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Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur (The Pendragon Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 552 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"The book is so rich that it is impossible to recount every nuance, every emotion transmitted, each of the author's choices to depart from tradition or adopt unfamiliar elements, while manipulating them in favor of the economy of the narration... It tells the story of war with rawness and realism, love with feeling and sensuality, magic with naturalness and enchantment... Ruth Nestvold truly has my gratitude and commendation for managing to rewrite and re-invent this story of love and war so masterfully, creating one of the most beautiful books I have ever read."

- Review of the Italian translation of Yseult by Valentina Coluccelli

From the Author

Yseult, A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur is Book One of the Pendragon Chronicles. I have long been fascinated with Arthurian fiction, be it fantasy, historical fiction, or the legends that have come down to us from the Middle Ages. But my favorites have always been the novels that try to create a historic Dark Ages setting for the legends, such as Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset. I tried to do something similar while writing Yseult -- just with magic. My friend Elizabeth Bear once called the book "high mud fantasy," an excellent description to my way of thinking!

Many of the twists in my version of the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult, as well as my portrayal of "the court of King Arthur," come from less well known Arthurian traditions and historical research. I have amassed shelves and shelves of books on ancient Ireland, the Celts, Arthurian and Celtic legends, Roman and Sub-Roman Britain, and the question of Arthur's historicism. I hope my research makes for a richer reading experience.

Book Two of the Pendragon Chronicles, Shadow of Stone, appeared in June, 2012. It picks up the story ten years after the events of Yseult. If you enjoyed Yseult, be sure to check out Shadow of Stone!

Product Details

  • File Size: 1722 KB
  • Print Length: 552 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Dragon Books; 2 edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,064 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ruth Nestvold has published widely in science fiction and fantasy, her fiction appearing in such markets as Asimov's, F&SF, Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, and Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. The Italian translation of her novella "Looking Through Lace" won the "Premio Italia" award for best international work, while her novel, "Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur", has been translated into German, Dutch and Italian. She maintains a web site at and blogs at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By kbirdlincoln on January 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
(For transparency's sake, I should mention that the author and I belong to the same online writer's community.)

The key to Yseult is knowing what you're getting yourself into.

This book is very heavy on the history. If you are interested in the British Isles/Ireland of King Arthur's time, then you will indeed enjoy this book. Or if you enjoy books that delve into Kings and wars and political maneuvering, you will also enjoy this book.

It's got quite a lot of historical cast of characters mucking about with swords in historically-accurate sounding locations and ladies using mugwort, marigold, and comfrey to heal and detailed descriptions of Bretain, Eraiin, and Saxon Kings and generals fighting battles and raiding coast against a backdrop of Post-Roman colonnization of the British Isles.

As well as some authentic-sounding religious portrayals of St Patrick and the pagan religion of those times. (which I enjoyed. This Patraic is very believable as a Christian in the middle of a Pagan land trying to prove his God is the only God, while dealing fairly with the tension between Brehon law and Christian morality. I liked how possible the magic element of this book was portrayed. Yseult is of the Feadh Ree, a race in ancient Ireland who have 3 powers: the power of knowing, the power of calling, and the power of changing. The first two powers are always used in the book in such a way that they could be just force of personality and coincidence..while the third one is slightly more magical.

I also enjoyed meeting well-known characters and trying to guess where they fit into the Arthur mythology in general. We meet Mordrun and Myrrdin in this story, thought they play no big part.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kriti Godey on February 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I won an ebook of Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur in the LibraryThing member giveaway a couple of weeks ago. I opened up Yseult to flip through it and see what kind of a book it was. I'm usually not the biggest fan of romance, even though I love fantasy and historical books, so I wasn't really expecting to get sucked into this book like I was. I started reading, and couldn't stop.

Yseult is a retelling/interpretation/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of the classic Tristan and Isolde story. I was vaguely familiar with the story ("basically Romeo and Juliet"), but only to the extent that I recognise some characters and plot elements. I didn't even know that Tristan was one of Arthur's knights

The book is much more than a love story. It is truly an epic, exploring the conflicts between paganism and Christianity, political maneuvering between the various kings of Britain and Ireland, the wars between themselves and with the Saxons, and a lot more. It reminded me a bit of The Mists of Avalon, although Yseult was much more fun to read.

Anyway, onto an actual description of the book. Yseult the Fair is an Irish ("Erainn") princess descended from the Feadh Ree, the original race of Ireland. She grows up in a time where Christianity is trying to make inroads into Ireland, and has already taken over much of Britain. The Feadh Ree, who were once universally respected, are even being attacked by some Gaul kings. War is everywhere, and any available peace seems to be temporary. Yseult tries to make the best of her situation, defending her home when necessary. Along the way, she meets Drystan, and falls in love with him. However, for political and personal reasons, she agrees to be married to his father Marcus, one of the Kings of Dummonia.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Derek Murphy on January 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yseult is an expansive story of star-crossed lovers responsibly dealing with their various obligations; what starts as an intriguing romance continues into a detailed account of battles and military strategy. It's a very well-researched book, full of historical data, and offers a new glimpse of famous literary/historical figures surrounding the times of King Arthur. The main characters are both excellent and unique personalities. Altogether very well done and enjoyable, reminded me a bit of "Mists of Avalon".
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Young on February 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book presents the love story of Tristan and Isolde. I have to admit that I found myself a bit bored with the book. It used a lot of flowery language but seemed to take forever to get anywhere. There was a lot of history thrown in, which I typically enjoy. But I found that the author went out of her way to use old fashioned spellings, which was extremely distracting. Overall, I could not get into the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though I knew the historical story lines of both Tristan and Isolde and Arthur, I enjoyed this telling of the tales. Some readers have complained about the use of the old language, but that was part of what I enjoyed. Gaelic is a wonderful way to add depth and mystery. The characters were well developed and I cared what happened to them, even though I knew the inevitable outcome. The visuals were excellent and historical characters and places were blended well with the fictional parts. For those who need simple phrases and words (grow up and learn to read) this isn't for you, but if you're an adventurous reader who likes to submerge yourself in the language and era, it's a fun ride.
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