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The Mists of Avalon [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Marion Zimmer Bradley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (765 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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3 of 3 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 Worth the wait! Feb. 6 2009
By Why Not
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... I finally just finished reading it, and I'm so glad I hung onto it for all this time! Beautifully written, it is an intriguing and unique perspective of the Arthurian legends. Character development is fantastic and MZB takes you through several generations of key players, creating ever more depth in a compelling plot. The continual contrasting of paganism and Christianity is fascinating, and the feministic perspective is refreshing without being over-zealous... If you enjoy fantasy with both mythical and historical approaches, if you value character development and beautiful prose, this is a book I highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read July 13 2004
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 it is the crowning glory of Arthurian literature as well! I was so absorbed in it that I finished it in a week, and it has been my absolutely most favorite book ever since!
By the way.. if you're thinking of reading any of the "Song of Ice & Fire" books by George R. R. Martin.. rethink yourself and read this series instead.. it is MUCH better and more worth your time!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Women of Avalon May 22 2004
I've always loved the King Arthur and Camelot books and movies. I loved that Marion Zimmer Bradley told the story from the womens perspectives. It put a twist on what I've read and seen in other books and movies. I felt for these characters, Morgan of the Fairies, Gwenhwyfar, Lancelot, Ingraine, Vivian, and of course Arthur. But at the end of the book I really disliked Gwenhwyfar, Lancelot, and Arthur and was hoping for Morgan to come out happy. With all of her power she was the one who struggled the most in her life.
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend and it has become on of my favorite reads thus far.
The book does build tension between the old Pagan religion and Christianity. Morgan and Arthur were both born to Ingraine, who was daughter to the Lady of the Lake (Pagan). Ingraine was married off young and sent to Cornwell (Christian) and had Morgan. Then when her husband died she married Uther (Arthur's father). That part of the book just in itself is very interesting reading. Morgan was sent to Avalon to study the old ways (Pagan religion) while Arthur married Gwenhwyfar and she persuaded him to be a Christian King. In my opinion that's where the major twists and turns of the book starts. The author details (more so than I've seen in other books) the Pagan religion and the ways of Avalon.
This is a very lengthy read... but it grabs you and keeps you wanting more page-by-page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal April 30 2004
I received this book in the early 90's as a birthday present - and have loved it ever since. I've read it through at least 10 times, each time picking up a little bit more (which is easy to do given the length!) It puts a whole new spin on King Arthur's half sister, Moragaine, aka Morgan le Fey. I think the introuduction where Morgaine speaks really adds a lot to this story that is filled with love, deception, pride, loyalty, revenge and amazing strengths and weaknesses of character. I do believe Arthur could have been portrayed as a bit stronger - he was strongly influenced by so many people, I often wondered if he ever made any decisions on his own. Now that the prequels are out, I recommend reading them first. They set the tone and help you understand Vivaine's reasons behind actions that otherwise make your heart scream. I also recommend the reading the book before seeing the movie. There were many scenes cut out of the movie and much that needed explanation. This book was - by far - MZB's masterpiece!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What if.......
Simply the best story ever written. THE BEST!
Published 20 days ago by greta101
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
can't put it down!
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Avalon views Arthur
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. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ray Lucas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
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... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Deborah Hart
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 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 One of my all-time favorites!
It's been years since I've read this book - I just remember reading it and feeling such a spiritual epiphany.... I love magic! Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2007 by Val
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 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
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