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The Mists of Avalon [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Marion Zimmer Bradley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (763 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2000
In Marion Zimmer Bradley's masterpiece, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot's court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king's rise and schemed for his fall. From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur's kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds' and old and new religions' claims its most famous victim.

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Even readers who don't normally enjoy Arthurian legends will love this version, a retelling from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Morgaine (more commonly known as Morgan Le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar (a Welsh spelling of Guinevere) struggle for power, using Arthur as a way to score points and promote their respective worldviews. The Mists of Avalon's Camelot politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain; Christianity vs. Faery, and God vs. Goddess are dominant themes.

Young and old alike will enjoy this magical Arthurian reinvention by science fiction and fantasy veteran Marion Zimmer Bradley. --Bonnie Bouman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . Reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience. . . . An impressive achievement."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Marion Zimmer Bradley has brilliantly and innovatively turned the myth inside out. . . . add[ing] a whole new dimension to our mythic history."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Gripping . . . Superbly realized . . . A worthy addition to almost a thousand years of Arthurian tradition."
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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First Sentence
lands of Lyonnesse and Ys; on a clear day, so the fisherman said, their old castles could be seen far out under the water. But to Igraine they looked like towers of rock, ancient mountains and hills drowned by the ever encroaching sea that nibbled away, even now, at the very crags below the castle. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mythical, magical, but ultimately human story July 6 2004
I am, perhaps, somewhat biased about this book. I've read it, probably, at least a dozen times: let's put it this way, my hardcover copy is falling apart. Clearly I'm a fan, not just of Arthurian fiction but of Marion Zimmer Bradley as well.
A life-long enjoyment of Arthuriana will teach you one very clear thing: there is no definitive story or Arthur, and therefore all interpretations are as valid as the next. The existence of Arthur can barely be proven, and his identity is certainly up for debate. The stories of Camelot, the Round Table, and certainly of Lancelot and Guinevere are all Norman-French additions to a tale set hundreds of years prior in the Dark Ages. Arthur is an enduring legend but, as we know him, mostly a legend nonetheless.
Bradley's story, then, of the tale of Arthur through the women who knew him, is no less valid an interpretation than any of the rest, and certainly a unique one. Rich with its own legends and myths, "The Mists of Avalon" begins with Igraine, and goes forward through the eyes of Viviane, Morgaine, Morgause, and Gwenhwyfar, each with their own perspective on what truly were momentous times in the history of Britain. As Arthurian myth, it stands on its own two feet as well as any other, with its tales of war, love, religion, loyalty and betrayal spread across and repeated through several generations, closing with the end of an era and the beginning of Saxon rule over the island.
It is also, however, a tale of one human woman, Morgaine, and her life: her beginnings, her path, her faith, her love, her choices, her mistakes, and ultimately, her will to survive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Turning Point of my Summer June 28 2004
WOW. This book is fantastic in every way. I recommend this book to anyone--at any time--in any place. This book has changed my life and the way I look at things. PLEASE READ IT! Please make me feel as if I am not the only one who has had a part in this beautiful story of the women of Camelot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avalon views Arthur Jan. 9 2014
I am now genuinely impressed.

It was a little slow to start, but it is ending very well. The theme of the book is a little unusual. It proposes to re-tell the legend of King Arthur but from the women's point of view. It is more, Arthur from Avalon's point of view.I have read at least a dozen different versions of this legend, so I know all of the major elements that are usually found in it. They are all here, in this book, but I have never seen them so well addressed and so well integrated to the story.

There are many, new, differences. For instance, there is no "sword in the stone"; that is just superstitious peasant gossip. Morgan Le Fey is usually portrayed as a twisted and villainous Evil Sorceress. In this book, she is the most sympathetic, most loved and most respected heroine. She calls her Morgaine of the Fairies. But, we can understand very well how she could be seen as the Evil Sorceress. It is as if the legend had always been told from the perspective of the Christian church. The Victor writes History.

The author also throws in all kinds of other things. She even brings in Tristan and Isolde, though she calls them Durstan and Isotte. She gives a scathing account of St. Patrick, whom she calls Bishop Patricius. We have always been told that St. Patrick rid the isle of Ireland of its snakes. I always had a problem with this. How many snakes could possibly have lived in Ireland? But, Morgaine explains that Patricius was not at all referring to reptiles. He meant the Celtic Druids. These are the "snakes" he eliminated in Ireland.

I think I will remember this book as the best account of the King Arthur legend that I have ever read. It certainly makes a lot more sense than any of the others
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read March 24 2013
This story was written from a woman's perspective in the times of King Arthur. Its a Mystical and Magical story to read with a interesting twist from all the other versions of King Arthur that I have ever read. I have already read this book two times and I plan to read it again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favorites! Feb. 16 2007
By Val
It's been years since I've read this book - I just remember reading it and feeling such a spiritual epiphany.... I love magic!

The author of this great story has since passed away - what a tragic loss!

Definitely recommend this book to all fantasy lovers :)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a feminist book July 27 2002
People who consider this a feminist book are mistaken. Bradley's depiction of women in "Mists" is insulting to say the least. Women in "Mists" are either manipulative harpies or whining fools. All are small-minded, all are insecure, and all are incredibly self-centered.
I am so tired of this idea that to be a feminist means that you dislike men. Since when is a "strong woman" a woman who puts down and manipulates men at every turn? I have better words for women like that.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wonder Nov. 18 1999
By A Customer
I wonder how this happened. One of the mysteries of my life. How did this book get such reviews and such comments?
I'll get to the point... I read a lot of fantasy and also some science books. I've read some BORING technical books on subjects as chaos theory, but this was one of the books I had to struggle most to be able to finish.
In one word. DULL. This could have been a good book, but with 40% of the size or less. Hundreds and hundreds of pages where NOTHING happens.
The characters (or some of their aspects) are a insult to the arthurian legends. Little action happens, this book is WAY too long for what it offers.
It's kinda like a slow SOAP OPERA from a female point of view (example: many lines describing women seweing while warriors are at battle but no details about what is going on outside the castle).
Comparisions to Tolkien are a joke. What has this to do with J.R.R? Do not compare the master to a soap opera writer.
Give me a break, I'd give it 4 stars if it were a 200 page book, but it's really too long for such empty, boring characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mists of Avalon
This is a most wonderous book, a page-turner that will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2009 by S. Chris Mikalson
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait!
This book was given to me as a present over 15 years ago, and for some reason I held onto it though I never picked it up to read... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2009 by Why Not
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best!
I don't read two many books more then once, but I could read this one
over and over again. Great to see a story from the female perspective,
very refreshing.
Published on Dec 21 2007 by Shannon D. Jaeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Magickal
I loved the book, actually the whole serie. It is completely magickal. It makes you dream, it brings you out of the reality...
Published on Oct. 24 2007 by M. St-jean
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate Love Story - Awesome plot!
Morgaine, a complex creature takes the stage, retelling in her own words what was the goings on behind the throne of King Arthur. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2004 by "kbillecre8"
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read
I won't spoil the book for any potential readers out here, but I will say one word: masterpiece. This is the crowning glory of Marion's works, and I would go so far as to say that... Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Ivory Isis
5.0 out of 5 stars time turner
this story takes one from the 21st century way, way back in time. in the last days of the goddess and the power of women, the Mists of Avalon is probably the most convincing story... Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by rilabee chime
2.0 out of 5 stars overrated, and ultimately a disappointment
A friend highly recommended this book to me, and I was expecting it to be much better than it was. Unfortunately, Mists of Avalon did not live up to the hype. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by Amazon Customer
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