Read a full summary of The Camelot Betrayal, book #2 in Kiersten White’s Camelot Rising series, right here! This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in The Camelot Betrayal, then you are in the right place!
Special thanks to Jen, a new BSR contributor who wrote this great recap! Visit her on Twitter to keep up with her latest news.
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in The Camelot Betrayal?
Guinevere takes over Mordred’s job preparing for the harvest, visiting farmers around Camelot to learn about their crops. When she and Lancelot come across signs of magic in the forest, Guinevere uses iron thread to prevent the magic from spreading. When Arthur arrives, he burns the forest.
Back in Camelot, Sir Gawain greets them, ready to escort Guinevere to inspect one of the granaries. Afterward, Guinevere confides in Brangien that she has been having dreams, which shouldn’t be possible since she sacrificed her dreams to allow Brangien to dreamwalk to Isolde. Brangien is worried the dreams are from the Dark Queen, so she will not risk any additional dreamwalking until they figure out the cause.
Brangien tells Guinevere the story of how she and Isolde fell in love. She was Isolde’s lady’s maid. At first, she hated Isolde, thinking her lazy and forgetful, but then she discovered Isolde had been helping the servants with their work. Brangien tried to do the same for Isolde, helping her whenever she could, and soon they fell in love.
Touched by the story, Guinevere reveals to Brangien that she and Arthur have barely kissed; Brangien tells her Arthur does love her, and in time, she will see it, too. Guinevere runs into Lancelot outside her rooms, who tells Guinevere she stands guard whenever Arthur and Excalibur are away from the castle. She realizes Lancelot is upset about being left behind when Arthur and the other knights leave the castle. Guinevere tells Lancelot she may sleep in her bedroom the next time Arthur is away.
Guinevere takes Brangien, who is missing Isolde, to watch the aspirants train. She realizes the knights do not respect Lancelot and questions whether Arthur would have knighted Lancelot if she hadn’t rescued Guinevere from Maleagant. As Guinevere and Brangien return to the castle, an unfamiliar girl runs toward them, shouting Guinevere’s name and calling her “sister.” Guinevere panics. This is Guinevach, Guinevere’s sister, which means she will know she isn’t the real Guinevere. Guinevere tells Brangien she isn’t feeling well and immediately calls for Lancelot and Arthur. They decide Brangien and Sir Gawain will spy on Guinevach to learn why she is in Camelot while Guinevere will pretend to be too ill to see her sister.
Guinevere and Lancelot are searching for signs of magic on the eastern side of Camelot. She uses her knot magic to create a system of rocks that will signal her if any magic passes them, and Lancelot places them around the mountain. Guinevere tells Lancelot about her dream, and they agree it doesn’t sound like a dream the Dark Queen would send, so they wonder if it was the Lady of the Lake instead. Wondering what interest the Lady of the Lake would have in finding her, Guinevere realizes the Lady of the Lake might be her mother.
That night, Arthur reports he unsheathed Excalibur near Guinevach, but she didn’t react. She also used an iron goblet at dinner, suggesting she isn’t fey. Brangien reports Guinevach was charming and pleasant all evening at dinner, she has two lady’s maids, an older one and a much younger one, and one of the guards, who is from Cameliard, recognized one of Guinevach’s guards. Arthur decides he and Guinevere will leave early for Dindrane’s wedding in the southern lands to avoid Guinevach.
The following day, Guinevere and Lancelot investigate one of the rivers on the mountain’s northern side. The area is impassable by humans, but Guinevere is concerned the Dark Queen could use her magic to do so. She uses a new knot for the guard rocks; instead of just triggering a warning when magic crosses, this knot will destroy anyone who means her harm who passes it. She hands the stone to Lancelot to place, immediately regretting this ugly magic. Seven wolves, all under the Dark Queen’s control, suddenly appear.
Guinevere uses fire magic to threaten the wolves, setting one on fire when it attacks. The fire magic gets out of her control and attacks the other wolves, burning them to ash. Guinevere, upset over the needless deaths, feels a twinge from her magic guard stones and turns to see Mordred. He tells her he came to save the wolves from the magic controlling them and moves toward Guinevere to check her arms for burns. Guinevere, remembering the spelled stones, panics and tells Mordred he will die if he continues to walk toward her. Mordred, confused at why she would try to save him from death after what he did to her, crosses the line without pain. Guinevere sends him away as Lancelot returns. Guinevere tells her about the wolves but not about Mordred.
