The Forest House (Avalon Series #2)
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The Forest House (Avalon Series #2)

4.2 80
by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Before the Mists obscured the Isle of Avalon, there was the Forest House; where, in a remote part of Britain, a secret circle of Druidic priestesses guarded the ancient rites of learning, healing, and prophecy against the inexorable approach of the Roman Empire. Young Eilan, born to a Druidic family, is ripening toward womanhood and the flowering of an inner power she…  See more details below


Before the Mists obscured the Isle of Avalon, there was the Forest House; where, in a remote part of Britain, a secret circle of Druidic priestesses guarded the ancient rites of learning, healing, and prophecy against the inexorable approach of the Roman Empire. Young Eilan, born to a Druidic family, is ripening toward womanhood and the flowering of an inner power she hardly dares dream of. Already she hears the call of the Great Goddess - and it will be she who is ceremonially chosen as the new High Priestess when the reigning Priestess of the Oracle dies. But first, Eilan hears another voice - that of her love for the young Roman Gaius Macellius, whose mission is to subdue her native land and all its seemingly pagan ways. But Eilan must find the courage to renounce her lover for her sacred destiny...For within the Forest House's realm also dwell the bitter priestess Dieda, who, against her will, makes a pact that will bind her to Eilan forever; and the rebellious young priestess Caillean, who protects Eilan with a passion that runs far deeper than duty. Yet it is the Arch-Druid Ardanos, by turns the High Priestess's greatest ally and most ruthless enemy, who could destroy the Forest House, should he learn the terrible secret Eilan guards as fiercely as her life. The war that rages within Eilan mirrors the turbulence of her times; as the legions of Rome move closer, Eilan must rely on the power and magic of the Great Goddess to find her way out of the labyrinth in which fate has placed her... Like her classic bestseller The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley's new novel is a tapestry of myth, mystery, and romance, rich in the detail of the Druids' timeless rituals. The Forest House is a mesmerizing epic of a woman's mythic role at a turning point in history - brought to magnificent, unforgettable life.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The forbidden love of a druid priestess and a Roman soldier mirrors the clash of cultures in Roman Britain in the latest novel by the author of The Mists of Avalon (Ballantine, 1985). The novel evokes an age when three major religions maintained an uneasy coexistence on the island of Britain. Eilan, a daughter of goddess-worshiping druids, and Gaius Marcellius, a half-British Roman, live for the coming of a legendary future king to unite the warring islanders. Bradley envisions the "old religion'' as a refreshing blend of classic and revisionist concepts, adding a distinct flavor to her seamless weave of history and myth. Most libraries will want this for their fantasy collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.
School Library Journal
YA-The setting of this historical/fantasy novel is Roman Briton. Eilan, a Druid girl who has been raised in the cult of the Goddess with the priestesses wielding the power, has fallen in love with a young Roman named Gaius. He is a half-Briton whose mother was of the Druid tribes and whose father is a powerful officer in the Roman legions. The clash between these two cultures and the eventual hope of unification through Eilan and Gaius's son is one of the book's many story lines. Bradley does a masterful job of creating the flavor of the period and the two diverse cultures, as well as strong female characters. With its elements of love story, intense emotions, and mysticism, Forest House will appeal to YAs.-Susan B. McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Pat Monaghan
In the Forest House of ancient Britain live the last remaining Druid priestesses, practicing ancient rituals and attempting to keep peace between their people and the Roman invaders. Primary to the struggle is Eilan, herself the lover of Gaius, a half-Celtic Roman commander. Eilan's twin (well, actually, aunt, but they look so much alike their own families mix them up) is Dieda, another priestess, beloved of Cynric, leader of the vengeful Ravens, who are half-Roman offspring of raped Celtic priestesses. Somehow, the two bloods and the two religions must meld in order to form the sacred background of Arthurian legend, so richly mined by Bradley in The Mists of Avalon. Getting that job done is sometimes tedious (Gaius is sent to Rome to observe the Senate, married to a Londinium girl for dynastic purposes, sent off to war against the Germans) and sometimes thrilling (Eilan goes into a deep trance to encounter the goddess, and Gaius becomes the Year King in sacred sex). The second half of the book introduces far too many subsidiary characters for the reader's comfort, yet on whole this is a compelling goddess tale that should draw quite an audience.
From the Publisher
“Compelling, powerful.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A seamless weave of history and myth.”—Library Journal

“A magical evocation of a lost age.”—Starlog

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Avalon Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.84(h) x 1.32(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"With the sure touch of one at ease in sketching out mystic travels..., Bradley writes with an unhurried pace and uncluttered staging." —-Kirkus Starred Review

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.

She was a science fiction/fantasy fan from her middle teens, and made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Fantastic/Amazing Stories in 1949. She had written as long as she could remember, but wrote only for school magazines and fanzines until 1952, when she sold her first professional short story to Vortex Science Fiction. She wrote everything from science fiction to Gothics, but is probably best known for her Darkover novels.

In addition to her novels, Mrs. Bradley edited many magazines, amateur and professional, including Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, which she started in 1988. She also edited an annual anthology called Sword and Sorceress for DAW Books.

Over the years she turned more to fantasy; The House Between the Worlds, although a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club, was "fantasy undiluted". She wrote a novel of the women in the Arthurian legends — Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and others — entitled Mists of Avalon, which made the NY Times best seller list both in hardcover and trade paperback, and she also wrote The Firebrand, a novel about the women of the Trojan War. Her historical fantasy novels, The Forest House, Lady of Avalon, Mists of Avalon are prequels to Priestess of Avalon

She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack. She was survived by her brother, Leslie Zimmer; her sons, David Bradley and Patrick Breen; her daughter, Moira Stern; and her grandchildren.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 30, 1930
Date of Death:
September 25, 1999
Place of Birth:
Albany, New York
Place of Death:
Berkeley, California
B.A., Hardin-Simmons College, 1964; additional study at University of California, Berkeley, 1965-1967

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