The Mists of Avalon

The Mists of Avalon

4.11 (159,662 ratings by Goodreads)
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Here is the tragic tale of the rise and fall of Camelot - but seen through the eyes of Camelot's women: The devout Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen; Vivane, High priestess of Avalon and the Lady of the Lake; above all, Morgaine, possessor of the sight, the wise, the wise-woman fated to bring ruin on them more

Product details

  • Paperback | 1024 pages
  • 110 x 180 x 44mm | 479.99g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0140177191
  • 9780140177190
  • 27,889

Review quote

"[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . Reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience. . . . An impressive achievement."--The New York Times Book Review "Marion Zimmer Bradley has brilliantly and innovatively turned the myth inside out. . . . add[ing] a whole new dimension to our mythic history."--San Francisco Chronicle "Gripping . . . Superbly realized . . . A worthy addition to almost a thousand years of Arthurian tradition."--The Cleveland Plain Dealershow more

About 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 more

Review Text

In this 858-page mammoth about the supplanting of Earth Mother religion by male-dominated Christianity through the reign of King Arthur, the folks at Camelot talk-alot, and tediously: only Bradley's inventive jugglings of the ever-flexible Arthurian personnae - and a few magic spectacles - offer oases of vitality. Morgan le Fay (here Morgaine), traditionally Arthur's sister the sorceress, is here a priestess of Avalon (seat of the Great Goddess) who sometimes travels out of body and out of time to penetrate the eerie mists of Avalon - an isle of green lawns, gliding swans, and harp music that's just a dimension away from the "real world" of ancient Briton. (The child Morgaine came to Avalon with her aunt Viviane, Lady of the Lake, sister of Morgaine's mother Igraine, who conceived Arthur by King Uther Pendragon - a mating forecast when their souls were joined in other worlds.) And now Morgaine has mating orders from the Goddess: as virgin bride of the Consort of the Great Mother, Morgaine is ritually impregnated by a stranger chosen to reenact the Marriage to the Land. But who does the Consort turn out to be? Brother Arthur! Both siblings are horrified, of course, so Morgaine leaves Avalon to bear Mordred (whom she abandons to fostering) - and to confront the niggling, dreary priests of a rapidly Christianizing Briton, amid clashes of Saxon warfare. Meanwhile, Arthur is King, fair and good; but he is persuaded by his Queen - beautiful, flawed, pious Christian Gwenhwyfar - to carry only the Cross in battle, to discard the Pendragon banner which represents the Druids, Old People, and Tribes loyal to the Goddess. And thus the King breaks his oath of loyalty given at Avalon (where he received the sword Excalibur) - which results in mystic battles in the ether. There are dramatic deaths; the usual love tangle (though this time Lancelet even wonders if he feels that way about Arthur); odd unions, sightings, and incantations; a culminating vision of the Holy Grail (really the cauldron of Ceriden). And Bradley makes some enterprising use of anthropological conjecture. But the endless talk is often more Mommy than Great Mother ("Make sure he's kept quiet. . . nothing solid for a day or two") - and ultimately this astral, theological approach to Arthur, if nicely misty in spots, is mainly drizzle; more, in fact, for devotees of Druidical fantasy than Arthurian drama. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

159,662 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 45% (71,272)
4 31% (50,227)
3 17% (26,966)
2 5% (7,813)
1 2% (3,384)
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