As they ride back to Camelot, Arthur rides out to them. He is horrified at Guinevere’s charred sleeves. She tells him the story of the wolves and her destruction knot, again leaving out the information about Mordred. Guinevach meets them at the ferry, and Guinevere tells her to go home since she is leaving, which upsets Guinevach, who asks, “Who are you?” It’s a painful question for Guinevere, who has no idea.
Arthur and Guinevere leave Camelot with a handful of knights. That night, Arthur tells how King Caradoc surrendered his crown to Arthur to serve him and his quest for justice and honor. When another knight mentions Morgan le Fay, Arthur becomes uncomfortable. She is his half-sister, Mordred’s mother, and a sorceress who Merlin has ordered Arthur to kill on sight.
When she falls asleep, Guinevere dreams of Mordred, and she wakes with a start. Lancelot joins her. Guinevere is amazed she is still awake; she realizes the other knights are mistreating her.
They hear a noise from the forest. Lancelot tells Guinevere to pretend to go back to bed and wake Arthur. Lancelot gives a signal, and suddenly all the knights are awake and ready to fight. The band of men in the woods starts to attack, but when they recognize Lancelot as the patchwork knight, they leave.
Later that morning, they continue on their journey, and Guinevere asks Arthur to tell her more about Morgan le Fay. Morgan has wanted Arthur dead since he was a baby and tried to kill him at least twice, so Merlin told Arthur to kill her without giving her a chance to speak. Suddenly a horse races toward them. Brangien has arrived to let them know Isolde is being tried for witchcraft.
Brangien tells everyone the truth about her and Isolde. Tristan was sent by his uncle, King Mark, to find a young and beautiful queen. Tristan found Isolde, who was known for her beauty and kindness, and her father agreed to the match. Brangien wanted to make sure Isolde was happy, so she crafted a love potion to ensure King Mark and Isolde would fall in love.
But she heard terrible things about King Mark and noticed what a kind knight Tristan was, so she decided to give the love potion to them instead, hoping Tristan would protect Isolde. Brangien would then drink a potion that mimicked death so Isolde would think she had died and move on. But when she poured the love potion into their glasses, Tristan caught her. He swore to protect Isolde, but someone overheard their conversation, and King Mark condemned them for conspiring against him. Isolde begged him to banish them as a wedding gift, and he agreed.
Guinevere proposes a quest: she, Brangien, Lancelot, and Tristan will detour to King Mark’s kingdom to save Isolde. Arthur tells her they won’t make it in time to save her, but Brangien says they can if they take a ship, so they set out to find one.
They reach a Saxon village and hire a ship captained by a woman named Hild. As soon as they reach the ship, Guinevere is panicked and seasick, so Brangien uses knot magic to make her sleep through the journey. When they arrive in King Mark’s kingdom, Hild agrees to wait a day for them to return. Guinevere, still feeling ill, rubs her dragon’s tooth for comfort. The tooth is warm; the dragon she saved from Sir Bors is nearby.
Brangien finishes the potion that mimics death, and Guinevere reveals her plan to sneak into the castle and deliver it to Isolde before her trial. When she is “dead,” King Mark will entomb her in the cave tombs, where Brangien, Tristan, and Lancelot will be waiting for her.
Guinevere finds Isolde in a cell. They don’t have time to use the potion; most likely, King Mark would burn her dead body since she was found guilty of witchcraft earlier that day. Instead, Guinevere uses her magic to open the window, and they start to climb out when King Mark appears.
When she touches Isolde to help her out the window, Guinevere feels the trauma she had experienced at the hands of King Mark, so she knows he will kill them both if they don’t escape. When he grabs Guinevere and starts to strangle her, she pushes into him with her touch magic and destroys his mind. He falls to the ground, and she realizes the reality of the violence she has just done. Together, she and Isolde run to the cave to meet up with the others. When they return to Hild and her ship, the captain reveals she knows Guinevere is the queen, and she wants to take her to her brothers, who would make good workers for Arthur, in exchange for keeping their identities a secret.
Guinevere dreams of Mordred and the meadow again while asleep on the ship. When they arrive at the village, the men invite Guinevere and her party to eat, but afterward, they take Guinevere prisoner in exchange for ransom. Lancelot offers to fight all the men for Guinevere, but Guinevere sends them away.
The men lock Guinevere in a shack. There are too many men for her to work knot magic to escape, so she decides to summon the dragon to set fire to the village, creating a distraction to hide her escape. Guinevere escapes on the dragon but quickly sees he is injured, a spear through his leg, so she sends him away and breaks their connection, hoping he will forgive her for using him and causing his injury. Guinevere, her shoulder injured, quickly casts confusion knots to protect herself and hide the dragon’s trail before collapsing.
