Lady of Avalon (Avalon Series #3) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Like the inhabitants of the mystical Avalon, readers of Lady of Avalon will feel they have been transported to another world - a world of myth, magic, romance, and history. This novel spans the creation of Avalon itself and foreshadows the birth of the legendary King Arthur. Here, we meet three remarkable holy women who steer the fortunes of Roman Britain as they struggle with their own destinies. Caillean retreats to the island of Avalon with a small band of priestesses. There she establishes a sisterhood to ...
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Lady of Avalon (Avalon Series #3)

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Overview

Like the inhabitants of the mystical Avalon, readers of Lady of Avalon will feel they have been transported to another world - a world of myth, magic, romance, and history. This novel spans the creation of Avalon itself and foreshadows the birth of the legendary King Arthur. Here, we meet three remarkable holy women who steer the fortunes of Roman Britain as they struggle with their own destinies. Caillean retreats to the island of Avalon with a small band of priestesses. There she establishes a sisterhood to serve the Great Goddess, raises the heir to the mystic royal line, and veils Avalon from a hostile world in its everlasting mists. The astute Dierna guides Avalon through treacherous political waters by marrying a young priestess to a Roman general ... only to discover that love - especially her own - cannot be so easily controlled. Ana gives birth to a baby girl who will be the mother of the great King to come. But it is her beautiful and feisty oldest daughter, Viviane, who is destined for true greatness - as the famed Lady of the Lake and guardian of the Grail.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1983) remains one of the best lovedand bestsellingreworkings of the Arthurian cycle. Now Bradley has written a splendid prequel (which she also links to her novel The Forest House), in which she traces the High Priestess of Avalon and the sacrificial Sacred King through three cycles of reincarnation and mythic destiny. In the first century of Christianity, Lady Caillean raises her orphaned grandson, Gawen (whose mother was killed in The Forest House). Initiated as the Pendragon and Sacred King, Gawen dies, but has fathered a child by Sianna, a daughter of the Fairy Queen. After his death, Lady Callean transports Avalon to a separate magical reality. Sianna's descendants continue to shape the history of Britannia, however. Lady Dierna marries her daughter Taleri to Carausius, who becomes Emperor of Britannia and dies defending the land. A later descendant, Lady Ana, calls back to Avalon her daughter Viviane, who is united with Vortimer, her era's Defender of Britannia. But it is Lady Ana's child Igraine, whom Viviane raises, who will culiminate the bloodlines. A pillar of the fantasy field, Bradley here combines romance, rich historical detail, magical dazzlements, grand adventure and feminist sentiments into the kind of novel her fans have been yearning for.
VOYA - Margaret Miles
Bradley closes the gap between The Forest House (Viking, 1994) and The Mists of Avalon (Knopf, 1982) with the stories of three High Priestesses of the hidden Isle of Avalon. Around the beginning of the second century A.D., Caillean's foster son Gawen, as Pendragon, sacrifices himself to accomplish Avalon's separation from the world. Toward the end of the third century, Dierna's hope to preserve Britain by supporting Carausius as independent Emperor of Britannia ends in his death as sacrificial king. In the mid-fifth century, discontented Viviane comes to terms with her position, first as daughter of the High Priestess and then as Lady of Avalon herself, in the days just before the time of Arthur. Unlike Bradley's major science fiction corpus of Darkover novels (most recently The Shadow Matrix [DAW, 1997]), which has grown over the years into an imagined world greater than the sum of its individual parts, her feminist-Arthurian world arrived fully fledged in The Mists of Avalon; satellite novels attached to such a monumental and groundbreaking work inevitably suffer in comparison, and even backhandedly lessen the impact of the central novel. Taken on its own (though anyone who has read Mists will find this impossible), Lady of Avalon is solid feminist historical fiction, exploring the traditions of Goddess worship. Historical and metaphysical aspects are well handled; characterization suffers somewhat, perhaps because the book is really three linked novellas about different characters instead of one continuous novel. Readers who enjoy feminist history and historical novels are those most likely to enjoy this. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
This three-part fantasy, set in Roman-occupied Britain, creates the link between The Forest House and The Mists of Avalon and should satisfy fans of both those books. Spanning almost 400 years, it tells the stories of the high priestesses and ladies of Avalon. Recommended for fantasy collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]
Kirkus Reviews
This smoky mix of magic, legend, people both mythic and real, and the ancient savageries of war supplies a chronological link between Bradley's The Forest House (1994), set in first-century Britain, and her Arthurian saga, The Mists of Avalon (1983).

