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Yseult: Parts 1-4 (The Pendragon Chronicles) by [Nestvold, Ruth]
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Yseult: Parts 1-4 (The Pendragon Chronicles) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in The Pendragon Chronicles (3 Book Series)
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Length: 552 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"The book is so rich that it is impossible to recount every nuance, every emotion transmitted, each of the author's choices to depart from tradition or adopt unfamiliar elements, while manipulating them in favor of the economy of the narration... It tells the story of war with rawness and realism, love with feeling and sensuality, magic with naturalness and enchantment... Ruth Nestvold truly has my gratitude and commendation for managing to rewrite and re-invent this story of love and war so masterfully, creating one of the most beautiful books I have ever read."

- Review of the Italian translation of Yseult by Valentina Coluccelli

From the Author

Yseult, A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur is Book One of the Pendragon Chronicles. I have long been fascinated with Arthurian fiction, be it fantasy, historical fiction, or the legends that have come down to us from the Middle Ages. But my favorites have always been the novels that try to create a historic Dark Ages setting for the legends, such as Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset. I tried to do something similar while writing Yseult -- just with magic. My friend Elizabeth Bear once called the book "high mud fantasy," an excellent description to my way of thinking!

Many of the twists in my version of the tragic love story of Tristan and Iseult, as well as my portrayal of "the court of King Arthur," come from less well known Arthurian traditions and historical research. I have amassed shelves and shelves of books on ancient Ireland, the Celts, Arthurian and Celtic legends, Roman and Sub-Roman Britain, and the question of Arthur's historicism. I hope my research makes for a richer reading experience.

Book Two of the Pendragon Chronicles, Shadow of Stone, appeared in June, 2012. It picks up the story ten years after the events of Yseult. If you enjoyed Yseult, be sure to check out Shadow of Stone!

This edition contains the complete text of the novel, all four books:
- Part I: Two Women
- Part II: A Man and a Woman
- Part III: Two Men and a Woman
- Part IV: Two Women and a Man

Product Details

  • File Size: 3696 KB
  • Print Length: 552 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Dragon Books; 2 edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,671 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
(For transparency's sake, I should mention that the author and I belong to the same online writer's community.)

The key to Yseult is knowing what you're getting yourself into.

This book is very heavy on the history. If you are interested in the British Isles/Ireland of King Arthur's time, then you will indeed enjoy this book. Or if you enjoy books that delve into Kings and wars and political maneuvering, you will also enjoy this book.

It's got quite a lot of historical cast of characters mucking about with swords in historically-accurate sounding locations and ladies using mugwort, marigold, and comfrey to heal and detailed descriptions of Bretain, Eraiin, and Saxon Kings and generals fighting battles and raiding coast against a backdrop of Post-Roman colonnization of the British Isles.

As well as some authentic-sounding religious portrayals of St Patrick and the pagan religion of those times. (which I enjoyed. This Patraic is very believable as a Christian in the middle of a Pagan land trying to prove his God is the only God, while dealing fairly with the tension between Brehon law and Christian morality. I liked how possible the magic element of this book was portrayed. Yseult is of the Feadh Ree, a race in ancient Ireland who have 3 powers: the power of knowing, the power of calling, and the power of changing. The first two powers are always used in the book in such a way that they could be just force of personality and coincidence..while the third one is slightly more magical.

I also enjoyed meeting well-known characters and trying to guess where they fit into the Arthur mythology in general. We meet Mordrun and Myrrdin in this story, thought they play no big part.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I won an ebook of Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur in the LibraryThing member giveaway a couple of weeks ago. I opened up Yseult to flip through it and see what kind of a book it was. I'm usually not the biggest fan of romance, even though I love fantasy and historical books, so I wasn't really expecting to get sucked into this book like I was. I started reading, and couldn't stop.

Yseult is a retelling/interpretation/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of the classic Tristan and Isolde story. I was vaguely familiar with the story ("basically Romeo and Juliet"), but only to the extent that I recognise some characters and plot elements. I didn't even know that Tristan was one of Arthur's knights

The book is much more than a love story. It is truly an epic, exploring the conflicts between paganism and Christianity, political maneuvering between the various kings of Britain and Ireland, the wars between themselves and with the Saxons, and a lot more. It reminded me a bit of The Mists of Avalon, although Yseult was much more fun to read.

Anyway, onto an actual description of the book. Yseult the Fair is an Irish ("Erainn") princess descended from the Feadh Ree, the original race of Ireland. She grows up in a time where Christianity is trying to make inroads into Ireland, and has already taken over much of Britain. The Feadh Ree, who were once universally respected, are even being attacked by some Gaul kings. War is everywhere, and any available peace seems to be temporary. Yseult tries to make the best of her situation, defending her home when necessary. Along the way, she meets Drystan, and falls in love with him. However, for political and personal reasons, she agrees to be married to his father Marcus, one of the Kings of Dummonia.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yseult is an expansive story of star-crossed lovers responsibly dealing with their various obligations; what starts as an intriguing romance continues into a detailed account of battles and military strategy. It's a very well-researched book, full of historical data, and offers a new glimpse of famous literary/historical figures surrounding the times of King Arthur. The main characters are both excellent and unique personalities. Altogether very well done and enjoyable, reminded me a bit of "Mists of Avalon".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Romantic tragedy has always attracted readers. Romeo and Juliet is one of the most romantic and yet sad stories of all time. But their story was taken from an even older one that is much more heroic and adventurous. It is the story that has been told for hundreds of years with various names as the lovers. It is in Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur by Ruth Nestvold that the reader gets to smile, cheer, and cry for Yseult and Drystan.

The story goes back to the times of Roman occupation of the British Isles and the rise of King Arthur. The Irish fought the advancement of the Romans the religion of Christianity they brought. The old ways became a battle cry for many. For the daughter of a queen, it became more than that. She became the one to bridge cultures through a loveless marriage while loving her step-son who had her heart. The tangled webs they all weave in trying to stay honorable and yet find love trap them in lies, deceit, and death. It's a story you'll cry with as you read.

This is not a fast read as many romances can be. It is more than just a story of two ill-fated lovers. It is a story of the battle of Britain and Ireland as well as the battle of hearts. The beginning moves a little slow as the author sets up the story and establishes the history that will be very important in preventing full bloom of love and the causes of conflict and war. It was many pages in before Drystan was introduced. Once the lovers meet, the action picks up.

If you are one that just wants to focus on the main characters, this might be a book you avoid. The battles are drawn out in detail. The relationships among others around them are explored.
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