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Forest House [Paperback]

Marion Zimmer Bradley
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1995
Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warleader, is gifted with visionary powers that cause her to be named a High Priestess at the Forest House, but she is unable to resist her forbidden love for the soldier Gaius. Reprint.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

YA-The setting of this historical/fantasy novel is Roman Briton. Eilan, a Druid girl who has been raised in the cult of the Goddess with the priestesses wielding the power, has fallen in love with a young Roman named Gaius. He is a half-Briton whose mother was of the Druid tribes and whose father is a powerful officer in the Roman legions. The clash between these two cultures and the eventual hope of unification through Eilan and Gaius's son is one of the book's many story lines. Bradley does a masterful job of creating the flavor of the period and the two diverse cultures, as well as strong female characters. With its elements of love story, intense emotions, and mysticism, Forest House will appeal to YAs.
Susan B. McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The forbidden love of a druid priestess and a Roman soldier mirrors the clash of cultures in Roman Britain in the latest novel by the author of The Mists of Avalon (Ballantine, 1985). The novel evokes an age when three major religions maintained an uneasy coexistence on the island of Britain. Eilan, a daughter of goddess-worshiping druids, and Gaius Marcellius, a half-British Roman, live for the coming of a legendary future king to unite the warring islanders. Bradley envisions the "old religion" as a refreshing blend of classic and revisionist concepts, adding a distinct flavor to her seamless weave of history and myth. Most libraries will want this for their fantasy collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Shafts of golden light shone through the trees as the setting sun dropped below the clouds, outlining each new-washed leaf in gold. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forest House March 9 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like all of the Zimmer Bradley books it verges on being a masterpiece and takes you to a world we lost long ago...The Mists of Avalon is a true masterpiece...this is a companion work...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing prequel to Mists of Avalon March 28 1998
By A Customer
Usually if MZB writes it, I love it. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with The Forest House. I're read Mists of Avalon at least 15 times over the years and will certainly read it 15 more, but the only reason I would read The Forest House again would be to confirm how truly mediocre it is. The concept of the book is wonderful and leaves MZB plenty of room for character development, social commentary, and plotting. However, the book only deliver social commentary. Eilan and Gaius, the main characters, just aren't believable. They meet and fall in love immediately, for no apparent reason. Eilan is supposed to become the High Priestess to take control back from the Druids, but she seems to go along with her grandfather, the Arch-Druid, just as her predecessor did. Gaius seems to be an idealistic young Roman who would risk everything for Eilan, but he caves in to his father's pressure and marries a Roman instead. Nothing seems to follow. The beginning and the ending of the book are the best parts; however, the entire body doesn't bear much relationship to those parts. Since I had put off reading this book for months until a time that I could immerse myself in it and a rereading of Mists, discovering that Forest House is so weak has been a real disappointment. This would be a fine effort for a first-time author, but pretty lame for MZB.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Although not quite as good as MISTS OF AVALON July 15 2004
this prequel is still excellent.
The story is set in the days of Roman occupation of Britain. Gaius, a young Roman officer and son of the local Roman commandant with his British wife has met and fallen in love with Eilan, the daughter of a powerful Druid family. Neither family approves of the match and forces the two apart. For the rest of their lives they met again and again only to be torn apart. Ultimately their unfulfilled love sets the stage for the events in MISTS OF AVALON.
The story is again told, at least in part, from a feminine point of view. As in MISTS there is a greek tragedy feel of unescapable doom. The characters are engaging and 'feel real', the plot is compeling making this a book that is hard to put down. It does not quite live up to MISTS due at least in part, to its more simplistic story line. Unlike MISTS' numerous story lines THE FOREST HOUSE focuses on Eilan and Gaius with Caillean, a priestess of the Forest House filling in gaps. This prequel is also significantly shorter. Still for any fan of MISTS OF AVALON this is a must read and would be enjoyable on its own as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 31 2004
This is a gorgeously written book, and I've been reading Marian Zimmer Bradley's work for years. It's not quite up to snuff with her masterpiece THE MISTS OF AVALON (for which it is a prequel) but it is still a gorgeously written, feminist examination of the conflict between Druidic and Roman cultures in early Britain. I recommend reading it after you read THE MISTS OF AVALON, because you'll get more out of this book and also color what you learned in MISTS in sharper focus.
