First published in 1993 (Was that really sixteen years ago???), The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein, tells the story of Medraut, eldest—and illigetimate—son of Artos, high king of Britain, as he struggles to come to terms with his jealousy of his younger half-brother, heir to the throne.
This is a gripping, powerful book, at times disturbing and dark, but always beautiful and elegantly told. The story, the characters, the setting, the history—all are marvelously drawn. The writing itself is exquisite. We’re talking Charlotte Bronte-level gorgeousness of prose, here:
We rode through a tangle of dripping trees, then burst into a cloudy brown clearing, silvered over with mist, to see the rusty deer bright bounding through the winter bracken.
Sentences like that make me my little INFP heart soar. Dripping trees! Cloudy brown clearing! Silvered mist! Rusty deer bright bounding through the winter bracken! I want to marry this sentence!
Um, at any rate, this is a beautiful story told by a fabulously talented writer, and I highly recommend it.