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Forest House Paperback – Apr 1 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (TRD); Reprint edition (April 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451454243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451454249
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.3 x 22.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #343,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28 1998
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.
JANA
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By A Customer on June 30 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of MZB chiefly through her Darkover books. I started this with only medium expectations, just looking for a good weekend read. I didn't feel it even came up to that. I was hoping for a story and a world that would grip and engage me. It just didn't happen, and after the first few chapters, I gave up and skimmed the book.

Three things were to blame: The characters, including the two main characters, Eilan and Gaius, were not particularly interesting or given enough development. I never got swept up into the love story, maybe because they seemed so spiritless, submitting without protest to their parents, or in the case of Dieda and Cynric, to Avalon (if she and Eilan looked so much alike, what would have been simpler that to have Eilan take her place?) And Goddess forbid they force their parents' hands by becoming lovers!
Caillean and Lhiannon, the priestesses, are each in their separate ways, too depressed and/ or powerless to make good characters to identify with. Gaius' wife Julia could have been a strong, interesting character, but she tapers out.
I didn't feel the ancient worlds were evoked very realistically either (although I admit I skimmed most of the Avalon sections). Sometimes it reads more like someone displaying their research than creating a world (which MZB is fully capable of doing.)
The final problem I had, which led to my skimming most of the book, was the strain of sexual puritanism in the portrayal of Druid/Goddess culture. The emphasis on virginity for women (to the point of fathers killing women who "shame" themselves) has more to do with patriarchal cultures and religions than Goddess-centered ones. Certainly there is no research I know of to back up this view.
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