- File Size: 2055 KB
- Print Length: 912 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345350499
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (July 15, 2001)
- Publication Date: July 15, 2001
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000FC1JCQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,542 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$20.00|
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The Mists of Avalon: A Novel Kindle Edition
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--The New York Times Book Review
"Marion Zimmer Bradley has brilliantly and innovatively turned the myth inside out. . . . add[ing] a whole new dimension to our mythic history."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Gripping . . . Superbly realized . . . A worthy addition to almost a thousand years of Arthurian tradition."
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
From the Hardcover edition.
Young and old alike will enjoy this magical Arthurian reinvention by science fiction and fantasy veteran Marion Zimmer Bradley. --Bonnie Bouman --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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For my review, I won't get into the actual story line or historic facts VS. mythology and fiction (many reviewers have already gone that route). I want to express my overall impressions of this book, because the feelings this book evoked caused 10+ rereads!
The writing in this book is incredible. It sucks you right into the time period and character's minds. You really feel you're there with them experiencing everything. There is historical accuracy mixed in with fiction, little elements like clothing and food that are woven throughout the story in a way that's not tedious to read, but adds to the feel of the book. It's like stepping into a time machine. The interpersonal relationships are masterful and you really become part of the story. When you think of King Arthur myths, this is the type of story you envision. One that makes you question your beliefs about magic, mystery, and humanity -- that in my mind is perfect historical fiction. The author poured her heart and soul into this book, and it shows on every single page.
Bottom line, it's not a book ... it's an experience.
Morgaine is the main protagonist. And unlike in most retellings, she’s not an evil sorceress. Instead, she’s an initiate of Avalon, a mythical island that’s home to a sect of Goddess worshippers trying to stave off Christianity’s growing influence over Britain. Bradley includes the familiar love triangle between Arthur, Gwenhwyfar, and Lancelet (a.k.a. Lancelot), but the contest of religions is the core struggle in The Mists of Avalon. Viviane, Lady of Avalon when the story begins, places Arthur on the throne so that he may serve his Christian and non-Christian subjects alike. But Gwenhwyfar convinces him to become ever more Christian, and Viviane and Morgaine consider this conversion a betrayal of the oaths he swore to win the crown. In the years that follow, Avalon sets itself against Camelot and grows intolerant in kind.
Not everyone is as narrow-minded about religion, however. Morgause has little use for gods or goddesses, while the druidic Merlins (plural, in this version) believe all deities are one. Such a diversity of viewpoints is also present in how Bradley portrays the different spheres of influence available to women in her historical fantasy of early Britain. In Avalon, Morgaine and Viviane lead a matriarchal society. In the North, Morgause defies convention and rules as a queen who takes lovers as she wills. But in the South, Igraine and Gwenhwyfar (mostly) accept their priests’ advisements that they should be content to stay in their castles and make children and clothing for their husbands.
The overall story is more philosophical than I’m used to for a tale of King Arthur. It’s also slower; The Mists of Avalon spans generations and glosses over the usual knightly contests and heroic deeds. But if you want a Camelot that makes you think, Bradley’s seminal work is worth a read.
Top international reviews
The first installation in her Avalon series, The Mists of Avalon focuses on familiar characters from Arthurian legend, detailing their various rises and falls. Bradley models and refashions the legends in her retelling, making it distinctly her own in several ways:
• Narrative perspective: this is famously a feminist perspective on a story traditionally dominated by knights and quests. The narrative is framed by Morgaine’s first-person retrospective narration while the rest is told in first-person. The story begins with Igraine, Arthur’s mother, long before the Round Table was ever installed in the hall, even before Arthur’s conception.
• Character interpretation: Bradley also re-casts the two most notorious women of the story: Morgaine (more commonly known as Morgan le Fay), and Gwenhyfar (Guinevere). Morgaine is the story's heroine who drives the plot’s action as she moves through the major settings of the book from the magical, pagan isle of Avalon to Arthur's court at Camelot and even to fairyland. Gwenhyfar is less sympathetically portrayed as a close-minded, pious, devout Christian who struggles to reconcile her faith with her sinful passion for Lancelet.
This is an extremely long book, clocking in at over 1,000 pages, so it's quite a commitment to finish. Despite being a slow burner, much of this book doesn’t drag at all, as it offers the reader a fascinating insight into the characters' lives over the decades, propelled throughout by a melodic, haunting and mystical writing style.
