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Road To Avalon [Mass Market Paperback]

Joan Wolf
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 15 1989 Onyx
Never before has the telling of the story of Arthur and the beautiful Morgan been so vivid or moving. With exquisitely drawn characters, Joan Wolf creates an intoxicating romantic fantasy. A legend and a tale vigorous with heroic deeds and glowing with wondrous love are brought close enough for readers to experience all the unforgettable emotions of Avalon . . . and all the magical moments of Camelot. HC: NAL.

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From Publishers Weekly

Making old material new marks a master storyteller and with this fresh look at the legend of King Arthur, romance writer Wolf reaffirms her preeminence in those ranks. Although the Romans have already left Britain, Uther Pendragon is a Roman king, married to the Celtic princess Igraine, daughter of Merlin. Their son Arthur, conceived before Igraine's divorce from her first husband, has been raised in secret with Merlin's younger daughter Morgan, wherein lies the emotional heart of this tale. Arthur and Morgan, his half-aunt, share a love that cannot be acknowledged. When, as king, he must marry, Arthur weds the Celtic princess Gwenhwyfar, but he and Morgan remain lovers, while Gwenhwyfar, with Arthur's blessing, finds love with Bedwyr, the king's closest friend and ally. With the strength of his leadership and personality, Arthur unifies the British tribes, repells the Saxon threat and, adapting Roman ideas of government, establishes peace in the kingdom. But when Mordred, a young Celtic prince with an uncanny likeness to Arthur, comes to Camelot, jealousy and ambition threaten Arthur's dream. Portraying characters with crisp and memorable originality, Wolf capturesand enrichesthe tragic sweep of romance and idealism inherent in the Arthurian tale. Imaginative and moving, this narrative by the author of The Rebel and the Rose is historical fiction at its finest.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As books by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Stewart, Parke Godwin, and others attest, the legend of King Arthur continues to fascinate. Wolfe, setting her version in a post-Roman Britain battling the encroaching Saxons, has created a pleasing romance. When the young Arthur is suddenly revealed as King Uther's heir, he discovers that Morgan, the beautiful girl he has grown up with and loves passionately, is his aunt and is forbidden to marry him. He is forced to marry Gwenhyfar for dynastic reasons, but his enduring love for Morgan sows the seeds of disaster. A strongly original viewpoint is missing, as is the highly developed detail found in other works, but this novel uses the elements of the legend effectively. Recommended for popular fiction collections. Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the most romantic version yet Aug. 4 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stop the presses! I've finally found an Arthurian novel in which Morgan, Gwenhwyfar, and Morgause are all sympathetic! Not to mention one with no religious bickering! (At one point in the book, a pagan knight criticizes a grouchy monk. Arthur responds, "If we judged all religions by their human representatives, they would all be found lacking." That's the extent of religious debate in this book, and if someone had said it in _Mists of Avalon_, maybe everyone would have wised up a little.)
Arthur, hidden away in an obscure village, falls into the hands of an abusive farmer. One day, his life changes when Merlin, a Roman-type noble of the old school, comes to carry him off to the villa of Avalon, to be raised and taught by Merlin and Ector--and to be trained as the prince he never knew he was. Though his life is more comfortable now, he is still scarred and withdrawn. Only Merlin's daughter Morgan, sweet and shy but with remarkable intelligence and emotional courage, can break through his shell and become his friend. And when they grow up, he falls in love with her, never knowing she is his aunt. Arthur ascends the throne, planning to make Morgan his queen, but Merlin forbids the match and tells him why. Arthur is heartbroken. He wants to defy Merlin, or failing that, to kill himself, but Morgan convinces him to be strong for his kingdom.
So Arthur marries the Welsh princess Gwenhwyfar instead. Gwenhwyfar is the most celebrated beauty in her homeland, accustomed to men's adoration, and so it is especially hurtful that Arthur--still in love with Morgan--sees Gwen mostly as a friend. The final insult comes when she takes up with the captain of his cavalry--and Arthur doesn't even care. Gwen loves her husband, and hopes that someday he will come to love her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, surprising, romantic and exciting... July 31 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A highly interesting and surprising reimagining of the Arthurian legend, almost the exact opposite of Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon." In this version, there is no magic, and many of the characters are related to each other in unexpected ways (for example, Merlin is Igraine's father, while Morgan is Igraine's younger sister, instead of daughter. As a result, Morgan is Arthur's aunt, rather than half-sister.) The main focus here is on Morgan and Arthur's love for each other, which greatly alters the famous love triangle with Arthur, Gwenhyfar and Bedwyr (Lancelot.) Also, Mordred is no longer the evil usurper who plots to overthrow Arthur; here he is a basically goodhearted boy who lacks his father's kingly ambition and skills, and who is easily manipulated by his cruel brother Agravaine, with tragic consequences.
As a result of all this, "The Road to Avalon" always took me by surprise because so many aspects of the legend that I took for granted had been altered. I found it to be a refreshing and moving version, especially the love story between Morgan and Arthur, which is every bit as heartbreaking as the traditional Arthur-Gwenhyfar one is. While "The Mists of Avalon" remains the ultimate Arthurian novel for me, this one is not far behind it. As Publisher's Weekly says, "Joan Wolf is a master storyteller...portraying characters with crisp and memorable originality...capturing--and enriching--the tragic sweep of romance and idealism inherent in the Arthurian Tale." Read it
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5.0 out of 5 stars I was blown away May 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just happened to glance at this book at a used book store and it looked as if it could be pretty good. I love the Arthurian legend and read anything I can about it. Not since Mists of Avalon have I been so blown away by an Arthurian novel. Joan Wolf takes the traditional story and changes it ever so slightly here and there to make this almost all-too-familiar story fresh and new. I developed a new feeling for this tragic story that has become so familiar to me. It's been a while since a book has left me feeling so completely drained of emotion afterwards. I thank the gods that I was at home when I finished it and not at work or on the bus. I broke down in almost gut-wrenching sobs. I didn't realize this book was out of print until I came to write this review. I'm extremely happy that I found it and hope many other people have the same fortune I did. Mists of Avalon will remain my favorite, but this one is a very close second.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to rate a good book May 22 2002
By Rachael
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you have read any number of books, you would realize that no two are alike. The novel ROAD TO AVALON by Joan Wolf is an incrediable story that made me laugh out loud, care for the characters more than I thought I would, or could, and actually cry! I had tears streaming down my face as I closed the cover of this heart-felt tale. I have never had the pleasure of crying over a book, and I wish I could convince as many people as possible of its quality so they may experience these feelings as well. The one true way to rate any piece of literature, is whether or not it can move you and your emotions with the author's imagination and the way they express it to the readers. In other words, "was it believable, and more importantly, enjoyable?" it most certainly was and I can't wait to read it again!
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE Best King Arthur Story ! April 5 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful book. It is just too bad that it is out of print. I sincerely hope that some publisher would re-release this jewel of a book to the public again.
Out of all of the King Arthur stories that I have read, this is the one that really gets me emotionally involved with the characters. This is no usual Arthurian where there is magic and the battle between the good and evil. It is so much more realistic and the scenes are so vivid that you really feel that this could have happened in history.
Not only are the war scenes and the relationships between the characters memoreable- the love story between Morgan and Arthur is heart wrenching.
I really hope that somehow this story gets more attention. It truely deserves it.
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