Taliesin (Pendragon Cycle Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is the story of an ...

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Taliesin (Pendragon Cycle Series #1)

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Overview

It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is the story of an incomparable love that joined two worlds amid the fires of chaos, and spawned the miracles of Merlin...and Arthur the king.

The foundling Taliesin's special qualities changed the lives of those around him and brought great fortune to his small Celtic settlement in war and peace. Then he met an exiled princess of Atlantis, and in the course of triumph and tradegy they were blessed with a son who would change the destiny of Britain, a boy called Merlin.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While the druids of the Isle of the Mighty predict the coming of one whose song will change the world, a young priestess in Atlantis foresees the destruction of her homeland. The love story of the bard Taliesin and the Princess Charis begins a new series for Lawhead ``The Empyrion Saga'' and the ``Dragon King Trilogy''. This graceful combination of Atlantean legend, Celtic myth, and Christian messagereminiscent of C.S. Lewisis highly recommended. JC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061802324
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Pendragon Cycle Series , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 54,808
  • File size: 847 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen Lawhead

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion. Lawhead makes his home in Austria with his wife.

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Read an Excerpt

1

I will weep no more for the lost, asleep in their water graves. I have no more tears for my youth in the temple of the brindled ox. Life is strong in me and I will not grieve for what was or might have been. Mine is a different path and I must follow where it leads.

But I look out from my high window onto fields of corn ripening to the scythe. I see them rippling like a golden sea, and in the rustling of the dry leaves I hear again the voices of my people calling to me across the years. I close my eyes and I see them now as they were from my earliest memories. They stand before me and I enter once more that glad time when we were young and the cataclysm had not come upon us before Throm appeared with dire prophecies burning on his lips.

It was a time of peace in all Atlantis. The gods were content and the people prospered. We children played beneath Bel's golden disc and our limbs grew strong and brown; we sang our songs to fair Cybel, the ever-changing, to grant us dreams of joy; and we lived out our days in a land rich and with every comfort, thinking it would always be that way.

The voices of the departed speak: "Tell our story," they say. "It is worthy to be remembered."

And so I take my pen and begin to write. Perhaps writing will ease the long months of my confinement. Perhaps my words will earn a measure of the peace that has been denied throughout my life.

In any case, I have little else to do; I am a captive, made prisoner in this house. So, I will write: for myself, for those who come after, and for the voices that cry out not to be forgotten.

Men called the royal palace the Isle of Apples for the groves that covered the slopes leading down to the city below. And indeed, in blossom time, King Avallach's palace seemed an island floating above the earth on clouds of pink and white. Golden apples, sweeter than honey from the high meadow apiaries, grew in abundance in the orchards of the king. Apple trees lined the wide avenue that ran through the center of Kellios to the sea.

On a high seaward terrace, Charis leaned against a column, gazing out across the rooftops of the city, watching the sunlight glimmer on beaten sheets of red-gold orichalcum and listening to the sighing hum of the aeolian harp in the random fingerings of the mind. Drowsy, and slightly drunk on the heady fragrance of apple blossoms, she yawned and turned her languid attention to the warm blue crescent of harbor.

Three ships, their green sails bulging in the breeze, slid slowly into Kellios harbor, trailing diamonds in their wakes. Charis watched them heel about, empty their sails, and glide towards the wharf. The sturdy longboats of the harbor master were already making their way out to the ships to secure the lines and guide them to berth.

Kellios was a busy city; not over-large not as big as great Ys, city of temples and shipyards in Coran, or even as big as the market city Gaeron, in Hespera but blessed with a deep bay so that traders from every kingdom called frequently to provision themselves for longer journeys south and east across the great expanse of water that seamen called Oceanus.

Chariots and wains, the latter loaded with produce of the fields round about Kellios or with goods from other kingdoms, traversed the streets and avenues from early morning to dusk. The market stalls rang with the chatter of trade: value established, prices set, bargains struck.

From the temple mound in the center of the city, rose the holy edifice a replica in miniature of Mount Atlas, home of the gods. Sweet-scented smoke ascended eternally from the many altar fires of the temple as costly sacrifices were performed day and night by the Magi. And from the stables below the temple could be heard the bellow of the sacred bulls as they offered their voices to the god, as one day they would make an offering of their living blood and flesh.

