- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Ace (June 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451456521
- ISBN-13: 978-0451456526
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lady of Avalon (Avalon, Book 3) Paperback – June 1, 1998
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From Library Journal
This three-part fantasy, set in Roman-occupied Britain, creates the link between The Forest House and The Mists of Avalon and should satisfy fans of both those books. Spanning almost 400 years, it tells the stories of the high priestesses and ladies of Avalon. Recommended for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Bradley's sensational Arthurian fantasy, The Mists of Avalon (1982), could never have a sequel, not if Bradley wanted to keep women's power as the main theme, because after Camelot, you will recall, things went steadily downhill. So she retreated and wrote The Forest House (1994), a prequel about the struggle between native Celts and invading Romans in Avalon's home world. This sequel to House and prequel to Mists is set close enough to Arthurian times for such important figures as Merlin and Vivianne to appear, yet far enough before them to allow Bradley's imagination ample scope. In it, three characters capable of reincarnation--a priestess, a mother, and a son--appear in similar relationships in episodes set at the turn of the first to the second century A.D., the end of the third century, and the middle of the fifth century. In each time, Avalon is threatened; the mystic isle survives, of course, but only through sacrifice. Bradley's women are, as usual, strong and vibrant, but never before has she so effectively depicted the heroic male. Expect strong demand for this installment of an immensely popular saga; Viking does, to the tune of a 150,000-copy first printing. Patricia Monaghan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Although the mythology and history are rich, the material is squandered in these nearly plotless, barely connected stories. While Avalon tries to preserve the degenerated wisdom that remained when Atlantis sank into the ocean, the world is being torn apart by the oppression and instability of empire and waves of barbarian invasions. Caillean, Gawen, and the daughter of the fairy queen, Sianna, save Avalon, then their successors extend its influence outward to manipulate kings, princes, and military leaders. In spite of the sacrifices and losses, Britannia seems no better off; Rome clings to it, and the barbarians keep coming. There are important victories, but they seem contrived when the goddess is called on to frighten off the Saxons, and they do little more than provide a break in the onslaught. The plots are so minimal and the useless details so many that it's not clear to what extent Britannia's rebelliousness and vulnerability contributed to Rome's decline and fall.
The goddess religion of Avalon is murky at best. Unlike in The Mists of Avalon and The Forest House, the magic here is unquestionably real; the visions are not drug-induced hallucinations, and priestesses invoke the goddess to deter the enemy. The "ancient wisdom" seems to be centered on the power of the earth (focused along leys), the seasons, and reincarnated souls like Gawen, Sianna, Dierna, and Carausius. Practice of the religion is as ordered and artificial as the rule of Rome, with strict rules and elaborate rituals that owe more to the human predilection for control than to the concept of nature and the earth. Even the most natural of emotions and acts, love and non-ritual sex, are forbidden. Young men and women are drawn to Avalon, but their passion is poorly articulated, especially when they cannot know the mysteries revealed during training and initiation. There is nothing special about the character or intelligence of the many of the Druids and priestesses called to Avalon; why are they singled out to preserve the ancient wisdom and mysteries?
While the plots and the secondary characters are weak, the real problem is that so many of the primary characters are selfish and unlikable. Gawen, the "Pendragon" and "Son of a Hundred Kings," from beginning to end is unremarkable, displaying predictable rebelliousness and nobility at the expected moments. He is so susceptible to suggestion that "the priest's words had tainted the Druid ways as well." Dramatically and childishly, he exclaims, "You both want to possess me, but my soul is my own! . . . I am leaving to seek my kin of Rome!" His soul mate, Sianna, has no more personality than Waterwalker, whose role is to pole the Avalon barge. High priestess Dierna does not seek the obvious path, proving the fairy queen's point: "But I do not know what the purpose is, exactly, and if I did, I would not be allowed to speak of it; for it is often in working for or in avoiding a prophecy that people do the very things they should not." We are told that Teleri, who is weak, pliant, and passive, is destined to become high priestess of Avalon; why would the goddess, the Druids, and the priestesses choose someone so unsuitable for such a position? At her worst, high priestess Ana is egotistical and petty, especially with regard to her daughter, Viviane. Is it Ana or the goddess who says, "I would gain nothing. I already have everything."? For reasons that are never explained, the enigmatic fairy queen insists that her daughter become a priestess of Avalon, and it is her line whose members impose their will on events rather than that of the goddess, proving their human side stronger than their role as conductor of magic. Of all the major characters, only Caillean, Taliesin, and perhaps Carausius are likable, revealing both human weaknesses and a greater wisdom. Although it is strongly hinted that Carausius is a reincarnation of Gawen's soul, they are different enough that it raises the question of what these souls are and why only certain ones return again and again, while others are "once born." The whims of the god and goddess, as channeled through these souls and through the Druids and priestesses, appear to be as illogical as those of any human.
Without a solid plot driven by strong, sympathetic characters, Lady of Avalon lacks the touches of historical and magical drama that made The Forest House at least interesting. Although the novel reveals some of the reasons for the decline of Avalon and the goddess religion, Lady of Avalon adds little essential to The Mists of Avalon.
I can say that every page of this book has been amazing. I loved the myths made real, I loved the characters, I loved the story line, everything.
Maybe the only thing I wish was different was...the size of the book. I wish this book was huge so I would just as well never run out of pages to read. I wished more details about the lives of the characters and their likes and dislikes. Then again that's me.
I really enjoyed this book. One idea, when reading it maybe try to read it in a meditative state. It's awesome!