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The Serpent And The Grail [Mass Market Paperback]

A A Attanasio
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 21 2000

The boy-king Arthor has beaten back the berserker wolf warriors of the Saxon god, uniting his island kingdom -- but at a terrible cost. For the Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper and the magical shield of Britain, has been stolen.

Without the Grail's protection, Britain lies parched and barren, a demon-haunted landscape where sulfurous vapors taint ther air. To find the Grail, Arthor's mother, Ygrane, must strike a dark bargain with Bright Night, elf-prince of the "pale people,"in the hollow hills. Merlin must use his magic to show the way. But it is Arthor himself who must confront the Serpent, Sword in hand.

A.A.. Atanasio's epic retelling of humankind's most powerful legend weaves together, for the first time, the hallowed yarn of ancient Arthurian lore and the shimmering strands of modern quantum science.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality (?) bites. Aug. 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Finally, a multi-faceted, richly textured, thought-provoking and deeply woven and embroidered series of "tales" from a rather masterful story-teller who treats his readers as cogent listeners capable of keeping the various skeins of this historical, cultural, psychosociological and demi-religious tapestry flowing. As an avid and voracious reader with somewhat eclectic tastes, I find Mr. Attanasio's spinning of the threads of these tales to be highly intelligent, deeply fascinating, richly image-evocative and teleportational. So much more so than the typical Freudean psychic-cleansing pap that many current editors seem to qualify as saleable fiction. Yes, life is not easy and we all have our "crosses" to bear; however, can't we have a little more story-telling and a little less Freudean-couch revelations? Occassionally, as with any modern-day story-teller, he has to fall back into reiterrations in order to keep those not willing or able to invest the time and/or money in the preceding tales up with the mulitlayered goings-on in these tales; and yes, he sometimes strays across to "New Age-Feel Good" whining or carping. Yet, his characters for the most part are so fully fleshed and "real" that I feel I'm standing, next to, or even looking out of the eyes of, each narrating character.
To be honest, I haven't watched TV since I got hooked on the first book of this Middle Earth adventure, nor even listened to the stereo, as the lyricality of this writing, and the characters, both human and demiurge (sometimes even animal) has enraptured all of my senses, especially my own little dreamworld.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I should like this series more, but. . . Aug. 27 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a confirmed fan of the Arthurian Legend and the various retellings, I should probably like this series more than I do. I can't claim that it's because I'm a traditionalist - one of my favorite retellings is Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's three-book subset of her Keltiad series known as "The Tales of Arthur". For those of you who haven't read it, it's a great series referred to by both to the author and its aficionados as "Celts in Space", so use your imagination. And, it's not because A. A. Attanasio's series is poorly written. The prose is lyrical, yet strong, and the characterizations are full. I think it may be because even though the series is original and the setting non-traditional, it reaches too far for my personal tastes. In this series, Arthur (or, Arthor, as he starts out), is certainly a featured character, but not the main one. Arthur's tale is lost in the maze of all the immortals in all the galaxies in all the universes of the cosmos. The story has its beginning in the beginning of time when all was chaos. To keep it brief, Merlin starts out as the demon Lailoken, spawn of Lucifer along with the others of his ilk, who through a series of miraculous events is given birth as a human living backwards in time, i.e., his body grows younger as time progresses. As a result, Merlin sheds his demonic ways, becomes a devout Christian, and is tasked with guiding Arthor on his quest of uniting the British Isles under the umbrella of Christianity. Opposing him are the Furor and the old (pagan) gods. The Furor is Odin and his cohorts the rest of the cadre of the Norse deities. Throw in the Firelords (i.e., the "good" angels), the immortal Nine Queens of Avalon, and the elfin Daione Sid, and you have a battle royale par excellence. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Arthurian Legend ..... retold (?) Oct. 25 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up the first book of this series because I am an Arthurian legend fan. At that time I had never even heard of Attanasio....I am now an avid Attanasio reader.
The Serpent and the Grail is a hard-to-put-down book and continues the fantasy world of Arthur's rule started in the earlier books. The only problem I have with this book is that this is still not the end of the series (I hope!). As an Arthurian fan, I hope that Attanasio will continue telling this story until the end of the legend and that the next book in the series comes out before I forget the characters again (that's another problem ... the wealth of characters!). If you're already familiar with the legend then reading this series is as if you've never heard of Arthur and Camelot before .... very refreshing.
As an Attanasio fan, this is another example of the diversity of Attanasio's vivid epic-telling talents. You need to read other Attanasio's works to appreciate what I mean (personal recommendations: The Last Legends of Earth, The Dark Shore)
My advice to all would-be readers .... get all the books in the series and read them straight through from the first to the last, in sequence. It won't be easy reading, but it will be worth it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Odin vs. the Industrial Revolution Oct. 10 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Wolf and the Crown, The Eagle and the Sword, The Dragon and the Unicorn, The Serpent and the Grail, so far... Don't know what to make of these well-written but tiresome and confusing books with all the gods and demons and faeries and elementals; mysticism and visions of our industrial future; God (she) as a hermit, Lucifer as a noble exile, the 10000-year-old ladies of the lake; big-bang theory and the sleeping dragon under the earth; Furor (Odin) and Christian monks, the surprisingly civilized poet-king Wesc of the Saxons, and of course Merlin who is the demon Lailoken reborn in the womb of St somebody or other, a nun. (In effect he raped his mother and became his own father; and Morgan la Fay reincarnates the soul of HER own father King Mark into Mordred, the offspring of an incestuous union with her half-brother Arthur -- not exactly wholesome reading for the family -- you get the flavor of this series). Worth reading if you are into this sort of stuff. Stay tuned.
It is, however, beautifully written, no matter how absurd and confusing the plotting is.
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