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Priestess of Avalon Paperback – 1 Apr 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Roc (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451458532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451458537
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 10.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,317,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A most original interpretation of Britain by way of Celtic religion and the Great Mother… a remarkable feat of imagination’
MARY RENAULT

‘A pillar of the fantasy field, Bradley combines romance, rich historical detail, magical dazzlements, grand adventure and feminist sentiments into the kind of novel her fans have been yearning for’
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Marion Zimmer Bradley is the creator of the popular Darkover universe as well as the critically acclaimed author of the bestselling The Mists of Avalon and its sequel, The Forest House.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Let's get is straight - if you've read the other Marion Zimmer Bradley books in the Avalon series, and you're dying for a "fix", you won't be disappointed with this one. Published posthumously with the collaboration of Diane Paxson, the story of Eilan is a well-written tale with a timeline that interweaves seamlessly with "Lady of Avalon", and shares many of the same characters.
For the first time in the Avalon series, life outside Britannia is explored, as Eilan becomes "Helena" and takes her place in Roman society alongside her husband, Constantius. The descriptions of faraway places are evocative and the reader is aided by a series of maps and translated place-names in the introduction to the book.
There were only two small issues which struck me initially; firstly that the book is written in the first person, while no others of the Avalon series are written this way, and secondly, that in a very early part of the book there are a couple of spelling and "continuity" errors. However, these are small things and will probably be ironed out in later editions.
I would highly recommend this book to Marion Zimmer Bradley fans, and congratulate Diane Paxson on her contribution to the work. I have read and re-read the other Avalon books until they were in tatters, and it seems I am destined to do the same with this one!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written and exciting. 20 years after the slaughter of the Druids on Ynys Mon (Anglesey) this covers the events that follow and shape Britain. As a Modern Druid working closely with the modern re-enactor Romans in Chester I found the content of this book very close to my heart. The story flows seamlessly and is gripping all the way. Her knowledge and re creation of the Romano British world and way of life is a joy.
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By A Customer on 28 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
Thís fourth "Avalon" novel tells the life story of Eilan, a Priestess of Avalon, who becomes the wife/concubine of the Roman soldier Constantius Chlorus and mother of the legendary Emperor Constantine the Great, who later will be worshipped as a Christian saint. Known as Helena to the Romans, Eilan has to leave the isle of Avalon, because she wants to follow her heart. Her way leads her to Roman Germania, Rome and eventually the Holy Land. But her true home is elsewhere. Bradley's novel is a careful reimagination of a historical character that sometimes captures the reader with its atmospheric descriptions and lush storytelling. Written from Helena's first person point-of-view, Bradley adds another chapter to her popular series of pre-Arthurian historicals. Most of the time it is an entertaining read, but really too much happens off-stage or is simple recounted in dry sentences. Helena's story would have had the potential to rival THE MISTS OF AVALON, and it would have demanded a truly epic treatment. There are far too many time jumps and too much is left out. I think this novel could easily have been twice as long. Overall, this is a good book for MZB/Avalon fans, but not for people who have yet to encounter the magic of Marion Zimmer Bradley. And although Bradley died in 1999, there will be yet another novel in this series linking her Atlantis novel THE FALL OF ATLANTIS with her Avalon books...
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By A Customer on 6 July 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This book is the proof that the theme of Avalon is evolving and charming. Unfortunatelly Marion is no longer with us to continue this exploration, I drank Mists of Avalon, I re-read several times the Lady of Avalon and its followers and now I read this last: Priestess of Avalon. I want more, don't you?
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Format: Paperback
This is the life history of Helena (Elian), concubine to Constantius Chlorus and mother of Constantine the Great, as she grows from Avalon initiate to priestess to Avalon outcast, entering the realm of known history as wife and mother to two Caesars in the waning days of the Roman empire. This story has only a little of the fantasy elements of Mists of Avalon, and doesn't detail all the gory politics and wars of Rome of that period, but is rather a very personal look at this period of history, showing how her own personal thoughts, desires, and beliefs helped mold the political world of day, and the world event's effects on her.

The major portion of this still deals with one of the main themes of Mists: the conflict between the burgeoning Christian religion and the older 'pagan' ones, both Roman and British. Helena herself finds a synthesis, that there is one 'Great Being', that humans, in their limitations, cannot fully see, and therefore worship many aspects of this being, all valid in their own way.

Helen is well drawn; it is easy to become emotionally attached to her hopes and fears. The rest of the characters are not as fully realized, but still far more than cardboard. The strident feminism that marks much of Bradley's later works is very quiet here, only appearing in short thoughts and asides. But I think that if the reader does not have at least a passing knowledge of this period in history, some of the thematic power of this story will be missed. Things like the Council of Nicaea are treated as an offstage happening, as are many other events. This lends a certain distancing effect upon the reader; Helena's world seems not quite connected to the world at large. Some more direct exposition of some of these events would have helped this novel.
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