- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 27 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Curtis Brown
- Audible.com Release Date: January 9, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AZ7IGVS
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Winter Prince Audiobook – Unabridged
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Nowadays Elizabeth Wein is well known as the author of smash hit CODE NAME VERITY. But once upon a time she was Elizabeth E. Wein, debut author of an Arthurian retelling called THE WINTER PRINCE. Artos has three children. Medraut, the oldest, is a illegitimate and cannot inherit. Lleu, the prince, is beautiful and fragile and talented and spoiled. Goewin, his twin, will not inherit either since she is a woman. The children love each other, but there's also a great deal of resentment and hurt feelings between them.
THE WINTER PRINCE is written like a letter from Medraut to his aunt and mother, Morgause. She's a cruel woman with a terrible hold on her sons, but at the same time almost understandable as a woman trying to grasp all the power a woman can have. Medraut perhaps loves and hates her even more than her loves and hates Lleu.
There isn't much of a plot to THE WINTER PRINCE. It's a book about a relationship, and two people coming to terms with who they are. It's wonderfully written, Wein's prose lending the book a fittingly seductive and sharp beauty. It's a little messy, just like it's protagonist, and swiftly covers a great deal of time. It's one of those books that sticks in your mind long after you read it, and comes back to you immediately once you read the first sentence again.
It's just everything I want out of a book on the Matter of Britain. And believe me, I'm an Arthurian geek and I want a lot. It has questions of honor and what makes a good ruler, family and romance, and it's all bound up in insane episodes of cruelty, incest, and violence. It holds its own with some of the greats of Arthurian legend, like Malory and Marie de France and Rosemary Sutcliff.
Let's all give a big hand to Open Road for reprinting this under appreciated classic. They've done it quite nicely, with a biography of Wein in the back and illustrations prefacing each chapter. The illustrations have a nicely simple, old-fashioned look to them. Sadly, I couldn't find the credit for the illustrator.
I listed this as historical because it is a very unique and unusual version of the King Arthur legend. Just very difficult to explain how this is done. The names are different and characters and portions of the story are left out. Perhaps I would not have recognized the connection to the legend had I not known before I read it. It is a play on Mordred, in this book named Medraut. It is the first time I have read a book that is told in the first person as if he were telling or writing it to a specific person, in this case Morgause. Although he calls her grandmother, she is his mother, sister to the King (Arto who represents Arthur in this story. Medraut of course is the bastard son born of incest. Lleu is King Artos' legitimate son and Lleu's twin sister is Goewin (another new character).
This is really the story of Medraut and Lleu and a very intriguing story of Medraut's deepest feelings as he is tortured by Morgause and yet loves her and cannot get away from her evil influence, resents and yet is devoted to his younger brother Lleu who will some day be king. Medraut and his father Aros both know that Medraut is better suited for the role but it can never be. The development of the relationship between these two half brothers with Lleu starting off as a sickly child unlikely to survive, the incredible sacrifices that Medraut takes to save and cure him, Lleu's sometimes rudeness toward his half brother - well it is brilliantly done. I had a little trouble getting into the story at first, perhaps because I had a little trouble getting into Medraut telling the story to Morgause, but once into it I could not put it down. My copy is a small size paperback of 202 pages and a quick read. The last fifty pages or so had me so drawn in to the story I read into the early morning hours. Betrayal, cruelty, hatred, love - all wrapped up together between these two brothers. Great but very intense reading. I had no idea how it was going to play out.
Goewin - "If you don't bring Lleu back alive and unharmed I'll kill you, I swear it, surely, I will find a way to kill you."
Medraut - "I fear you as little as you fear me, I whispered."
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