Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike continues an epic story of sixth-century Scotland

In the second book of her epic trilogy of sixth-century Scotland, Pike adeptly balances brutal power struggles and Celtic mysticism. 

Languoreth, the determined heroine from The Lost Queen (2018), is now the longtime wife of the King of Strathclyde's likely heir and a mother of four. Distraught to have her husband and twin brother, Lailoken, on opposite sides of the Battle of Arderydd, Languoreth finds her world further devastated when her eight-year-old daughter, Angharad, who was away learning druidic ways from Lailoken, vanishes in the battle’s aftermath. 

Pike interweaves their three narratives as they endure emotional losses and begin physical and inward-focused journeys to regain strength. Moving from the shaded depths of the Caledonian Wood to the Pictish kingdom in the Orkney Islands and beyond, the story delves into the beguiling religious and cultural lore of several ancient Scottish peoples. 

This book doesn’t stand alone, but ongoing readers will relish the escape into Pike’s fully developed milieu while seeing its connections to Arthurian legend grow more prominent; among other aspects, Lailoken serves as a historical model for Merlin.

The Forgotten Kingdom will be published on September 15th by Atria/Simon & Schuster (488pp, hardcover and ebook).  I reviewed it for the August issue of Booklist (reprinted with permission). I'd previously reviewed The Lost Queen two years ago. As mentioned, interested readers will likely want to start with book one, since it provides considerable context for the interpersonal relationships and power imbalances in this novel.  I look forward to continuing the story later on. The author's website says that book three will be out in September 2023.


  1. It will be hard to decide whether to read this or Susannah Clarke’s Piranese first - they both drop on the same day!

  2. It's a tough choice! It's going to be a crowded fall for books, with so many books coming out and having gotten postponed from the spring (though that wasn't the case with these two, I don't think).