The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, is a magical and legendary story about the women in the life of King Arthur. The book tells the story of Camelot, Arthur, Gwynhefar, Lancelot, Merlin, and Arthur's half sister Morgaine, the high priestess who rules within the realm of magic and mysticism -- and all the other memorable people in their lives.
Avalon is a mythological dream world that comes alive with the magic of Bradley's creative abilities and expressive writing.
Bradley takes the reader through the magical, romantic lands of ancient Paganism, the lives of High Kings and their Queens, and early Christianity from the viewpoint of the heroic women behind the warriors and kings. She presents the familiar and beloved characters of the Arthurian legends portrayed slightly different than history has shown us -- yet still with the powers, loves, and romanticism we all know and love to read about.
With exquisite detail and fantastic storytelling by Bradley, a vivid picture forms in the imagination of the reader. One is taken back to the days of chilvary and magic, loyalty and treason, bloody battles, the passionate romances, and the struggles to hold on to the world of Pagan rituals and a peaceful way of life in the face of encroaching Christianity and land grabbing populations.
With a story of heart wrenching sorrow and tender, undying love, the reader learns of Igraine, her husband King Gorlois, and the growing love Igraine feels for Uther Pendragon.
From the union of Igraine and Uther will come the High King who builds Camelot, Arthur. With the plans and magic of Merlin and Viviane, the high priestess of Avalon and also Igraine's sister, the path of destiny is sealed and set in motion -- and Igraine, torn between loyalty to her husband and his God, and her eternal love for Uther, must play her part in the salvation of the land.
The story of Morgaine is a deeply moving experience. At a tender young age she is taken to the Isle of Avalon to enter into the studies of a priestess. Her aunt Viviane is the only connection to the family Morgaine knew and so loved. The Lady of the Lake, Viviane, must at times set aside her love for the girl in order to teach the strict adherence to the rules of Avalon, the life of a priestess, and the honor, respect, and proper worship of the Mother Goddess.
Morgaine is brought together with the man who represents the Stag at the Beltane Fires. Little does she realize at the time what a profound prophecy is brought forth with this union of the mysterious man she lay with. Over time, Morgaine must learn to live as a priestess, without the only man she deeply loves and has secretly given her heart to.
The beautiful Raven, another priestess in training, becomes Morgaine's closest and most trusted friend. This mysterious and quiet woman has her own beauty and powers which Morgaine will some day learn about.
This is a story of love, magic, betrayal, mystery, sorcery, and profound spirituality. The lives of Igraine, Viviane, Morgause, Morgaine, Raven and Gwynhefar become deeply interwoven and intriguing. Each woman is portrayed with her own strengths and weaknesses, her own beauty, and her own power over the men that rule the lands outside of Avalon.
The women of Avalon and the tales of the men they love is a beautiful and memorable story -- a powerful and moving experience. It is a story set in the romantic days of King Arthur and told from the women's point of view.
I purchased my own copy when the book first came out in bookstores and have read it about once a year. I never tire of this beautiful legend. I have purchased other copies of The Mists Of Avalon as gifts for others who have truly appreciated it. For the lover of Arthurian romances, this is a must read.
THE MISTS OF AVALON: