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Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Essylte Paperback – 1 Dec 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; 1 edition (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345456505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345456502
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,887,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 9 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
I had previously read Queen of Camelot and Grail Prince and found them thrilling epic masterpieces and wanted to get hold of this book for along time.
This retelling of the tale of the star crossed lover Tristan and Iseult does not disappoint.
It traces how Tristan, the Prince of Lyonesse is sent by his uncle Markion, a usurper for the crown of Cornwall that should be Tristans, to fetch his bride Iseult, Princess of Gwynedd, and they fall madly in love with each other, in the way of Romeo and Juliet, and Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights.
A curse by Iseult's evil sorceress mother and troublemaking by the villainous first advisor to Markion, Segward, they saved by Segward's golden hearted beautiful wife Esme, and Iseult's half sister Branwen.
Ends quite tragically but is redeemed by Elen, the daughter of Galahad (star of Grail Princes and Dandrane). who is rescued from her rapist and vile giant captor by Tristan
Sad and engaging, captures both the time and the legend expertly
The best chronicler of Arthurian tales, alongside Mary Stewart with her Merlin series.

. I had previously read Queen of Camelot and Grail Prince and found them thrilling epic masterpieces and wanted to get hold of this book for along time.
This retelling of the tale of the star crossed lover Tristan and Iseult does not disappoint.
It traces how Tristan, the Prince of Lyonesse is sent by his uncle Markion, a usurper for the crown of Cornwall that should be Tristans, to fetch his bride Iseult, Princess of Gwynedd, and they fall madly in love with each other, in the way of Romeo and Juliet, and Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Heart-wrenching 17 Feb 2004
By S. E. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The tale of Tristan and Essylte - a beautiful but tragic love story. This is sort of the Romeo and Juliet of ancient Briton.
I know the story mainly from the books by R. Miles - but Nancy McKenzie has a style of writing that is second-to-none. She spins a new twist on the story and ties it beautifully to her earilier book "Grail Prince". I couldn't put this down - the descriptions of their feelings for each other - their love - their desperation - their heart-wrenching separations and breath-taking reunions...McKenzie takes you there. You feel it with them and if you've ever been in love you feel it with every beautifully woven detail of the story. McKenzie continues to craft masterful works centered around the Arthurian legends and this one certainly did not disappoint!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Fresh New Perspective on Tristan & Essylte! 15 Mar 2004
By Kimberly Gelderman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It would seem the story of Tristan and Essylte would be a much told, tired story by now. However, this author puts some new twists on the old legend and breathes life into its characters. The fates are against these two lovers from the beginning but they try to make a valiant showing throughout the book. Essylte's maidservant, Branwen, is not what she seems and she brings about many of the circumstances Essylte and Tristan endure. King Markion, who is now high king of Britain is Tristan's uncle and wishes to wed the Welsh Princess to bring unity to Britain. Unfortunately, his scope is very limited and Tristan and many others only support him because there is no one better to do so. Except for Tristan, of course, however, he does not desire the high kingship, only Essylte, someone he is never destined to have.
It is a wild ride with much intrigue and many interesting twists that will keep the reader enthralled from beginning to end. I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in "The Matter of Britain."
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
You may not understand this review if you don't know the story told within 16 May 2006
By Lilly Flora - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know why, but I tend to get stuck on some stories and search for every book written about them. I obsess over Elizabeth I's relationship with Robert Dudley, faithfully search out tales about and of Sharazard, and lately, I want to know everything about Tristan and Isolde. That's why I picked this book.

This is the story of doomed young love. Tristan, a young knight whose birthright to the high throne of Britain was taken by his Uncle (with his help actually, he gave it up) is sent by the same Uncle (Mark) to fetch his bride from Wales. She is fifteen and will marry over forty Mark. Her name is Esselte.

Of course-you know the story. This is a pretty good re-telling of it but for a few details-the poisoned sword wound that Tristan received is just stupidly healed and treated. Tristan has a gay Uncle (nothing wrong with that) who lends nothing to the story but pops up now and then. Esselte's mother is absurd in her hatred of Esselte and Branwen's actions-she delivered the love potion to our lovers and then agrees to sleep with Mark secretly in Esselte's place-are confusing.

This book has also fallen to a classic mistake that comes with retelling this story. Mark of Cornwall is stupid, mean and downright evil at times. This is supposed to be a triangle of love, respect and duty between a devoted nephew, a wife doing her duty and a king. Instead Tristan constantly bemoans that he cannot save Esselte from the evil Mark. Clearly he could have at any time. His excuse of it taking down the British alliance is stupid-Mark's own actions in this book cause that.

In short the romance in this book is far better than in the other version I read recently, the White Raven by Diana L. Paxton, who focused solely on Branwen's tale. But it's still not very romantic. This book is also far better than Rosalind Miles series-which I'm sorry but was so boring I almost died.

I have to say that the recent movie did a far better job of making three likable characters for the triangle, and the dialog was perfect-not too sappy romantic stuff-but real words from people in a horribly desperate situation.

On its own this book gets 3.5 stars, but I'm still looking for a novel retelling of this story I can love. Who knows, maybe I'll just write it myself.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Well done... 19 Jan 2004
By Huntress Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
From his youth, Tristan of Lyonese seems destined to love who he can not have. First, he gives his heart to lady Esmeree, a beautiful and abused woman who nurses him back to health after a terrible wound nearly kills the young knight. He longs to free her from the husband who beats her, but can not. The rules of the ancient Celtic world are strict, especially for kings.
After Camelot fell, King Markion, Tristan's uncle became High King, but had no heir from his queen. Hoping for a son, he is advised to remarry, and sends Tristan to fetch Esslyte, a Welsh princess, as his bride. In one move, he will forge a peace treaty and a dynasty. The union is not without opposition, and Tristan is forced to dual for the right to take the girl to England. Though he wins, he is injured, and given into the Essylte's care. The two fall in love, though she is promised to another. With the help of her half sister Branwen, they are able to share a unique love, but it is under the shadow of a curse.
**** Tragic romance has always won readers' hearts. Tristan is almost too noble to be true. Of all the women in his life, Esmeree is the most like himself. At times, Esselyte seems whiny and unworthy of his love, and Branwen a schemer. Despite this, the story is bittersweet and pleasing. ****
Amanda Killgore
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
haunting! 13 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though it's no "queen of camelot" or "grail prince" it's still a captivating story. I just had problem with Essylte's whininess and selfishness but that is part of the qualities that holds Tristan's heart, unfortunately. Talk about pure obsession to the point that one cannot breathe without other is really heartbreaking and terrifying. Anyhow, I love Nancy's writing, you can see in front of you as you are witnessing it at the moment, you can smell the smells, you can feel the pain, touch. She's amazing, I hope she keeps coming up with more stories, they don't necessarily have to be in the Arturian legends, anything will do!
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