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The Mists of Avalon is a fantasy novel by American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which the author relates the Arthurian legends from the perspective of the female characters. The book follows the trajectory of Morgaine (often called Morgan le Fay in. The Mists of Avalon book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold th. 'The Mists of Avalon' changed my life—how do I reconcile that with what I now This time, we asked: What book was your feminist awakening?.

This time, we asked: What book was your feminist awakening? The central figure is a woman. Instead, she is wearing a voluminous robe, her long, dark hair bound by a simple coronet. She is sitting on a beautiful white horse and grasping a sword by its blade.

I enjoyed aspects of the book, and I never seriously entertained stopping it, but by the end I was seriously disappointed. Maybe even epically. View all 10 comments. Aug 21, J. Though I am wont to blame the inescapability of genetics for various aspects of an Epicurean reading of Absurdism, I tend to pause, for some reason, in ascribing gender differences as stringently.

It's difficult to say if this is simply a bias of wishful egalitarian thinking or truly an outgrowth of my understanding, for precisely the reasons that Epicureus is worthy to interrupt my many Suicides. So, when I say that women seem more than men to be capable of breaking the Tolkien Curse laid so th Though I am wont to blame the inescapability of genetics for various aspects of an Epicurean reading of Absurdism, I tend to pause, for some reason, in ascribing gender differences as stringently.

So, when I say that women seem more than men to be capable of breaking the Tolkien Curse laid so thickly upon Modern Fantasy barely proper , it is with trepidation. Flatly blaming rude and wretched socialization always seems easier; despite our inability to understand any First Cause.

Original Sin infects us all. There is certainly something bound in the flesh which drives a breed of dwarfish, ill-socialized, fetish-loving escapists to blindly build and habitate an unoriginal world; and for a further gaggle of the nearly less-talented to consume it ravenously. It seems that, in the spirit of contrariness, when women find themselves thrust by love of horses or exceedingly lax tonsorial concerns into the same arena, that they fight a different fight.

Perhaps they approach the incline from a different vantage; arriving not by way of a Tolkien to b Conan to c some unspeakable modern half-wit, but by Malory, McKinley, and Spenser. Of course, one must not forget that the vein of Fantasy still runs, at least in part, through Austen; and that though those alloys be rarer, still inhabit the edges. Bradley has certainly taken a different tack on her way to the summit never tor of fantasy. She evokes Spenser, the Idylls, and all manner of other ridiculous romanticics of the Arthurian Mythos.

She also endeavors to pull the characters out of the romantic and toward post-modern psychological conflict. On occasion, she even succeeds. There is an undeniable depth to the books, accompanied by a rather pleasing graying at the temples of morality which immediately places her at the opposite pole from her male contemporaries. That those poles are really not so far away somewhat lessens the impact, and one is eventually bound to recognize that there really is a reverse pole to the whole of our concept of fantasy marked somewhere in Peake's Titus trilogy.

Actually, that's not true. One could very easily read a fantasy novel a week for life and never have to realize that Bradley is really only a little bit out there; but certainly enough to feel like a breath of the fresher. My Fantasy Book Suggestions View all 41 comments. Nov 25, Tiffany Miss. Fiction rated it it was amazing. Before any review, i need to put down some words. I can't understand how MZB, who wrote such powerful lines and characters, that made me feel so understood, that represented repression and gender inequality with such a beautiful, compelling and empowering novel, could have also been the abuser of her daughter.

I can't understand but i am so angry and this is never something to forgive just because her work spoke to me so much.

The Mists of Avalon

She is unforgivable to my eyes and my heart, it made me vomit as soon Before any review, i need to put down some words. She is unforgivable to my eyes and my heart, it made me vomit as soon as i found out about her daughter, so this is why i won't read more in this series and of her work but i'll review this book detached from my personal opinions of the author. I hope you'll understand. Would i recommend it? It's up to you. XXX I loved this book, so fucking deeply.