Next to the temple stood the bull ring, a great oval arena joined to the temple stables by an underground tunnel. In a few hours the first bull would be led through that tunnel and ushered into the pit, and the sacred dance would commence. For now, the arena stood silent and empty.

Charis sighed and turned away, retreating back into the cool, shadowed corridor, the patter of her sandaled feet echoing along the polished stone. She climbed the wide steps at the end of the corridor, and wandered out onto the rooftop garden.

A light breeze lifted the broad, notched leaves of the slender palms lining the rooftop, rank on rank, in their shining orichalcum basins. Blue parrots chattered and shrieked among the thick-clustered dates, while quetzals preened their iridescent plumage in the grape vines enshrouding ornamental columns. Nearby, two leopards slept in the shade, spotted heads resting on their paws. One of them opened lazy golden eyes as she walked past, then closed them again and rolled over. A fountain splashed in the center of the garden, surrounded by tapering stone pillars carved with sun signs and charms.

The cool, clear water was afloat with fresh flowers and citrus fruit, and the elegant shapes of black swans gliding serenely around the pool, necks curled in graceful arcs. Charis approached and took a handful of meal from a nearby amphora. She sat on the wide rim of the fountain pool and scattered some meal as the swans paddled over to scoop it up, jostling one another, their long necks darting like snakes.

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First Chapter

1

I will weep no more for the lost, asleep in their water graves. I have no more tears for my youth in the temple of the brindled ox. Life is strong in me and I will not grieve for what was or might have been. Mine is a different path and I must follow where it leads.
But I look out from my high window onto fields of corn ripening to the scythe. I see them rippling like a golden sea, and in the rustling of the dry leaves I hear again the voices of my people calling to me across the years. I close my eyes and I see them now as they were from my earliest memories. They stand before me and I enter once more that glad time when we were young and the cataclysm had not come upon us before Throm appeared with dire prophecies burning on his lips.
It was a time of peace in all Atlantis. The gods were content and the people prospered. We children played beneath Bel's golden disc and our limbs grew strong and brown; we sang our songs to fair Cybel, the ever-changing, to grant us dreams of joy; and we lived out our days in a land rich and with every comfort, thinking it would always be that way.
The voices of the departed speak: 'Tell our story,' they say. 'It is worthy to be remembered.'
And so I take my pen and begin to write. Perhaps writing will ease the long months of my confinement. Perhaps my words will earn a measure of the peace that has been denied throughout my life.
In any case, I have little else to do; I am a captive, made prisoner in this house. So, I will write: for myself, for those who come after, and for the voices that cry out not to be forgotten.
Men called the royal palace the Isle of Apples for the groves that covered the slopes leading down to the city below. And indeed, in blossom time, King Avallach's palace seemed an island floating above the earth on clouds of pink and white. Golden apples, sweeter than honey from the high meadow apiaries, grew in abundance in the orchards of the king. Apple trees lined the wide avenue that ran through the center of Kellios to the sea.
On a high seaward terrace, Charis leaned against a column, gazing out across the rooftops of the city, watching the sunlight glimmer on beaten sheets of red-gold orichalcum and listening to the sighing hum of the aeolian harp in the random fingerings of the mind. Drowsy, and slightly drunk on the heady fragrance of apple blossoms, she yawned and turned her languid attention to the warm blue crescent of harbor.
Three ships, their green sails bulging in the breeze, slid slowly into Kellios harbor, trailing diamonds in their wakes. Charis watched them heel about, empty their sails, and glide towards the wharf. The sturdy longboats of the harbor master were already making their way out to the ships to secure the lines and guide them to berth.
Kellios was a busy city; not over-large not as big as great Ys, city of temples and shipyards in Coran, or even as big as the market city Gaeron, in Hespera but blessed with a deep bay so that traders from every kingdom called frequently to provision themselves for longer journeys south and east across the great expanse of water that seamen called Oceanus.
Chariots and wains, the latter loaded with produce of the fields round about Kellios or with goods from other kingdoms, traversed the streets and avenues from early morning to dusk. The market stalls rang with the chatter of trade: value established, prices set, bargains struck.
From the temple mound in the center of the city, rose the holy edifice a replica in miniature of Mount Atlas, home of the gods. Sweet-scented smoke ascended eternally from the many altar fires of the temple as costly sacrifices were performed day and night by the Magi. And from the stables below the temple could be heard the bellow of the sacred bulls as they offered their voices to the god, as one day they would make an offering of their living blood and flesh.
Next to the temple stood the bull ring, a great oval arena joined to the temple stables by an underground tunnel. In a few hours the first bull would be led through that tunnel and ushered into the pit, and the sacred dance would commence. For now, the arena stood silent and empty.
Charis sighed and turned away, retreating back into the cool, shadowed corridor, the patter of her sandaled feet echoing along the polished stone. She climbed the wide steps at the end of the corridor, and wandered out onto the rooftop garden.
A light breeze lifted the broad, notched leaves of the slender palms lining the rooftop, rank on rank, in their shining orichalcum basins. Blue parrots chattered and shrieked among the thick-clustered dates, while quetzals preened their iridescent plumage in the grape vines enshrouding ornamental columns. Nearby, two leopards slept in the shade, spotted heads resting on their paws. One of them opened lazy golden eyes as she walked past, then closed them again and rolled over. A fountain splashed in the center of the garden, surrounded by tapering stone pillars carved with sun signs and charms.
The cool, clear water was afloat with fresh flowers and citrus fruit, and the elegant shapes of black swans gliding serenely around the pool, necks curled in graceful arcs. Charis approached and took a handful of meal from a nearby amphora. She sat on the wide rim of the fountain pool and scattered some meal as the swans paddled over to scoop it up, jostling one another, their long necks darting like snakes.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 94 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(51)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 15, 2011