She wakes to see Mordred. He says he was in the area and pops her shoulder back into place, while Guinevere, sure this is another one of her dreams, says she prefers the dreams when they kiss to this one. She tells him what happened with the dragon and confesses she is worse than Merlin because she keeps doing the wrong thing. She says she just wants to stay in the woods with Mordred because it’s easier. Guinevere falls back asleep.
Guinevere wakes again to Lancelot calling her name. She sees a purple and yellow flower next to her, exactly like the one Mordred gave her, and she realizes that Mordred was there. It wasn’t a dream. Lancelot asks what happened, and Guinevere tells her but leaves out Mordred’s appearance.
The group rides on horseback toward Dindrane’s father’s estate, where they meet Arthur and his knights on the road. Guinevere tells them they ran into Brangien’s cousin, who will now be her lady’s maid, and that she fell off her horse, injuring her shoulder.
When they are alone, Arthur angrily demands who left the bruises around her neck, and Guinevere tells him what happened with King Mark. He tells Guinevere that by letting everyone think Isolde used magic to destroy King Mark’s brain, Guinevere has endangered other women. If something unexplained happens, people will blame a woman for being a witch. Guinevere compares herself again to Merlin, using magic to get what she wanted without caring for consequences.
Guinevere has another dream about Mordred, waking when Arthur climbs into bed. She kisses him, but he pushes her away, saying there is no rush. Guinevere believes Arthur regrets marrying her, but he tells her he is only trying to protect her as every woman in his life has died in childbirth.
During Dindrane’s wedding and feast the next day, Arthur is more attentive to her than usual. The party is loud and crowded, and Guinevere finds herself wishing Mordred would arrive and whisk her away. She realizes while Arthur is making an effort to spend time with her, he wants to be talking politics with the men, so she sends him into the crowd to do so. Dindrane and Brangien teach Guinevere to dance, and she spends the rest of the night with them before retiring.
The following day, Guinevere invites Lancelot to join them for breakfast. Arthur reveals the Picts are no longer a problem since Maleagant is no longer alive to provoke them, so he needs to focus on the southern borders and the invading Saxons. He tells Guinevere to go home and rule Camelot until he returns.
When they arrive in Camelot, Guinevach is still there. Shocked, Guinevere gathers Lancelot, Brangien, and Dindrane, asking them to spy on Guinevach and find out what she’s still doing in Camelot.
As Guinevere discusses the harvest festival with her advisors, Guinevach barges in. She says she is called Princess Lily at home and settles in despite Guinevere’s attempt to send her away, injecting her ideas into the discussion. Afterward, she leaves for dinner with Dindrane, and Lancelot and Guinevere go to search her rooms.
They are in the middle of Guinevach’s room when her older maid enters. She introduces herself as Anna and reveals she has been Guinevach’s lady’s maid for a few months. Guinevere takes her hand and uses her sense magic, but there isn’t any feeling of darkness or violence.
Guinevere dreams the Lady of the Lake carved the city of Camelot from the mountain. When she tells Lancelot about the dream, her knight reveals she knew the Lady of the Lake. Lancelot was chased to the lake by Uther Pendragon’s men when the water pulled her in. When she awoke, she was in a cave at the mountain’s base. She lived there off and on for years, training and gaining strength, believing she was chosen to kill Uther Pendragon. However, the Lady of the Lake stops her, claiming that it was another’s job, but her calling was coming.
Guinevere tells Brangien about her dream, and she suggests maybe Guinevere’s touch magic is sensing the Lady of the Lake’s memories since she carved Camelot. Dindrane arrives and tells Guinevere that Guinevach was charming, elegant, sweet, and graceful at dinner. Guinevere makes her way to meet with her advisors, where she finds Guinevach in her seat, having called the meeting to order without her.
Brangien and Guinevere go to the combat arena, but Guinevach and Anna are already there. Guinevach asks Guinevere if Arthur is away often and later asks Guinevere if she remembers what their father always said. She reveals he told them, “Pray you are beautiful and fertile; the world has no other use for a girl.” This always made Guinevere cry, so she is suspicious that Guinevere doesn’t remember it. Guinevach asks if Arthur is bothered that Lancelot sleeps in Guinevere’s room since people are starting to talk about it.
