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Grail (The Pendragon Cycle) [Hardcover]

Stephen Lawhead
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Sep 1997 The Pendragon Cycle
Following Arthur's miraculous healing by Christ's cup from an apparently fatal wound, Arthur sets his heart upon establishing a shrine to the Grail as a symbol of the Summer Realm he has introduced to Britain. The other books in this cycle are "Taliesin", "Merlin", "Arthur" and "Pendragon".

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Books; First UK Edition edition (19 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745938825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745938820
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,881,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"One of the best works of Arthurian fantasy." -- Waterstone's

"Soars like a bird across a fictional canvas as huge as the sky." -- On Being

"The familiar tale, singularly reworked... Lawhead's interpretation is different and distinctive."

--Kirkus --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Lawhead is the internationally acclaimed author of many outstanding fantasy and science fiction novels, including The Song of Albion trilogy, and the Pendragon series. Stephen lives in Oxford with his wife Alice. They have two grown up sons. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I, Gwalchavad, Lord of Orcady, write this. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warfare turns spiritual. 1 Jun 2001
Format:Paperback
"Grail" is the last volume of Lawhead's Pendragon series. It is narrated by Gwalchavad, and revolves around the mysterious and magical Grail which was the cause of Arthur's miraculous healing at the end of the previous volume. The Grail is the cup used by Christ in his last supper (p.45), and has healing powers. Arthur's kingdom is firmly established now that the Saecsons and Vandals have both been defeated. Now that the Kingdom of Summer is officially inaugurated, the Grail is seen as a symbol of this kingdom of light. So Arthur builds a shrine for this symbol of his kingdom, and the kingdom of summer is officially declared.
Just when the kingdom of summer reaches its high point, tragedy strikes. At the height of the kingdom's glory, the subversive attacks of Morgian return. This Queen of the Powers of the Air and Darkness steals the sacred Grail, abducts Arthur's queen, and deceives his champion soldier. From this point on the action intensifies, as the newly established kingdom of peace fights warfare on a new front: spiritual warfare. Unlike the battle scenes of previous volumes, the battle scenes in this book describe a struggle against demons and the powers of darkness (Eph. 6).
Lawhead's vision of the Grail did make me uncomfortable. Firstly, the cup used by Jesus was an ordinary object, and to have it turn into a sparkling grail with rows of rubies, emeralds, and pearls, with a "broad band of impossibly ornate scrollwork" seems to go against the very purpose of the last supper. Secondly, the purpose of the supper was to encourage believers in their spiritual worship and commemoration of Christ, not in a material worship of a sacred object.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine and mystical finish 15 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This time it's Gwalchavad (Galahad) who tells the story of Arthur, miraculously healed, and his final confrontation with the power of Morgian (also miraculously healed, presumably). This has far more magic in it than the other novels, and less feel for Celtic Britain, which may put some off, but I thought it a fine and satisfying conclusion, though again it contradicted Arthur. I can't decide if the series was originally planned as a trilogy and Lawhead carried on because a) he knew the conclusion to Arthur was unsatisfactory or b) the success of the series demanded more books. Or if it was planned as a five novel series from the beginning, which makes the continuity gaps even more puzzling. Still, a fine series, overall, even given the dips in the middle.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
To begin, I'd like to say that the Pendragon Cycle is a brilliant work, and the other books in it stand without this, frankly, unnecessary work.
I am not sure what prompted Stephen Lawhead to write a fifth volume, but all I can say is that it simply feels wrong - almost as if someone else wrote the book.
The traditional tales of King Arthur ends with Arthur disappearing mysteriously, an event depicted magnificently at the end of Pendragon Cycle 3: Arthur, as Arthur sails off to Merlin's Grandfather's palace on Avallon - a secluded island (marked as the Isle of Wight on the map at the beginning).
So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that this book begins with Arthur, Merlin and others not only returning from Merlin's Grandfather's palace, but somehow the palace Arthur was returning from was at Glastonbury Tor, the location Avallach leaves in the previous book.
The structure of the book was also different to the other books - while the others are all split into three or four sections, this is one single section told through the eyes of one person.
There were other discrepancies too, and the narrative did not seem up to the standard I have come to expect from Lawhead. To be honest, I'd recommend avoiding this book, because it kind of spoilt the rest of the series for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Talisien: Excellent Merlin: Very good Arthur: Good Pendragon: Ok Grail: Er, can we see a pattern here? This book jumps back in time from the events of Pendragon in a noble quest to relieve you of your hard earned money.A turgid tale of misery, deceit and un-remitting God-bothering descibing a years worth of monumental events, which no character even mentioned in passing in the previous book. Avoid like the yellow ravager!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fifth Book in the Pendragon Series 6 Sep 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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. Stephen Lawhead is one of my all time favourite authors and I am only sorry that he does not write more often.

Following his miraculous healing by the cup of Christ, Arthur sets his heart and mind upon establishing a shrine to the Grail. Something that will stand out as a symbol of the Summer realm that he has introduced to the island of Britain.

While Arthur is putting all his energies into achieving this, Merlin's old enemy, Morgian is plotting a devastating and bitter betrayal by one of Arthur's dearest companions . . .
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