The Mists of Avalon covers the personal, political and spiritual; characters’ passions and wants are inextricably entwined with religious upheaval and the machinations of the royal court. The decline of the pagan religion and rise of Christianity is a prevalent theme, one on which most of the characters’ relationships – whether those of passion, love or fuelled by animosity – hinge.
Unfortunately, I think the novel’s major weakness is the end. This lengthy tome puts up a good fight but loses momentum in the last few hundred pages as events become more and more ridiculous. I lost sympathy for the character who I loved and rooted for, Morgaine, which made me much more disengaged with the story itself.
The climactic ending which is foreshadowed from as early as the Prologue deserved more page time, and the main villain of the story should have received more development and insight into his/her motives (no spoilers). This lack of understanding made the final events less satisfying and rich.
Ultimately, the quality of the end made me relieved that I had finally finished this: especially as it took me over a month to read it. It's a shame as for much of this audiobook's 50 hours I was under its spell.
Note: Davina Porter narrates the audiobook and she is truly excellent – her voice is compelling, rich and sophisticated and she effectively gives the wide cast of characters their own 'voice'.
I thought it would be interesting to read this book on Avalon and the legend that is King Arthur, his wife Gwen, the round table, Camelot, his knights, Lancelet and Morganaine.
It is a very long book and took me days to read it. It was really intense and at times I had to re-read a few pages at a time so that I could understand it.
Overall, I enjoyed it but I think that I will have to read it again to understand it a bit more, which I will do.
I hope that if you download to read you will enjoy it too.
There are an abundance of disappointing errors in this kindle edition- missing speach marks, h's instead of b's and some irregularities in continuity- that need ironing out, so I'd recommend the real book until such a time as the ebook has been fully edited. My 4 ★'s is reflective of this.
It is the best retelling of the Arthur and Avalon legends that I've ever come across, rivalled only by the great Mary Stewart's stories which focus mostly on Merlin.
The historical research is detailed and superb. The spiritual world of the times really comes to life and the telling of how Christianity threatened to take over, yet the old ways weaved their own way into the teachings of the priests is fascinating. The characters are three dimensional and I found myself caring about all of them. Zimmer Bradley brings a real sense of the ancient history that was instrumental in shaping the beautiful green lands of Britain.
I'm now really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
A very clever retelling of the Arthurian legend,told solely from a female perspective.
It is much cleverer than the usual scenario of... Morgaine bad...Arthur good.
It is indeed a battle for power...but not so one dimensional as a battle for the throne,but more a battle for the hearts and minds of men.
If the author does go off at times on a tangent,then she more than makes up for it,by offering the reader a story which is rich in imagery,character and mythology.
A really good read.
I read this book over a decade ago and it changed my life. I have never read something so inspiring and uplifting and hope-provoking, for women in particular and the world in general. I read it again a short time later and then recently bought the hardback. I read adult fantasy and though this is not strictly my kind of high fantasy I was glad to come across it.
Phew what a breath of fresh air. Female characters that actually reflect female people I know, female people that might have been, and a history, as sad as it is, that may have come to pass. And also religion with a goddess. Truly different, thank you.
It continues to be an inspiration in my life and I hope that one day my books will carry the torch of higher ideals that Marion Zimmer Bradley ignited. I wish I could thank you in person. Rest in peace MZB.
It covers the life and characters in the legends of King Arthur,Camelot and Avalon, but from a totally different angle. The various characters have different personalities than those we've grown up with but I liked that (never did think Morgan Le Faye was totally evil and Gwenivere totally good!) A long book but a good read
As an Ebook - slightly disappointing with poor punctuation and consistency of format which distracts the eye and mind from the storyline which is shame but otherwise a good product
The story is also very well crafted and intelligently written with deep characters. It focuses mainly of the lives of the women of the court of King Arthur starting with his mother, aunts and wife but mainly the life of his sister, Morgaine who is traditionally the villain in the story. With this retelling of the story you really find yourself empathizing with all of the characters, especially Morgaine and Gwenyfar.
This story is above all a story of love that ends in tragedy and is perfect for anyone who has an interest in fantasy or history and can appreciate this epic story.