Sir Gawain walks up to their box with targets, bows, and arrows. Guinevach excitedly asks Guinevere to teach her how to shoot since her sister is the best shot in their kingdom. Guinevere realizes this is a trick to reveal she isn’t the true Guinevere, but Arthur saves her from participating by mentioning her injured shoulder.
Guinevach asks Arthur if they can see a play that evening, and he decides it’s a great idea. Guinevach goes with Arthur to save them seats so Guinevere doesn’t have to rush, and Guinevere notices none of the knights invited Lancelot to the play. She realizes she’s been treating Lancelot differently, which has kept Lancelot from fully living the life of a knight.
After the play, Arthur and Guinevere disagree over Guinevach. Arthur believes she just wants to spend time with her sister, while Guinevere believes she is there to unmask her.
Guinevere goes to the alcove where she once shared lunch with Mordred. There, she finds Anna, who is escaping the idle gossip of Guinevach and her young maid. Anna comments that Guinevere seems burdened and asks if there is anyone she can talk to who has been through anything similar. Guinevere realizes she needs to speak to Rhoslyn, the witch who saved her from the spider bite.
On their way to visit Rhoslyn, Lancelot notices Guinevere has been keeping her distance. Guinevere explains she is only trying to treat Lancelot like any other knight because people are starting to talk, but Lancelot is hurt.
They arrive to find Rhyoslyn’s settlement in chaos. The women and children are packing to leave. Guinevere asks if they have seen any sign of the Dark Queen or her magic, but Rhoslyn says they haven’t. While they talk, men appear, surrounding the village. The women and children hide in a hut, which Guinevere hides with confusion knots. She stands outside the hut to guide the fighters into it when they run out of arrows. Guinevere and Lancelot are the last two standing, Lancelot with her sword and Guinevere with her fire magic, when Mordred rides into the camp.
Mordred helps Guinevere and Lancelot defend the camp. When the men are gone, Guinevere discovers Mordred is leading the women to an island on the southern coast where they will be free. Guinevere pulls Mordred away to talk, and he reveals while he is not working for Arthur anymore, he isn’t working for the Dark Queen either; instead, he is free. He apologizes to Guinevere for using her to raise his grandmother. He asks how Arthur is and what he makes of the fact that Modred has appeared twice without harming Guinevere. Mordred is suspicious when Guinevere admits she hasn’t told him. Except for a woman named Ailith, the women leave with Mordred; Ailith returns to Camelot with Guinevere and Lancelot to find her lover.
On the trip back to Camelot, Guinevere tells Lancelot not to tell Arthur about Mordred, which angers Lancelot. She leaves, and Guinevere goes to her rooms, where she invites Guinevach, greeting her with an iron dagger, grabbing her hand, and demanding the truth of why she is in Camelot and pretending to know her.
Guinevach reveals she is pretending to know Guinevere, but only because she is a stranger now that she is married. After Guinevere left, she was left alone with their distant father, and she is angry her sister didn’t return to rescue her as she promised. Guinevere senses the girl’s sadness and pain. She tells Guinevere she tried to make herself indispensable in order to stay, and when that didn’t work, she flirted with every knight so one would marry her.
Guinevere hugs Guinevach, calls her Lily for the first time, and apologizes for how she treated her. She promises Lily can stay. Guinevere tells her something happened to destroy her memory, but all she remembers is looking up from underwater, which Lily finds interesting since her sister loved to swim. She pledges to help her sister remember who she is.
Two weeks later, all of Camelot is at the harvest festival. Anna brings Guinevere a spiced wine, and Guinevere invites her to a quiet spot where they can rest. Ailith sees Guinevere and comes over to say hello. She turns to Anna and addresses her as Morgana, then leaves. Guinevere realizes Anna is Morgan le Fay, who presses a knife against Guinevere’s side so that Lancelot, standing to the side, cannot see it. Morgana begins asking questions, and before she can help herself, Guinevere starts telling her Merlin is her father and she’s only pretending to be Guinevere. Morgana asks what has been done to her; she is Guinevere. Guinevere asks if Morgana is in Camelot to kill Arthur. Morgana tells her she never wanted her brother dead and proceeds to tell what she claims to be the true story:
When she became pregnant with the Green Knight’s child, Morgana escaped to the woods. The Dark Queen took care of her and helped her raise her son whenever the Green Knight was away. When Morgana wanted to return to her mother with her son, the Dark Queen refused to let her leave. Morgana had absorbed fairy magic by eating their food and drinking their wine, and she used it to pierce time and space as Merlin could. She saw Merlin destroying her family by raping her mother and taking their child. In her determination to save the baby, Morgana ripped power from the fairy world, frightening the Dark Queen, but Merlin blocked her at every turn. She returned to the forest, but eventually Arthur, steered by Merlin, made his way into the forest to unmake the Green Knight. Mordred, desperate to know his human family, left with his uncle.