Here, again, is Avalon, seat of the Goddess Mother religion, its artifacts crafted by those Old Ones from Atlantis. This time, the High Priestesses, hounded by male-dominated Christianity, wrestle with their powers as they see visions and seek out incarnations of the Sacred King who will save Brittania. The boy Gawen (introduced in The Forest House) will be raised in Avalon by the High Priestess Caillean—it is she who magically separates Avalon from the world outside—saluted as the true "Son of a Hundred Kings," be given a miraculous sword, and ritually unite with his beloved Sianna (none other than the daughter of the Faerie Queen). Gawen is killed by Romans but will appear again in other incarnations to fulfill his destiny as Defender of Brittania. The next Incarnation—the future Emperor of Brittania, Carausius—is discovered by the High Priestess Dierna, who should be his Queen/Bride but mistakenly arranges a marriage for him with one who would help in his defeat. Vortimer, son of the High King, is the third to swear to save Brittania's ancient ways and freedom. There are flights and pursuits, carnage on land and sea, sacred artifacts (cup, lance, etc., later to be Christian symbols), shuddering visions, and plenty of travel between real and magical worlds.

A treat for the savvy initiate, and intriguing for Arthurian buffs, but others may find it too cloudy by half. Go with the flow, though: The prose is as smooth as those sacred stones on which so many interesting things take place. Bradley also includes helpful lists of people and places and a map.

From the Publisher
"Bradley here combines romance, rich historical detail, magical dazzlements, grand adventure and feminist sentiments into the kind of novel her fans have been yearning for." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101212783
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/4/2007
  • Series: Avalon Series , #3
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 61,737
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley
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.







Biography

Marion Zimmer Bradley was writing before she could write. As a young girl, before she learned to take pen in hand, she was dictating stories to her mother. She started her own magazine -- devoted to science fiction and fantasy, of course -- as a teenager, and she wrote her first novel when she was in high school.

Given this history of productivity, it is perhaps no surprise that Bradley was working right up until her death in 1999. Though declining health interfered with her output, she was working on manuscripts and editing magazines, including another sci-fi/fantasy publication of her own making.

Her longest-running contribution to the genre was her Darkover series, which began in 1958 with the publication of The Planet Savers. The series, which is not chronological, covers several centuries and is set on a distant planet that has been colonized by humans, who have interbred with a native species on the planet. Critics lauded her efforts to address culture clashes -- including references to gays and lesbians -- in the series.

"It is not just an exercise in planet-building," wrote Susan Shwartz in the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. "A Darkover book is commonly understood to deal with issues of cultural clash, between Darkover and its parent Terran culture, between warring groups on Darkover, or in familial terms."

Diana Pharoah Francis, writing in Contemporary Popular Writers, noted the series' attention on its female characters, and the consequences of the painful choices they must make: "Struggles are not decided easily, but through pain and suffering. Her point seems to be that what is important costs, and the price is to be paid out of the soul rather than out of the pocketbook. Her characters are never black and white but are all shades of gray, making them more compelling and humanized."

Bradley's most notable single work would have to be The Mists of Avalon. Released in 1983, its 800-plus pages address the King Arthur story from the point of view of the women in his life -- including his wife, his mother and his half sister. Again, Bradley received attention and critics for her female focus, though many insist that she cannot be categorized strictly as a "feminist" writer, because her real focus is always character rather than politics.

"In drawing on all of the female experiences that make of the tapestry of the legend, Bradley is able to delve into the complexity of their intertwined lives against the tapestry of the undeclared war being waged between the Christians and the Druids," Francis wrote in her Contemporary Popular Writers essay. "Typical of Bradley is her focus on this battle, which is also a battle between masculine (Christian) and feminine (Druid) values."

And Maureen Quilligan, in her New York Times review in 1983, said: "What she has done here is reinvent the underlying mythology of the Arthurian legends. It is an impressive achievement. Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Celtic and Orphic stories are all swirled into a massive narrative that is rich in events placed in landscapes no less real for often being magical."