It took me 3 weeks to read it but i couldn't put it down. Some will find it boring, some will find it fascinating, some will find it disturbing, some will find themselves in this book. I couldn't express a more striking and effective metaphor of woman condition and on how religion has repressed and effected our society better than what MZB has done.

If you're a fervent religious person, you'll probably hate it. It follows the story of the women of Avalon, a land where the old Goddes is celebrated. Those women were seen as witches and the villains of the story, just because they didn't turn into christians and because they couldn't accept their predetermined roles as wives and mothers. They were so much more. The decline of the pagan religion is symbolized quite literally, through their holy Isle of Avalon. There was a time when any man or woman could find the Island, but as more and more converts abandon the old ways, Avalon fades more into the mists.

So we witness the battle to make the old gods survive against the Christian repression. But it's not just that. This is a story of men and women and their flaws and search for doing the right thing whatever that means and human nature. The moral grey area of this book is very wide.

I liked the fact that what for our society is considered abomination wasn't seen as such for who's not coming from a christian background. And the strongest key point of this book is exactly that, showing as many perspective as possible, all valid. It was a real, deep understanding of moral ambiguity and of the fluid nature of truth. Bradley creates women who are strong-willed, born into a tradition of matriarchal hierarchies and yet, they face a society that has fought them and locked them to traditional roles.

She re-envisions Arthurian legend through the eyes of its women, but this only explain a fraction of what this book is about. It also questions our assumptions about the natures of the characters involved, and ultimately about the nature of the story itself.

Morgaine is one of my favorite character ever, she was such a complex and determined person. We feel her pain, her struggles but we can also find solace in her strength and in her voice.

I loved her because we can see vulnerability and empowerment, strength and weakness. She's not just black or white, like any woman. I couldn't understand both Arthur and Lancelot, and it made me wonder that sometimes the will of looking to the story from a female point of view erased or flattened the male perspective.

Just like the old story did with these ladies. So, this is a very dark tale that maybe you won't always understand nor like but it's addictive because it reflects the horrors and the struggles of women condition and on how christianity has impacted our societies. A feast for us atheists, a banquet for feminists and a fantasy book that really makes me wonder why, in , we still struggle with bad female characterization and stereotyped heroines.

Oh Goddess, come and do what you will! An excellent Arthurian saga. Written from the point of view of Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister and the villian of traditional Arthur tales. Unique in perspective with strong female characters. It is a story of love; and quite different from any Arthur novel you'll ever read. Marion Zimmer Bradley's best work.

She paints a vivid picture, rich with depth of characters and relationships. One of my favorites, I can read this over and over again. View 2 comments. Not that the blurb gives away much of this book and not that I was even remotely interested in it, but a review came up on my feed of someone blacklisting this book. Curious, I clicked the links to work out why. Here is one which I feel is most impactful: To summarise though, this author supports her husband who was a known pedophile.

The above link shows her daughter saying the author herself molested her the daughter. So, to all my friends who want to Not that the blurb gives away much of this book and not that I was even remotely interested in it, but a review came up on my feed of someone blacklisting this book.

So, to all my friends who want to read this or any of the author's other books, I would strongly suggest not to support a monster. If anyone has anyone more information on this or if I am wrong on any counts, please let me know. I am just absolutely horrified by what I have read and felt I should share. View all 14 comments.

I read this book when I was in my mid-teens, and in the midst of an Arthurian obsession phase. These are mythical characters that have been written on so many times and by legendary figures who are almost myths themselves.

It's a really hard subject to tackle without derision. I do think she filled a niche in what could otherwise be a very chauvinistic, idealized genre. I haven't read this recently, so I don't know if I would still connect to it as much as I did when I read it all those years ag I read this book when I was in my mid-teens, and in the midst of an Arthurian obsession phase. I haven't read this recently, so I don't know if I would still connect to it as much as I did when I read it all those years ago.

