing, and transported me to another time and place. Pike’s writing is gorgeous and hypnotic, and she resurrects a time period and way of life that was lost so long ago. With Langoureth and Lialoken, she captures the unbreakable bond that exists between siblings, and with Maelgwn, the breathtaking passion and helplessness of fated love. And perhaps most authentically and powerfully for me, with Languoureth and her children, she writes of the sacred beauty that is the bond between mother and child. Weaved in with these relationships, there is adventure and intrigue and incredible feats of bravery. Langoureth is an extraordinary heroine and I’m so grateful her story will continue in Pike’s magical hands. At the end of the book, Pike includes a fascinating author’s note about her inspiration and the years she spent researching to make this portrayal as historically accurate as possible. The story she created is in and of itself incredible, but to know that it was based on real people made it larger than life for me. This is just the first of a trilogy and I can legitimately say that I have no idea how I will survive the wait for the next one. The Lost Queen is easily in my all time favorites, and I know I will revisit it time and again. Despite the fact that I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review (thank you so much to Touchstone and Edelweiss), I plan on buying my own physical copy to treasure and share. I highly encourage you to pick this one up, especially if you enjoy historical fiction and epic family sagas.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bego Salem

    What a beautiful, amazing and awesome book. I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed following Languoreth's and Lailoken's journeys, such an interestig read! I hadn't read any previous reviews or comments about The Lost Queen, so every twist was a nice surprise, especially.... I wasn't aware of the "Merlin connection" until almost the end and I loved it! Initially, I bought this book because of the snippet on the cover "Outlander meets Camelot"....and though there is not much Outlander in it (exce What a beautiful, amazing and awesome book. I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed following Languoreth's and Lailoken's journeys, such an interestig read! I hadn't read any previous reviews or comments about The Lost Queen, so every twist was a nice surprise, especially.... I wasn't aware of the "Merlin connection" until almost the end and I loved it! Initially, I bought this book because of the snippet on the cover "Outlander meets Camelot"....and though there is not much Outlander in it (except that it is set in Scotland and Languoreth is a healer like Claire), there is a lot of Camelot and some splashes of The Mists of Avalon as well. I loved everything about The Lost Queen: the characters (especially the strong female figures like Languoreth, Ariane, Elufed, even Crowan and Rhian), the detailed descriptions and the plots, the struggle to keep the Old Ways alive against the rising of the Christian religion, the depiction of the old traditions and the daily life. And all set in Scotland, in an era of which most of the history ist lost in the darkness of the times. I really want to read more about this great queen, her brother the wisdom keeper, her husband the king, and her lover the dragon warrior. And this book just confirmed what we sort of knew all along: Camelot was in Scotland. Any doubt about it?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    My Thoughts: Medieval history is one of my favorite periods to read about. I love historical fiction. These two combined loves led me to read this book. I have several thoughts: •The Lost Queen has been compared to the Outlander series and Camelot. I disagree. Outlander is a different period in Scottish history and time travel is involved. Camelot is a larger than life story. It's a famous story. A story with a bit of magic, and a lot of romance. I've not read The Mists of Avalon series (so I ca My Thoughts: Medieval history is one of my favorite periods to read about. I love historical fiction. These two combined loves led me to read this book. I have several thoughts: •The Lost Queen has been compared to the Outlander series and Camelot. I disagree. Outlander is a different period in Scottish history and time travel is involved. Camelot is a larger than life story. It's a famous story. A story with a bit of magic, and a lot of romance. I've not read The Mists of Avalon series (so I cannot compare.) •Languoreth is the narrator or voice in the story. Her brother is a strong character, but it is her thoughts and words that is prominent. •For most of The Lost Queen, it felt more like a young adult novel. Until the last quarter of the story, the main characters are young people who are headstrong and valiant. Plus, the story lacked a maturity (probably because of the ages of the twins.) •Languoreth is in love with a young man whom she's spent only a brief time with. For me, chemistry and lust is something you feel immediate. Love takes time to grow. Also, love over the years takes dips and turns, it develops roots, and it may or may not look anything like the love that was there at the start. •The Lost Queen showed the practice and culture of people living in this time period. I enjoyed reading about the medicinal arts and mysticism. •Despite how Languoreth feels, and despite her strong-willed nature, she obeys her father in marrying another man. I love characters who do the right thing despite how they "feel." Feelings often lead people astray. Of course, I'm in my mid 50's and I'm reflecting back on those feelings that led me astray. Doing the right thing requires courage, humility, and sacrifice. This gave Languoreth a maturity in the story. This was a sign she had blossomed and developed. •The romantic element is strong but brief. Brief in that most of the romance is in her mind and heart. She remembered their stolen moments and wonders how he truly feels? She wondered if it was something of lasting value? •The Lost Queen covers at least half the life of Languoreth. I can't imagine what a second novel will reveal? Possibly it will be the story of Lailoken. He is the basis for Myrddin or Merlin. •I was not swept away in The Lost Queen; however, I was entertained. I recommend this novel and I'm enticed enough to read its sequel. Source: I received a complimentary advanced reader paperback copy from Touchstone, but was not required to leave a positive review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I was amazed by this novel. It is so well researched and so well written that I felt like I was living through the book. The characters are so well described that I -- I don't even know how to describe them. The story is vividly told. I think you have to read to book to truly understand why I have no words! I am so excited to read the second book in the series. Thank you to NetGalley and Touchstone for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Historical fiction and Merlin fans will be absolutely delighted with this novel! I really appreciate all of the research and thought Pike put into this story. I haven’t read around 550 pages this quickly for a long time. The best part is it’s all based on true people, events, and locations. I am beyond ecstatic that this is the first in a trilogy and I definitely will be reading Adam Ardrey’s books that Pike recommends in the Author’s Note. I have read Mists of Avalon as well and like others, ha Historical fiction and Merlin fans will be absolutely delighted with this novel! I really appreciate all of the research and thought Pike put into this story. I haven’t read around 550 pages this quickly for a long time. The best part is it’s all based on true people, events, and locations. I am beyond ecstatic that this is the first in a trilogy and I definitely will be reading Adam Ardrey’s books that Pike recommends in the Author’s Note. I have read Mists of Avalon as well and like others, have been so disappointed with the author so much that I didn’t continue the series. I am extremely happy to get my fix from Pike instead.

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