Avalon flummoxed Hollywood for nearly 20 years before finally making it to cable television as a TNT movie in 2001, starring Joan Allen, Anjelica Huston, and Julianna Margulies.

Two years before she died, Bradley's photograph was included in The Faces of Science Fiction, a collection of prominent science fiction writers, such names as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Under it, she gave her own take on the importance of the genre:

"Science fiction encourages us to explore... all the futures, good and bad, that the human mind can envision."

Good To Know

Aside from her science fiction and fantasy writing, Bradley also contributed to the gay and lesbian genre, publishing lesbian fiction under pseudonyms, bibliographies of gay and lesbian literature, and a gay mainstream novel.

Bradley rewrote some editions of her Darkover series to accommodate real advances in technology.

Her first stories were published in pulp science fiction magazines in the 1950s.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Lee Chapman, Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 30, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      Berkeley, California

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Though I love the stories set in Avalon, this particular volume

    Though I love the stories set in Avalon, this particular volume did not
    hold my interest as well as The Mists of Avalon had done. It seems
    choppy, almost rushed. Nevertheless, Marion Zimmer Bradley's writing
    style is always engaging.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    A great link

    The story was absolutely fantastic but- the three seperate stories are too abrupt. Although it gives a nice political view, it is almost hard to jump in a new story without getting confused. Good job, but not great job. It links the 'Forest House' to the 'Mist of Avalon' superbly though.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A favorite series of mine...

    Following where The Forest House left off, Caillean flees with the young Gawen and establishes a life on the isle of Avalon. After that story comes to its end we follow Dierna and her young priestess Teleri. Then in the third part of the book, we get to watch the young Viviane (from the incredible Mists of Avalon) grow and we finally get a bit of insight into how she became what she was.

    Perhaps the most slow-moving of the Avalon books I have read thus far... at times boring... at times leaving you feeling cheated out of the most interesting facts. Somewhat like The Forest House, too much emphasis was on the battle and not enough on Avalon and the priestesses. The highlight of the book was, of course, the part about Viviane because she was such a mysterious character in The Mists of Avalon (at times terrible, at times intriguing) but, again, I felt cheated out of knowing more about her as this was a very short section of the book.

    For a lover of Marion Zimmer Bradley and her twist on the Arthurian legends... a must read of course. But I suggest not reading the books in chronological order lest you feel disappointed before you even reach the masterpiece that is The Mists of Avalon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2000

    Captivated,I read this book and was spellbound

    I have never been so captivated by any author as I was by M,Z,B.'s Avolon trilogy.I fell in love w\ Eilan and w/ Cailleen @ once.For the truth behind the throne of King Arthur,these 3 books are a must read.Sarting w/ 'the Forest House' ending w/ the 'Mists of- Avalon'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2010

    Great book

    Another great book my Bradley. I loved it. It's one that I'll read again, and again!

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Three Stories

    This book has three separate stories and, in my opinion, would have been better had they been expanded on and been given their own books. The first part is an amazing continuation of the story from The Forest House. I think this was the best one of the three. The second story (about 200 years later) didn't capture my attention at all. It seemed disjointed and didn't have much to contribute to the larger Avalon story (whereas the other two did). Perhaps the fact that the first and third story has other books which feature those characters (The Forest House and The Mists of Avalon respectively) made those seem fuller stories. The third story of this book has to do with Viviane from the time she first comes to Avalon until the time she rises up as High Priestess. I suppose overall I like two-thirds of the book. I think this book would benefit from being separated into three. If you're a fan of the Avalon series you will love this. I think you have to have read The Mists of Avalon (for the third part) and The Forest House (for the first part) to understand it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2005

    Amazing

    I picked up this book when The Mists of Avalon was out at the library and fell in love. All three stories are fantastic. I recommend this to those who have and have not read The Mists of Avalon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2003

    This Book Is Great

    I really liked the Lady Of Avalon. I am a believer in of many Gods and Goddesses. This book was a great way to put history with an interesting twist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    More like TEN stars!

    I loved this book. I have read all the Avalon books, and they have caused me to become a believer in the Goddess, and far more interested in the religion of the Goddess and the Wiccan religion as well. The absolute love at the center of this book and the Goddess religion spoke to me more than my Christian upbringing ever has. This book may change your life, as it did mine. You will never regret reading this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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