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The Mists of Avalon Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Oct 31 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reissue edition (Oct. 31 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345441184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345441188
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 4.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (768 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #291,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 the Paperback edition.


"[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

4.5 out of 5 stars

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Toni Kamsler on July 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By Ray Lucas on Jan. 9 2014
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By shopjule on June 28 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By Why Not on Feb. 6 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By Ivory Isis on July 13 2004
Format: Paperback
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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