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Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic & New Myths Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2001
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As in all anthologies, some of the stories are to my taste, some aren't, and there is probably somethig for everyone. In my opinion, the stunner of the bunch os Rosemary Edghill's "Prince of Exiles". Set among bloodthirsty warlords rather than knights-n-ladies, it is narrated by Ator (Arthur)'s bitter illegitimate son, as he unfolds his intricate plan for revenge against his father. It's a darkly engrossing story until you get to the last line--at which point it becomes a shocking, chilling, incredible, six-star story. WOW. I also enjoyed Tricia Sullivan's "The Secret Leaves", the romantic tale of young Vivien, who loves and seduces the ethereal Merlin, but eventually loses him to hs shamanistic dreams. And Judith Tarr's "Finding the Grail" is best described as "sweet", a story about a young girl named Melisende who quests for the Grail with the help of the pretty-boy knight Beaumains. Beaumains hides a secret--and it's not the secret you were expecting.
These stories and many others await you. If you liked _Mists of Avalon_ or any of the wave of women-centric Arthurian novels it inspired, give this book a chance; it's even cheap! LOL.
It's good stuff. This is a collaboration of short stories that deal with different perspectives of Avalon, Morgan Le Fay, and the entire Arthurian legend in the feminine aspect. What really entranced me was the various views/religious aura's surrounding each story - some from the druidic perspective, some from the more traditional Christian perspective. It's an interesting dynamic.
If you bought the book JUST for the Marion Zimmer Bradley story because you're a Mists of Avalon fan, you won't be disspointed. It's a brief story, but sweet . . . I don't know how well it fits into the book part of things, but it is still well written and fun. Make sure you delve into the other writings in the book as well, though. It's good stuff. (Roberson is in there, I know, and her story was pretty darn good).
All the stories are short enough you can read them in under an hour even if you're a slow reader, and they're all concise, nothing drags on for pages about unimportant things. Also, the stories all have a central theme that while it bends around king Arthur and Avalon, it also has it's own distinct theme.
From a story about a southern girl trying to attract Lancelot's attention, to a story about a girl that was part fey, part something else, there's a little bit of everything in the book. Even if all the stories don't interest you, there should be enough that you would like to justify purchasing the book.