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Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

While the druids of the Isle of the Mighty predict the coming of one whose song will change the world, a young priestess in Atlantis foresees the destruction of her homeland. The love story of the bard Taliesin and the Princess Charis begins a new series for Lawhead ("The Empyrion Saga" and the "Dragon King Trilogy"). This graceful combination of Atlantean legend, Celtic myth, and Christian messagereminiscent of C.S. Lewisis highly recommended. JC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


''This magical story will occupy the imaginations of young listeners as it is brought to vivid life by the untiring voice of Nadia May. Her voice evokes the sweetness of the legend, and the images of the fabled characters come to life. . . .'' --AudioFile

''This graceful combination of Atlantean legend, Celtic myth, and Christian message reminiscent of C.S. Lewis is highly recommended.'' --Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reissue edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038070613X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380706136
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By shoutgrace on July 31, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The tales are King Arthur are magnificently told and fashioned into 5 books of the Pendragon Cycle: 'Taliesin', 'Merlin', 'Arthur', 'Pendragon', and 'Grail'.
Lawhead does an excellent job in this first book of this series of books. The first one tells the story of Charis, an Atlantean princess who escapes the devastation of her homeland, the once peaceful kingdom Atlantis. In her refuge, she journeys to the ancient lands of Wales and Britain. There she meets her future love, Taliesin, mystical seer and druid prince. It's between these two lovers that two worlds join together in a land full of chaos and the fate of it's future hangs in the balance. From this union the birth and miracles of Merlin, the fabled magician are manifested. This brings alive the legend of Pendragon, Uther and King Arthur.
Lawhead, often called the 'Celtic Tolkien' brings to life in every detail of it's ancient history and the characters. You experience it with vibrant realness, resonance and passion. This would be an excellent addition to any Arthurian literature and anyone studying ancient history and mythology. Each book is a remarkable tapestry of eloquent and descriptive stories of the Arthurian epic, mysticism and the age of chivalry. The old tale is given a new light that entertains and dazzles. If you like ancient Celtic history and fantasy this is an absolute recommendation!
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Bill King on May 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lawhead wrote his famous trilogy of Christian fantasy novels on the Arthurian legend:
1 _Taliesin_, 2 _Merlin_ 3 _Arthur_.
The problem was it had taken so long for Lawhead to get Arthur on the throne, there was too little space now for anything more, except his downfall.
So by popular demand, two volumes were added in the middle of the saga at the time while Arthur reigned in full glory as Britain's high King.
These welcome additional volumes were 4 _Pendragon_ (story of the invading Black Boar- i.e. the Vandal horde) and 5 _Grail_ (story of the revolt against Arthur by one of his own knights in league with hard-hearted witch Morgian).
So here's the revised order to read them to keep the story straight: 1Taliesin, 2Merlin, 3Arthur partI [Pelleas], 3Arthur partII [Bedwys], 4Pendragon, 5Grail, 3Arthur partIII [Aneirin].
Now the problem was a rather sad situation: at the final end, Arthur is missing, presumed dead, and as always in these retelling of the Arthur legend, there is the vague hint that one day when Britain's need is great, we will see the return of the King.
Hence: one last volume, set in our own perilous future: volume 6 _Avalon_.
Enjoy a wonderful journey!
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Lawhead added his own twists to Arthurian legend, in a Christianity-friendly, mythic-realism retelling of the years leading up to the tales of Arthur and his knights that we know and love. "Taliesin" takes place before the time of Merlin, starring Merlin's parents.
Charis is a pampered young princess of Atlantis, a seemingly idyllic civilization reminiscent of Greece. The only jarring note is a blind, seemingly mad prophet who predicts doom will soon fall upon Atlantis, and that the island will sink into the sea. Charis initially doesn't believe him, but upon the sudden, emotionally-scarring death of her mother, she leaves her family and becomes a bull dancer in honor of one of the Atlantean gods. (The scenes where she dances around and over the bull are breathtaking)
But a serious injury prompts her and her well-trained team to retire, and she returns home to find her father Avallach seriously ill, and married to his sly-eyed nurse. Charis now has a younger sister, Morgian, a creepy child heavily influenced by the family advisor, whose initially pleasant personality is sinking deeper into melancholy and darkness. And Charis begins to believe: Atlantis is going to sink.
Meanwhile, as Charis struggles on Atlantis, a famously unlucky young man in Britain finds a baby caught in a fishnet; he hails this as the beginning of his good luck. When he finds a disgraced wet-nurse for baby Taliesin, he falls in love and marries her; his luck continues. Taliesin grows to manhood, intelligent and wise -- and gifted with strange and wonderful powers.
Charis barely escapes Atlantis with her family, arriving on the strange shores of Britain.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Paul Weiss on June 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Lawhead's storytelling is certainly ambitious. In Taliesin, he has proposed nothing less than a fanciful, fluid blending of three mythologies into a single epic history - the twilight and final cataclysmic collapse of the fantastic empire of Atlantis; the inspiring life of Taliesin, Celtic bard and shaman, thought to be father to Merlin, during the withdrawal of the Roman Empire in Britain and the onset of the Dark Ages; and the endlessly repeated (and despite today's protestations to the contrary, never proven) legend of Joseph of Arimathea's carrying the Holy Grail to Britain accompanied by the dizzying, wildfire spread of Christianity throughout Europe in the centuries following Christ's crucifixion in the Holy Land!

No doubt about it ... Lawhead's prose is certainly up to the task! His evocative, mellifluous descriptions of exotic settings include sight, motion and sounds in abundance. The pages seem to exude even smells with an uncanny sense of realism:

"And the smells - a pungent perfume concocted of the thick, greasy scent of food cooking in heavy olive oil; the rich, earthy odor of the cattle stalls beneath the stadium; the light, airy tang of sun-warmed salt air off the sea."

The almost effortless creation of a seamless chronology is achieved by the telling of a series of linked shorter tales - the Atlantean princess Charis' years spent dancing in the bull ring; the inspiring transformation of the Celtic son, Elphin, from luckless bumbler to respected king and feared warlord; and, Taliesin's relentless love for Charis in the face of overwhelming opposition from her father, Avallach.
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