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Mists of Avalon Paperback – January 1, 1982

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,286 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Avalon Series

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Paperback, January 1, 1982
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 876 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (January 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000GGOCIE
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,982,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" is one of my favorite versions of the Arthurian legend. I first read the novel in the early 1990s, right after its publication. I reread it recently and was surprised at how much I enjoyed this extraordinary novel the second time around. I turned the pages more slowly and took more time to savor Ms. Bradley's excellent narrative and fresh version of the legendary saga of the rise and fall of Camelot. Her take on the classic characters gives them new depth and dimension. She tells her tale from a feminine perspective, and while the King and knights of Camelot dwell on war, battles and keeping their golden city and realm safe, along with focusing on chivalric honor, the women have different priorities and concerns.

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.
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By A Customer on July 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
As I sense many of those who posted a review are women, I felt compelled to offer my thoughts.
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.
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By A Customer on March 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had forgotten my love for reading after going through so many books that didn't hold my attention. The Mists of Avalon reminded me of my love for a good book and got me hooked on Marion Zimmer Bradley. This book is a perfect blend of romance, action, magic and just plain creativity that binds you to the story and leaves you begging for more. This book tells the Arthurian legend through the eyes of the women around King Arthur's life. It tells the story of the strength of Morgain (his sister), Igraine (his mother) and Guenivere (his wife). It wonderfully portrays the bravery of these women in such a brutal time, without taking away the romance and insecurity's women feel. Beautiful book. Be sure to read the Forest House and Lady of the Lake also, which take place before The Mists of Avalon although Bradley wrote them afterward. I started with the Mists of Avalon and had no trouble at all. Marion Zimmer Bradley was a genious. I'm terribly gratefull to her for giving me something to refresh my mind.
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Format: Paperback
Many of Marion Zimmer Bradley's books are rather fluffy fantasies, fun and light. This is not the case with the mystical, magical "The Mists of Avalon." This spendid book is a retelling of the King Arthur legend from the point of view of the women involved, principally, Morgaine, King Arthur's half-sister and Priestess of Avalon, and Gwenhwyfar, the Christian princess and future Queen of Camelot.
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.
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