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The Mists of Avalon Paperback – May 12, 1987
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Young and old alike will enjoy this magical Arthurian reinvention by science fiction and fantasy veteran Marion Zimmer Bradley. --Bonnie Bouman
--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
Top Customer Reviews
The tale is told from the points of view of the much maligned Morgaine, (Morgana Le Fey), Priestess of Avalon and Gwenhwyfar, (Gwynivere), Christian princess and future queen of Camelot. Although most of the events of the traditional Arthurian legend are presented here, it is extremely interesting how the tale, told by men, changes when viewed through the eyes and experiences of a woman. This is also the important story of the political and religious conflict between the new Christianity and the "old ways" of goddess worship. Believers of each religion seek to control the throne, but ultimately Christianity ascends to be the organized religion of the land. Since Morgaine is a Druid High Priestess, it would explain why she received such a bad rap in Christian civilization. The reader also views other famous female characters from a different vantage point, including Igraine, Morgaine's and Arthur's mother,
Ms.Read more ›
A little preface: I read this book when I was in my early 30's. I am a college-educated professional, and a married heterosexual. I generally read non-fiction: political and military history and mountaineering literature. This book came up in a discussion with my wife, a published writer, who has read it several times and claimed it was one of her all-time favorites. As this is not slight praise from a woman who thinks Shakespeare was a lighweight compared to John Dunne, and actually argue the point!
So I picked up this book and read the first page. Quite a mistake. Three days later I finished this is not so small work having spent nearly every available non-working moment enthralled in this modern masterpiece. Simply put, it is very well written. It is a great story and it is well told. There is romance, fantasy, religion, war, politics, intrigue, and other elements to keep your attention.
I pity those who are so heavily invested in the "accuracy" of the Arthurian legend as to miss the beauty of this book. Doubly so for those who are too religiously dogmatic.
Although "The Mists of Avalon" has been criticized as being a "feminist" book, I don't think this criticism holds up. Yes, the author chose to focus on the conflicts and emotions of the women involved, but their gender is far less important in the book than is their religion. Morgaine, as a Druid and Priestess of the Goddess, is struggling to keep her dying religion alive against the growth of Christianity and Gwenhwyfar.
The main character in "The Mists of Avalon" is Morgaine and we follow her from childhood to her rise as a priestess on the mystical Isle of Avalon, the home of the druids of the Old Religion, the religion of the Goddess. Avalon, as can be deduced from the book's title, is surrounded by swirling, protective mists that cause it to be invisibe to all but the initiated. Morgaine's life, down to its very core, is shaped both by her desire to serve the Goddess and by her despair at seeing the Old Religion being tossed aside in favor of Christianity, by royalty and the common people alike.
The book also focuses on Gwenhwyfar, and we are privy to her first meeting with Arthur when, as an innocent child, she crosses through the mists of Avalon to the other side. As Queen, she is a guilt-ridden figure who turns to Christianity in her desire to bear a child and begs Arthur to do the same, thus bringing about the fall of Camelot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Carefully researched story, told from the view of the female characters in the story; Rich in interesting details of that period plus a story that will Inform yet hold your... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Circe
I have been reading this book since middle school (15 years where has the time gone?!). One of my absolute favorite tales of King Arthur and Bradley did great research to pull her... Read morePublished 29 days ago by wyotabby88
This is probably my favorite version of the classical King Arthur tale. A unique telling from the perspective of the ladies of the Court and a realistic portrayal of the Christian... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
Honestly: I would have really enjoyed this book if I hadn't known about the sexual abuse allegations levied at Marion Zimmer Bradley. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lee Clingenpeel
I'm enchanted with this book. I love the adventure and romance of these legends and how the author has depicted them here.Published 1 month ago by Rachel A. Cascio