It teaches something about never taking a story for granted, and the fact that there's a side even to the purportedly evil people that can be more sympathetic than we realize. It's like "Wicked" in that way, only less cliched. Plus, this one was first! View 1 comment. This is kind of a feminist version of the Arthurian legend I say "kind of" for a reason; Nenia's review offers several reasons why it's arguably quasi-feminism at best.

It's well-written but I got bored, and it was long-winded, and I simply didn't care about any of the characters. I didn't find any of them particularly likeable or sympathetic. I skimmed most of the second half.

Young girls with romantic dreams an too many braincells to settle for cheap romance books. Have you ever found yourself reading a book, knowing you're reading crap, but the writing style and the occasional promising plot twist kept you going?

Maybe I was fooled by Hallmark's production, Merlin, and I expected Morgaine to have a backbone to call her own. Zimmer Bradley took whatever hope I had of finding yet another female character to favore and crushed them; Morgaine is obsessed with who everyone marries and who gives birth to who as badly as the simple 'foolish' women she describes c Have you ever found yourself reading a book, knowing you're reading crap, but the writing style and the occasional promising plot twist kept you going?

Zimmer Bradley took whatever hope I had of finding yet another female character to favore and crushed them; Morgaine is obsessed with who everyone marries and who gives birth to who as badly as the simple 'foolish' women she describes contemptly. The constant religious conversations were getting boring by the nine-hundredth time they were run and Zimmer Bradley's constant obsession wit not taking sides or making too many snapping comments of christianity were annoying.

Bradley gives no one a truely happy ending nor a revenge to any of the 'bad' characters and so leaves the reader with a sense of bitter dissappointment.

Sure, it was nice to read about the very early days of post-Roman england, but for god's sake; I could have picked up a history book and not this waste of time, energy and paper.

This is a feminist work. I saw a few one-star reviews from dudes AND ladies of this saying that the women were boring or slutty or whatever coded misogyny nonsense, but let me get something off my chest: The women were strong and they were complex and each one of them had this beautifully woven narrative.

Spinning, weaving, childbirth, mother This is a feminist work. Spinning, weaving, childbirth, motherhood, sex, periods, heartbreaks, first uncomfortable pangs of romance- these are all honest and authentic experiences of these women. The characters navigated their world, insular as it may have been, in a manner accommodating the men who ran it. Behind the scenes and pulling strings, that's what these women were doing. Standing close to the spotlight and never stepping in it.

I thought there was a beautiful symmetry in this book- once I got to the end and all the scattered pieces started to come together again because yo, not gonna lie, this book will wander far and wide from the original starting point , it felt like this bellowing crescendo to me.

Hallowed moments of tender mercies and divine revelations finally knit back together and shaped this incredible feminist narrative of women and God. Here's a backstory: I have a "Valar Morghulis" tattoo. I love asoiaf unconditionally and forgive GRRM being unable to write women's anatomy. He writes women like they were men, and I appreciate the complexity this offers women roles. While I was reading Mists of Avalon I thought of Gregory Macguire's Wicked novels and how Elphaba, like Morgaine, eventually wanders into moral grey areas and makes mistakes.

Elphaba hardens, she resigns herself to wickedness and coldness and keeps her vulnerability hidden. Addendum to backstory: I'm not religious in the slightest. But now I know what a complex woman in a fantasy setting looks like when written by a woman and I am never going back.

Reading female characters who show strength as well as vulnerability? Fortitude and weakness? How refreshing is this, reading women who aren't written as men or earn have to earn their "girl power" mantle by wielding swords and acting like men? I have never had a particularly favorable attitude towards Christianity and have kept a respectful and silent distance, but the end of this book brought about a new affection for how beautiful spirituality can be because of how it affected each of these women in different ways.

I was deeply moved by this book.

