Serpent and the Grail

Serpent and the Grail

by A. A. Attanasio


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061059735
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/2000
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.21(w) x 6.78(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

I write my fiction inside a volcano. The twenty-two novels and two short story collections I’ve published were all composed in Koko Crater, a dormant cinder cone near my home on the outskirts of Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Read an Excerpt

An Angel Crosses Europe in A.D. 491

Shortly after dawn sometime late in spring, an angel appeared over Jerusalem. His eyes shone like night's last stars. His hair streaked the sky with prismatic threads, stitching daybreak into crimson-and-magenta banners above the ancient city's ramparts.

In one stride, he stepped over the steep skyline and across the shattered rocks of prophets' tombs and dunes crouching like lions beside toppled columns of Greek shrines. Somewhere above the Mediterranean, he gazed down through the palpitant air at goosewinged sails carrying cargoes of carob wood and Lebanese cedar to Carthage. There, the Vandals were rebuilding the wharves and harbors they had torched in their conquest of Africa forty years earlier.

The angel quickly moved north onto the Italic peninsula. He glanced briefly at the green baize of croplands and orchards charred by the ravages of the Ostrogoths. But not one look did he give the crumbled arches of Rome and its desuetude of slumyards. Instead, he peered beyond the snow peaks of the Alps and the expansive tracts of boreal forests to the remote isle kingdom of Britain.

Four strides later, he passed over the war camps of Clovis and the battlefields of the fierce Alamanni. The hordes of pagan Saxons, Angles, and Jutes who had assembled on the shores of jutland for their invasion of Britain sensed him not at all. When he finally lighted on the rocky summit before Camelot, his eyes brightened to gaze at the proud and unlikely structure that reared above the aboriginal forests. With its paraboloid jacket walls, chevron-shaped battlements, polished-brass solar scoops, and dodecahedral spires,it was an edifice strange to its time.

The angel stood still before this geometric wonder of blue stone. His effluvial body disappeared, camouflaged in the sunlight slanting through the big trees. And the shining trees listened as he began to sing in a voice only they could hear.

We heard the trees of Camelot laughing, we Nine Queens of Avalon. We did not recognize what we heard at first, for sequence is not known here. Avalon is somewhere else. In our honeycomb of time, where every moment is a temple, centuries rise and fall as days, and each day climbs through centuries.

Ali, but you do not understand. We are far ahead of ourselves. Please, be patient with us. We have a story to tell, a story of angels and demons, of fire-breathing dragons and a dangerous unicorn-and a story of you and King Arthur. You will understand everything if you are patient with us. Like the moon that swallows itself each month, we come and we go, yet we are always here. Come. Sit with us at the heart's fountain, which in your presence has become this printed page. Sit and listen to how we Nine Queens of Avalon heard the trees of Camelot laughing.

This was not amused laughter or droll chuckles or polite giggling, but genuine, blissful laughter. Only an angel could evoke such rapture from trees. But what kind of angel was this? We could not see or hear him. Was it one of the radiant angels who had gathered us to Avalon and our fateful purpose or was it an angel fallen from the light, a wicked messenger of darkness? We could not tell. Trees are easily charmed. They eat light, and even the clotted light of demons is enough to fill them with astonished Joy.

By the time we gathered our wits sufficiently to look more closely for the angel, he was gone. Some personage of light or dark had arrived. A being once hugged tight to the stars had come to Camelot. Why? We feared the answer.

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Serpent and the Grail 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Serpent and the Grail is not as good as the last three in this series. I have read a lot of Arthurian lore and this series is my least favorite. If you are a fan of Arthurian lore you should read it because it is so different from everthing you have proably read. This book is about Arthur trying to get back the Grail to save his kingdom. I love how Arthur is written he is so strong and has no fear when it comes to saving his people. Then at the same time he is so venerable and lonely. I could not stand Merlin in this book, what a disappointment he is. I did like how we get to see more of Prince Bright Night and Arthur's mother Ygrane. The ending does give a conclusion, but it does leave room for more story. But I guess its not really needed, because if like me you love Arthurian lore you know how the story goes. Oh and what happens to creepy little Mordred in this book is crazy. Long live King Arthur!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent he is able to mix science, history and myth into a fascinating tale which makes you wonder what is real and to what extent.