A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth E. Wein.
Viking/Penguin Group: NY, 2003.

A Coalition of Lions is the 2nd book of the series, touching on King Arthur lore. It takes place after Arthur's death. Britain is in chaos; Arthur's heir killed also; Medraut (Mordred's equivalent) is missing, presumed dead; and Arthur's daughter Goewin escapes Morgause's scheming, fleeing to Aksum (now Ethiopia). Aksum is also in transition. Goewin arrives to find the British ambassador has become the viceroy, mentoring the young Aksum heir. The Aksum ambassador accompanying Goewin is immediately placed under house arrest, on suspicion of possible treason, due to his ranking high up on the inheritance list. The whole book deals with straightening out matters in Aksum. The viceroy is the next heir for Britain's kingdom, on approval of Goewin, who is disinclined to agree based on his behavior. It's a stalemate, with casualties, until Goewin looks beyond Aksum for a higher authority. She finds the authority, but is given different advice than expected.

The blending of Arthurian legend and African history is intriguing. Political tug of war is the bulk of the story, centering around the relationships of Goewin, Priamos (Aksum ambassador), and Constantine (British ambassador and heir/Aksum viceroy). There is a touch of romance, mostly providing conflict. Ethiopian details (lions, coffee, historical conflicts) add much to the story. The last Arthurian battle is handled somewhat differently than legend, which works for the story. All in all, a compelling read.

The first book of the series is The Winter Prince.

related-King Arthur, 6th century, Mordred, Aksum, Africa, princesses
RL=7th and up

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