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Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930 - )

Lady of Avalon
Viking, 1997


Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1983) remains one of the best lovedand bestsellingreworkings of the Arthurian cycle. Now Bradley has written a splendid prequel (which she also links to her novel The Forest House), in which she traces the High Priestess of Avalon and the sacrificial Sacred King through three cycles of reincarnation and mythic destiny. In the first century of Christianity, Lady Caillean raises her orphaned grandson, Gawen (whose mother was killed in The Forest House). Initiated as the Pendragon and Sacred King, Gawen dies, but has fathered a child by Sianna, a daughter of the Fairy Queen. After his death, Lady Callean transports Avalon to a separate magical reality. Sianna's descendants continue to shape the history of Britannia, however. Lady Dierna marries her daughter Taleri to Carausius, who becomes Emperor of Britannia and dies defending the land. A later descendant, Lady Ana, calls back to Avalon her daughter Viviane, who is united with Vortimer, her era's Defender of Britannia. But it is Lady Ana's child Igraine, whom Viviane raises, who will culiminate the bloodlines. A pillar of the fantasy field, Bradley here combines romance, rich historical detail, magical dazzlements, grand adventure and feminist sentiments into the kind of novel her fans have been yearning for. (June) -from "Publisher's Weekly"

- Publisher's Weekly, 11/23/2005

Billed as an 'historical fantasy', this book links Bradley's best-selling novels The Forest House and The Mists of Avalon. The book is divided into three parts; the first set AD 96-118, the second AD 285-293 and the third AD 440-452, and tells the now familiar story of Celtic Britain vs. its enemies, the Romans and the Christians. For those not yet bored with the plethora of stories following this theme, this novel is magical and mystical, a compelling blend of historical fact and imaginative fantasy. I didn't find it quite so 'unputdownable' as Mists of Avalon, which was one of the first Arthurian novels that I ever read, but I still enjoyed the tales of the Druids and Priestesses of Avalon, and found the description authentic enough to make me believe that it could, maybe, have been like that in the past. A good read for those who like something to get their teeth into. - Faye Robertson. From The Historical Novel Review (1998), published by the Historical Novel Society

- Faye Robertson, 11/23/2005

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