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

Ruth Nestvold
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

"Once upon a time beyond history, in an age almost beyond imagination, there was a girl as fair as the moon, sitting on a horse and watching a fire. The bonfire is a part of history, but the princess is a part of legend.
"Tristan and Isot, Tristram and Isolde, Essyllt and Drust, Yseult and Drystan: the spellings have changed, but they have always been lovers - the greatest lovers the world has ever known. Most accounts of their story have begun with the man.
"This one begins with the woman."

For the price of a truce, Yseult is sent to a world where magic is dying - to marry the father of the man she loves.

Marcus's son Drystan would have saved her from a loveless marriage, but with her relatives being held hostage, Yseult cannot endanger them and must go through with the wedding. The tragic love story of Yseult and Drystan plays out against the backdrop of a violent world threatening to descend into the Dark Ages - only Arthur's battles to push back the Saxon hordes can save what is left of civilization. With her background, Yseult could act as a bridge between the old age and the new - but will the price be too high?

Yseult is a retelling of the tragic tale of Tristan and Isolde, a story older than Romeo and Juliet or Lancelot and Guinevere; an Arthurian romance with roots going back far into the realm of legend and the undying tales of King Arthur.

A #1 best-seller in Arthurian fantasy!

This edition contains the complete text of the novel, all four books:
- Part I: Two Women
- Part II: A Man and a Woman
- Part III: Two Men and a Woman
- Part IV: Two Women and a Man

What readers are saying about The Pendragon Chronicles:

- "This book is simply Epic! Not only for the length of it (came as a shock after reading novellas for a while!) but also for the amount of history, information and detail given." Review of Yseult by Marissa.

- "For those who like a strong historical component in their historical fiction. Yseult is fully realized as an Irish princess, with a component of "powers" totally appropriate to the myths of Ireland and Arthurian tales. This story made even some of the less likely parts of the tale seem not just plausible, but inevitable." Review of Yseult by Cary.

- "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." Review of Yseult by Kriti Godey.

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)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Post-Roman Brittania battles and kings 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a romance! 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic story for Arthur Legend Fans 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
2.0 out of 5 stars Yseult 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love her novels!
Published 1 month ago by NM
4.0 out of 5 stars Love stories from this era and this was right up ...
Love stories from this era and this was right up there. Looking forward to reading the next one in the series.
Published 1 month ago by Jenny Fraser
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Sometimes confusing, an interesting read but not compelling.
Published 5 months ago by Maureen D. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Yseult
This book is simply Epic! Not only for the length of it (came as a shock after reading novellas for a while!) but also for the amount of history, information and detail given. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow starter but pretty good storyline
This book was a bit of a slow start for me, it took a little longer to get into than I would have liked. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nicole Coyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly beautiful
I loved the beauty of the words. I saw the land , the trees and the people. I felt the frustration of loving someone you couldn't have. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MyWay
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic romance written when "men were men" and women were treated...
A touching love story of the ages early in the times of King Arthur . Any one interested in those times needs to read this book written when men such as her lover, Tristan, lived .
Published 18 months ago by Ricardo
4.0 out of 5 stars Yseult - A Tale of Love
Like other people who have written reviews for this book; I overall liked the book. Caution: there were a lot characters and especially with the name Yseult and I felt the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Autumn Siegel
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read...
Well written prose and a well developed plot. An enjoyable read. The characters were engaging and I felt their joy and pain as I read. I would recommend this book to friends.
Published 21 months ago by Lee Baysdon
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pendragon Chronicles :Yeseult. Love it.
I wanted to be this woman of the far distant past with her magic, her humanity and compassion for her world. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kathy Jordan
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More About the Author

Since about the age six, Ruth Nestvold wanted to be a writer (besides wanting to be a singer and an actress and President of the United States), but for too many years she put practical pursuits first and writing fiction second. After completing a Ph.D. in literature and working as lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Freiburg, she took time off from academic pursuits to attend the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a six week "boot camp" for writers of science fiction and fantasy. She learned more there than she could have dreamed possible, changed her priorities, and gave up theory for imagination. Two years later, she sold her first short story to the acclaimed science fiction magazine, Asimov's. Since then, she has sold over forty pieces of short fiction to a variety of markets, including Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, and several year's best anthologies. She has been nominated for the Nebula, the Sturgeon, and the Tiptree awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella "Looking Through Lace" won the "Premio Italia" for best international work. Her novel Yseult appeared in German translation as Flamme und Harfe with Random House Germany and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. It is now available as an ebook in the original English. It was followed in June 2012 by the second book in the Pendragon Chronicles, "Shadow of Stone" ( She taught creative writing for a semester at the University of Stuttgart, participates regularly in online writing workshops, and founded the Villa Diodati workshop for English-speaking writers of speculative fiction in Europe. She maintains a web site at

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