View all 3 comments. View all 6 comments. Thus far I had found the book to be more complex than that, but I could see that ending coming, as MZB is not always the subtlest of writers. However, at the end I happily conclude that seeing such a reductionist message from the text is a failing on the reader, not the author. Most notably, it follows the women of Avalon, traditionally regarded as witches, crones, and villainesses.

Morgaine Morgan Le Fey is not evil sorcercess intent on destroying the good Christian king, she is a devoted priestess to the Goddess who wants to make sure that her religion is not destroyed by the Christian conversion of the lands. Both Morgaine and Gwynhefar are I think what you could fairly describe as religious fanatics, and they both struggle with what they must give up to push their agenda. The Merlin of Britain, leader of the Druids, occupies a middle ground in this religious debate, saying merely that all Gods are one and that it does not matter what form men see them in.

I think this book is a great starting place for a bigger discussion of the place of feminine spirituality within a patriarchal driven religion.

Although the book is largely concerned with matters of religion, it is also a saga of family and love and is filled with fascinating characters. For me it was a totally immersive and exciting experience, I suspect for others it would drag. I would NOT recommend it for someone looking for an Arthurian story, this is a postfeminist story about spirituality. If that interests you, go for it. View all 5 comments. This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell -blog.

In that time, my criteria for rating a book on the one to five stars scale has changed a couple of times. A few things still hold true. The book has to be exceptional and leave an indelible impression to get a five star rating from me.

Three stars remains my meh-rating. To compensate, I adjusted my personal rating scale and now one star is reserved to books that induce burning white rage in me. For me, the style matters little, but dammit, it matters. Bradley set out to write a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the female perspective, and in that she succeeded.

She managed to put together a logical and a somewhat coherent version of the events that put King Arthur on his throne in Camelot and brought him down from it, and she managed to tell it with female voices. Igraine, Viviane, Morgaine, Gwenhwyfar, Morgause, all these women claw their way from the footnotes of the myth and become three dimensional people—not just characters, but people—with worries and joys of their own.

However, as wonderfully flawed all these people were with their virtues and their unbridled ambitions, none of them really had a choice in the matter. She wrote people thrown about by the fates and whims of their deities. All the characters, as Ms. Bradley paints them, are passive. None are active.

The Book That Made Me a Feminist Was Written by an Abuser

None make choices and then take responsibility for their actions. The only stupid choice she makes is so that the author has an excuse to make the pious lady into an adulteress without making her choose it.

Morgaine, the worst offender, chooses nothing. The closest she comes to making up her own mind is when she flees Avalon, but after that she promptly becomes the meekest of them all. Catalyst, you say? People change, people make choices that change them and others around them. But times were different then and women nothing but chattel, you say? All Morgaine and the others had to do to win me over, was not to see themselves as victims.

All they had to do was to endure what was thrown at them and choose to make the best of it. All they had to do was to choose. Only Morgause and Viviane come close to choosing anything, and how are their choices rewarded? Why of course, they are the great villainesses whose actions lead to a family tragedy after a family tragedy.

That matters. View all 11 comments. I really enjoyed the author's very original take on this famous legend. Having Morgaine as a sympathetic character instead of the usual villain of the piece I thought worked very well. Only four stars from me though because I felt the story faltered many times especially with the constant repetitive bickering between characters about Christianity versus paganism.

Obviously this was central to the book but there was just too much. And Gwenhwyfar was just awful. I have never had much sympathy for I really enjoyed the author's very original take on this famous legend. I have never had much sympathy for her when the story is told more traditionally but in this I just wanted to smack her! So overall an enjoyable version of the legend, well told with some great highlights but a little repetitive and consequently too long.

Here's a good jumping-in point: Her Daughter: Her Son: I didn't like this novel before -- too much misandry, revisionism, contempt for the Arthurian mythos, creepy sexual content, etc. But knowing such information about the author -- who she REALLY was and what she did and what she thought -- explains a lot about certain themes, scenes, etc. View all 8 comments. What an excellent retelling of Arthurian legend from the women in the classic legends perspective.

