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Avalon: The Return of King Arthur Mass Market Paperback – December 5, 2000

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (December 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038080297X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380802975
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 4.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this rousing postcript to Lawhead's bardic Pendragon Cycle (Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, Grail), such a monstrous evil stalks near-future Britain that an ancient Welsh prophecy will be fulfilled: the Thames will reverse its course, Avalon will rise again from the cold gray sea and Arthur will return. A series of Royals so rotten that the Brits can't wait to dump the whole stinking lot enables scheming Prime Minister Waring to creepAtrick by political dirty trickAtoward Magna Carta II, the abolition of the monarchy. Far in the Highlands, though, former career officer James Arthur Stuart feels destiny stir within him. He is Arthur, come again to exalt Britain and its grand old valuesAgoodness, compassion, mercy, charity and justice. Accompanied by his enigmatic adviser Embries, his boon drinking buddy Calum McKay and the lissome Jenny, James struggles to come into his own, proving his mettle against modern monsters: skinheads armed with pit bulls, the fickle hydra of the press and the redheaded "total dish" Moira, Arthur's old witchy nemesis who destroyed Camelot. By the time James ousts Moira's insidiously treacherous buffalo-wing- and pizza-chomping politicos, Lawhead makes even aristocracy-phobes want to stand up at the skirl of the pipes and cheer on the eternal virtues James represents. In revisiting nearly every romantic Arthurian clich? and playing off snappy contemporary derring-do against the powerful shining glimpses of the historical Arthur he created, Lawhead pulls off a genuinely moving parable of good and evil. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a near-future Britain, the death of King Edward IX throws the succession into disarray until a young man named James Arthur Stewart discovers his identity as the reborn King Arthur and claims his rightful throne. Aided by his counselor Myrddin Embries, the new king seeks to restore faith in the monarchy as well as a sense of justice to a land beleaguered by despair. The author of the popular "Pendragon Cycle" takes his Arthurian interests one step further as he explores the ramifications of a legend come to life in the modern world. Infused with Christian overtones, Lawhead's latest novel should appeal to fans of Arthurian fantasy. Recommended.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Stephen R. Lawhead is a multi-award winning author of mythic history and imaginative bestsellers. In over thirty years of professional writing he has established an international reputation and is known for such works as the King Raven trilogy, a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend; and the Pendragon Cycle, an historic retelling of the King Arthur legend.

Other notable works include the fantasy trilogies The Song of Albion, and the Dragon King Trilogies -- as well as the historical works Byzantium, Patrick, Avalon, and the works of science-fiction Dream Thief and Empyrion saga, and his latest, the five-book series Bright Empires. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife.

You can find out more by visiting www.stephenlawhead.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By N. Bernadsky on April 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I began reading the Pendragon Cycle in Junior High (gee, guess that shows how young I am, huh?), and absolutely fell in love. Now a Junior in college I was thrilled to see Lawhead bring the story to its conclusion(?) in present day England. What a wonderful story come full-circle! Although, I must agree, Moira was not quite the evil villianess I have seen in previous Lawhead tales. Some slight disappointment there. But how about the return of good old Embries? How classic to make him a timeless compainion to Arthur. He has been my favorite character all along. If you are a Lawhead fan, I have told you nothing new. However, if you've never read Lawhead before, or if you've never read the Pendragon Cycle before, I reccomend starting at the beginning with Taliesin. The story line will be much more intriguing if you know the history. Oh...and if you plan on reading the whole series, stop by Stephen's website for what order to read them in, they weren't written chronologically. And it's just a fun site.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Godly Gadfly on April 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Avalon, Stephen Lawhead has modernized the king Arthur of his delightful Pendragon cycle, and transported him to a futuristic and contemporary twenty-first century Britain, which is on the verge of throwing out the monarchy for good. But Lawhead is convinced that the monarchy is not all bathwater, but that there's a baby in there somewhere that should be preserved. Make the legendary Arthur come back to life to be that baby, and save the monarchy. There in a nutshell, is the plot of Avalon.
Of course there's much more to it than that, and it's impossible to summarize in a few words a plot that is ingeniously original. The Pendragon Cycle is clearly a prelude to this story, and I would suggest that it is required reading for readers of Avalon. Lawhead makes frequent and obvious allusions to the characters and events of the Pendragon Cycle (eg p.89ff), and readers unfamiliar with his earlier work are likely to find themselves perplexed without this background. At any rate, readers familiar with Lawhead's earlier works are sure to get the most of this new tale.
Yet this is far from a modernized Pendragon - it's definitely a story on its own, and fans of the Pendragon Cycle are treated to a completely new tale. The story begins shortly after the death of the last of a series of corrupt and selfish monarchs, with Britain on the verge of abandoning the monarchy for good. Suddenly the unknown James Stuart discovers that despite his ordinary and obscure childhood, he is the rightful king of Britain, and the modern-day Arthur. Although James has a modern-day Merlin at his side, victory of the monarchy is far from assured, because there's a modern-day Morgian and a host of evil powers against him in his quest for kingship and the restoration of Arthurian Britain.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Hagen on September 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, I hoped to write the first review, but Donovan beat me to it. I will merely add to his accurate praises. Avalon arrived on Thursday, I started reading it Friday and just finished it now late Saturday night. It is a page turner. I was reading my way through the last three books of the Pendragon Cycle before I actually read Avalon. However, I could not resist that beautiful new book sitting unread on the bookshelf. So, I set down Arthur right before a tremendous battle against Balduf and picked up Avalon. I would say that Avalon contains some of the wittiest and most gripping dialogue I have ever read. The characters leapt to life, familiar yet changed in their modern setting. I was terribly scared that Lawhead had over reached himself when I heard that this was a modern King Arthur fable. Lawhead exceeded my expectations for this story and pulls it off with great aplomb and heart. I definitely enjoyed the book more because of my prior reading of his Pendragon Cycle.
Please read this book and let your heart soar! My intial reading rates it at 4 stars, one of Lawhead's best, easily the best since Byzantium, but upon further readings, I may strike again with another review with a higher rating.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Kimball on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book reads a lot like the first book in a series, but I haven't found any evidence that that's really what it is. If I knew for a fact that there was more to come, I would be more forgiving, because it would excuse what seems to me to be the book's chief shortcoming: it is all about the reborn Arthur becoming king, but not very much at all about what he does AS king, or why this will be good for the British people, and, hence, why it matters whether he was reborn or not.
As the book opens, the British Prime Minister Waring is an Evil Politician who is well on his way to destroying the monarchy by legislative and bureaucratic means and reducing Britain (in the author's view) to a U.S.-style republic. In the nick of time, however, the crummy existing king does himself in, whereupon Merlin reveals to the upstanding young James Arthur Stuart that he is (a) a Duke, and (b) rightful king (as all of the more immediate royal family have signed abdication forms under Waring's pressure).
All the stuff about James's family line is handled in a rather clumsy and slipshod way, and you are eager to be done with it. (Why couldn't he have started out as minor nobility instead of all that business with his parents concealing their marriage? I suppose it's because the Sword in the Stone theme of the disguised Wart has to be recapitulated, but honestly, it's not done terribly well.)
Anyway, we move on quickly to the conflict between Arthur and the evil Waring (unknowingly aided by the sultry Morgan le Fay) over whether Britain should be a monarchy or not. As the crucial referendum battle approaches, Waring obligingly shoots himself in the foot with clumsy thug tactics which enable James Arthur to display his skill as a street fighter.
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