I also recommend reading one of Zimmer Bradley's early novels, THE FALL OF ATLANTIS, which was recently put back into print by Baen Books. THE FOREST HOUSE alludes to Atlantean culture as an ancient source for Druidism, and if you've read THE FALL OF ATLANTIS, you'll pick up on some of that. It's cool to see how Zimmer Bradley's books fit together, even if they were written thirty years apart.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Novel of Avalon & The Lady Of The Lake April 22 2004
Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Forest House" is a prequel to her bestselling Arthurian novel, "The Mists of Avalon." Both novels revolve around the goddess religion in early Britain. "The Forest House," set in 1st century Roman ruled Britannia, is the home of Druidic priestesses who keep the ancient rites of learning, healing, and magic lore. Ms. Bradley writes of the Roman conquest of Celtic Britain and the political and religious implications of the occupation. Roman rule also impacted the role of women in Britain. Goddess worship, women's freedom and power waned under the Romans. This novel gives the author's historical version of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake.
Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warrior and granddaughter of Ardanos, Arch-Druid of Britannia, is gifted with the "sight" and has longed to serve the Goddess as a healer-priestess in the Forest House. She meets and falls in love with Gauis, a half Roman-half British youth, and son of the Roman Prefect Macellius Severus, second-in-command in Britainnia. They want to marry but are forbidden. Heartbroken, Eilan fulfills her original wish and dedicates herself to the Lady. Ms. Bradley blends a fascinating story with accurate research to give the reader a good picture of early Britain and the various political, cultural and religious factions, both local and Roman, which vied for power there.
Bradley's narrative is clear and her plot is believable, as are her characters. I prefer "The Mists of Avalon," not just because of the subject matter, but because the plot and characters are more complex. However, this is a solid novel with a sound plot and worth the read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Wonderful!!!
I loved this book. It was fantastic, thou maybe not a great as the Mists of Avalon it was amazing. I recommend it to people that are interested in early Britain times. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by "sakiara"
4.0 out of 5 stars Go estrogen go!
The set up-- that a young Druid Priestess shares a forbidden love with a half-breed Roman soldier that threatens to destroy both their worlds-- promises gory battles, love scenes,... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by JunkyardMessiah
4.0 out of 5 stars The Forest House
Not the best in the series, but great in and of itself. This is the beginning, where the line of Morgain and Viviane is rooted.
Published on Jan. 11 2003 by jagzier
5.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Must for Mists of Avalon Lovers
Bradley is a literary master, as is demonstrated by all of her Avalon works. The tales grab hold of the reader and suck you into Avalon with the characters. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2003 by Kelly Houser
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Brilliance Audio Version
I checked this out after listening to Davina Porter read "Mists of Avalon". I couldn't get past the first half of cassette one. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2003 by Debroa R. Vans Evers
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
I can't give this book 5 stars or even 4 and a half cause its NOWHERE NEAR Mists. But I LOVEd it anyway. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2002 by Kimberly
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best work
After reading the Mists of Avalon, I eagerly anticipated another opportunity to get lost in a Marion Zimmer Bradley novel. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2002 by S. E. Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History
I read this book in two days. I could not put it down. I still think about the characters.
Published on Aug. 19 2002 by Pepper Potts
5.0 out of 5 stars Marion Zimmer Bradley is Brilliant!!
The Forest House, the first of the Mists of Avalon series is a novel from a womens piont of view about history and the happenings of the world when Christianity was starting to... Read more
Published on July 8 2002 by "larson_a58"
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