    A great read, but the ebook formatting could use some work

    I had read this book several years ago, and just recently purchased the ebook, as I have both a Nook Touch and a Nook Color.

    The story is as good as it was the first time, but I have a few quibbles with the formatting of the ebook version.

    First, there are some sloppy mistakes.

    For example, the title page displays "Book Two" when this book is the FIRST in the Pendragon series. Also, it doesn't appear that the publisher bothered to test the ebook for usability or presentation in the most common 600x800-pixel e-reader display, because there are some annoyances that could have been corrected: the map page breaks up into two pages if a font comfortable for those of us who are older is chosen (and since the choice of font size is a major selling point for older customers, this DOES matter), the line spacing within paragraphs is very tight, while the paragraphs are separated by blank lines, even though book-style indentations were used. It seems that if the publisher went to the trouble to use CSS to define the indents, they could also have used it to set the spacing between individual lines and between paragraphs to be more book-like, instead of doing the standard browser-style breaks.

    It would have been nice to see real open- and close- single- and double- quote characters, too, instead of the " and ' throughout the text. They did take the trouble to specify other special characters, like m-dashes, so it makes the character formatting look incomplete; and again, less book-like.

    I was also disappointed with the book cover that was included. In the thumbnail we have a gorgeous (watercolor?) painting of a harp, beautifully highlighted, with the title in 3D gold lettering underneath. But when I opened the book, the cover included is plain, with a crudely depicted harp and a plain beige background. I wanted to see the watercolor on the Nook Color and felt rather cheated that it wasn't included.

    The story is still a great read. I just think the folks at HarperCollins would do well to pay closer attention to the formatting.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Unity Amidst Chaos

    Taliesin, intended for an audience primarily composed of lovers of Arthurian lore, was written by S R Lawhead to combine Atlantean myths and Celtic legends and set up the stage for the rest of the series. Two dominant themes in this book are loss and rediscovery, as well as love. Taliesin is a rare gem amongst other Arthurian-based books and is a must-read story for all fans of the valorous King Arthur.

    Taliesin, but a babe when the unlucky Elphin ap Gwyddno found him in his father's salmon weir, instantly changed the man's fate from despised to an admired hero. For a nurse Elphin sought, he returned with a wife, the fair Rhonwyn. Meanwhile in Atlantis, when two traitors among the Nine Kings of Atlantis shatter a two-thousand-year-old peace, what comes next is undeterminable and ill fated. Then when the irrepressible happens to the island, two cultures have to merge together for survival.

    Lawhead, has almost given life to his creation through his vivid and colorful descriptions. The story line is amazing for it joins the fates of the lost Atlantis with the unity of Charis, the Lady of the Lake, and Taliesin, the Singer at the Dawn of the Age. All parts of the book, the setting, the plot, the characters, the theme, and Lawhead's style have made this book supreme over all Arthurian legends. Lawhead's purpose was evidently accomplished as it enchants the reader, as many have written, to keep reading other books of the series. Also, the rich report of the doom of both Atlantis and Caer Dyvi defy any doubts on how these two cultures were connected.