Morgana came to Camelot to meet the girl who brought back the Dark Queen against Merlin’s wishes. Morgana asks Guinevere to go with her, to let her save her from Merlin, but stops when she sees Arthur approaching. Thinking quickly, Guinevere sticks a rock she had intended to give to Lily into Morgana’s pouch. Guinevere sealed it with knot magic to grow warm when they were close to each other, like the dragon’s tooth. Morgana tells Guinevere she can help her discover the truth whenever she is ready and disappears into the forest.
Guinevere tells Arthur that Anna is Morgana, and he goes after her with his knights. Lily and Lancelot escort Guinevere home. Even though the magic rock is cold, indicating Morgana is far away, Guinevere asks Lancelot to alert the castle guards and have it searched to be sure. Once they clear the castle, Guinevere isn’t ready to be alone, so she goes with Lily to her room, where a man with burned hands is standing in the hall. He reveals he is Hild’s brother, and he is here to kill Guinevere’s sister since his sister died when Guinevere summoned the dragon. He chases the girls to the top of the castle, and Guinevere leads Lily to a secret room she saw in one of her dreams, but there isn’t enough room for her. The man is about to kill Guinevere when Lancelot stabs him with her sword.
Guinevere does not understand why she remembers things only the Lady of the Lake knew. She goes into the secret room and peers down to the water below. She had fallen into the water in her dream but didn’t feel fear, and she wonders what would happen if she followed her vision into the water, but Lancelot pulls her back.
Guinevere repeats Morgana’s story to Arthur and Lancelot, but Arthur tells Guinevere not to believe any of it because Morgana is a liar and the mother of Mordred, who betrayed them. Guinevere tells them about seeing Mordred and how he has not harmed her. She is starting to doubt Merlin cares about anyone except himself, but Arthur cannot see it.
The next day Arthur takes Guinevere to the castle’s rooftop garden. He apologizes for being so cautious with their relationship. He worries she is only pretending to care for him since she did not choose their marriage and doesn’t want to take advantage of her. Arthur tells her he is ready to be a husband to her if that’s what she wants and leaves her to think. Guinevere realizes that while she is happy with Arthur, he will always put Camelot first.
Guinevere attends the celebratory feast that night with Arthur. She decides to give him her answer, but just as she does, a messenger comes. Arthur’s son is alive, hidden in one of the southern lord’s houses. He immediately leaves on a quest to get his son, leaving Guinevere in charge of Camelot and Lancelot to protect her.
How did The Camelot Betrayal end?
Guinevere struggles to come to terms with what it means that Arthur’s son is alive but suddenly realizes Mordred knew about Arthur’s son. He could have sent the message to divert Arthur out of Camelot, leaving it vulnerable to attack. Lancelot says they can hold the castle without a problem, but Guinevere realizes Camelot can be destroyed another way: the granaries, which Mordred had been in charge of previously, are full with the harvest, and if those are destroyed, the people of Camelot will not survive the winter. Mordred is also aware of the secret entrance into the city.
They send messengers to Arthur but know they may not reach him in time. Guinevere orders everyone into Camelot and the guards to their posts before telling Lily that she and Lancelot are to run the city if anything happens to her. Then she leaves with Lancelot to protect Camelot by creating a magical barrier with her knot magic.
At the edge of Camelot, Guinevere cuts open Lancelot’s hand and her own, clasping them together and dripping their blood on the rocks and water around them before drawing a binding knot that raises a barrier. For the barrier to hold, Lancelot needs to stay on her side of the line in Camelot, and Guinevere needs to stay on the side outside of Camelot. She tells Lancelot she has to find out who she is, so she will free Merlin and get the truth.
Suddenly, Guinevere feels the rock in her pocket heat up, signaling Morgana is close and black moths, just like the ones that flew when Guinevere raised the Dark Queen, are everywhere. Mordred arrives, horrified at the barrier. He tells Guinevere the message to Arthur was a trick, but he didn’t send it. He reveals the real target isn’t Camelot but Guinevere herself. Modred asks her to trust him, no matter what happens. He grabs her and rides away.
Mordred gallops to the Pictish king, Nechtan, and Morgana, telling them he captured Guinevere for them. Then they all ride North to the Dark Queen.
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