    Among the greatest of Arthurian stories is Taliesin, whose brilliant faith led to epic tales of the beginnings of Merlin. The loss of something is always filled with another thing; nothing can be void forever. Here, loss of family, friends, and home is replaced with a steadfast love between Charis, Princess of Atlantis, and Taliesin, of the Shining Brow. It is a sensational must-read for all lovers of Arthurian lore.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Almost finished with book 1 and I absolutely love this story. Th

    Almost finished with book 1 and I absolutely love this story. The way it's told and the historical background. There's no soap opera in it just the heart of the story. So glad this author didn't dumb the story down. I'm an intelligent reader and I was happy to find a book like this. It's adventurous and inspiring. I will probably being getting the whole series if they are all like this.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    GREAT!

    Love the story, I am 13 and I have read it twice at least, not to mention going back to my favorite parts.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    WONDERFUL!!

    I positively loved this book. It captured my interest from the beginning and held it to the last page. Of all the Arthurian books I have read, is the best. I can't wait to read the next.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2000

    Wonderful

    This book really opened my eyes on what really happened before Arthur came about. This story was truly one I will hold close and always read again and again. It was touching, yet adventurous. It is a story inside a story. At the end it made me cry, so if you like to read a great story you would love this one

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    Excellent reading

    I enjoyed reading Taliesin and the full Pendragon Cycle series. Lawhead writes in clear, realistic fashion that drew me along with anticipation but without a frenetic pitch to it. If this is a readers first Lawhead work, it may seem as though it takes some time to bring the multiple story lines together but it is well worth the groundwork that he lays and it will sustain the reader throughout the entire series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Intriguing story!

    Lawhead really brings to life the Celtic world. He puts an interesting spin on the pre-cursor to the Arthur legend. I also enjoyed how he depicted the spiritual struggles of the characters. Well written!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2007

    amazing

    this book was amazing. i was in love with Taliesin!!!!!! it was a wonderful book, and i highly recommend

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    Amazing

    the most riviting book i've read in a long time, the descritpions of everything just makes me want to jump into the page and be a part of the story.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2004

    Awesome Series

    I have read the entire series of 5 books. There is no word to describe them--but awesome will have to do. I am a BIG fan of anything Arthur and that era. These are the best!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2003

    Great!

    This book was great. My mom gave me this book when I was going out of town, and I couldn't put it down. I love Authorian legends, and this book has a permenant place on my shelf of favorites.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    An excellent book for all myth lovers

    This is a wonderful book full of excitment and amusment. A wonderful verson of the fall of Atlantis and the life of Taliesin. A definate must read for all who love to see old classics come to life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    Wonderful!

    It's wonderful! I've always been into the arthurian legend and Atlantis. This book shows much of what could have happened on this unkown island and how it became lost. There were a few parts where I cried because you get so drawn into the book that it seems like some of those things are happening to you. Anyone who likes fantasy should read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2002

    this book was awesome in every way!

    this book was awesome cuz he was able to turn something usually boring, into a great tale that u never want to stop reading, telling things done in disney movies even further.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2001

    Taliesin is(one of) the best book ever!

    I thought this book was really cool. I love fairy tails, and I really love it when they make them seem real!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2000

    An easy way to get lost in an adventurous past

    There is so much to learn about our past. Especially if your from the country that your reading about. This was an excellent way to learn about your roots and what those people believed in. The characters in this novel are strong and you get so drawn into the story it's like your almost there!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2000

    A must for the fan of Arthurian legend

    This retelling of the Arthur story, beginning with Merlins roots in 'taliesin' brings a fresh perspective to the whole story. With fantastic historical fact and just enough fantasy, the reader is taken on a wonderful journey through Britains earliest years. You must buy the whole Pendragan Cycle. Enjoy!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2000

    Enchanting Epic of Excitement

    This book touched me very much by the strong, Christian laws and morals it teaches. I find myself inspired and intrigued by Atlantis and all it's splendors and of Britain, and of it's harsh warmness. whenever I pick up that book I find myself in a dream. (it's hard to explain) Lawhead's description of things are well-done and there is never one dull moment

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    This has nothung to do with the pendragons

    Boring

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 Customer Reviews

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