I don't know why I put this off for so long - it sat on my shelf gathering dust for far too long. This feminist retelling is a must read. I know, it's pages long, but it's worth tackling. I've never seen an Arthurian retelling quite like this one - I particularly enjoyed how The Merlin and The Lady of the Lake are the titles of an office with multiple people fulfilling those roles. Otherwise, i What an excellent retelling of Arthurian legend from the women in the classic legends perspective.

Otherwise, it's fascinating to see what Bradley makes of this legendary cast of characters. If only it were easier to keep track of the multitudes of characters, though, since several of them have quite similar names.

View all 4 comments. This book has been important to me for a long time. The main characters include those that were familiar to me at least in name: Arthur, Lancelo This book has been important to me for a long time. However, the lead character is the priestess Morgaine, born on the Isle of Avalon, which is hidden from others by the mists referenced in the title.

Doing right sometimes means having to let your true love go. So, coincidently, Jesus happened to be born near the winter Solstice although other accounts say he was born in June or July and was resurrected near the Spring Equinox. Pagans essentially worship Mother Earth and nature. Imagine if we still respected nature and Earth that much.

I read this first after it was given to me as a gift after high school graduation approximately a million years ago. This time around, I listened to it as an audiobook. Thanks to audiobooks, you no longer need to be a little kid to be read a bedtime story!

What can I say about this book? I understand that this is largely considered to be one of the great classics of modern fantasy literature. But personally, I found it to be a tedious, repetitive, grossly innaccurate affair that has little redeeming value. To be fair, I have to applaud Bradley for the sheer audacity of what she attempts to accomplish with this book: Perhaps she merely bit off a lot more than she could chew. Bu What can I say about this book? But nevertheless, this book wound up being one of the great disappointments of my reading career.

The entire point of Bradley's book seems to be not really to tell a story, but to push a neo-feminist, neo-pagan point of view. Her arguments, that Christianity ruined egalitarian earth-loving Celtic cultures and shackled women under a male-dominated cultural power supported by the Church, are repetitive and monotonous. Her book becomes far more concerned with repeating this argument over and over again, and the plot suffers greatly.

Even if you do agree with some of her points which I do , you find yourself becoming quite aggravated by her tiresome diatribes well before the book is half finished. Any basic writing instructor will tell you that when setting out to write a story, don't try to make a point.

If your writing is good enough, it will make that point clear for you, while leaving your reader to determine their own conclusions. Obviously, Bradley never got this piece of advice or simply chose to ignore it. The other grave fault of the books is that Bradley's perspective is based on a lot of New Age, Neo-pagan pseudo-history than any real research. Either she didn't know any better, or just as likely, she chose to ignore historical fact.

Now I can allow for a healthy amount of artistic interpretation to history, especially when you take into account the Arthurian period, which is itself layered in so much myth and speculation. But Bradley goes beyond the acceptable levels of "stretching the facts," and instead weaves such blatant misrepresentations that it makes one cringe. For one, Celtic cultures were hardly the peaceful, egalitarian, feminist examples that Bradley portrays them to be.

Their religious organization was male-dominated, and they engaged in human sacrifice and even ritual rape. In her attempts to color Christianity black she entirely overlooks the contributions the Church made in bringing peace to war-torn Britain. And, perhaps her most horrendous and unforgiveable sin, is in her portrayal of St.

Patrick, who becomes Arthur's bishop in the later half of the book. Not only did Patrick never become a bishop in Britain or hold any real post there whatsoever , but Bradley again overlooks the fact that while in Ireland on his mission of conversion, Patrick actually allowed for female bishops and priests and created perhaps one of the most egalitarian versions of the Catholic Church. These points aisde, what about her actual portrayal of the Arthurian legends?

Bradley's characters are mostly one-dimensional, alas. There is very little narrative structure, and most of the "action" of the novel occurs within the characters. As mentioned, she seems a lot more interested in making her socio-philosophical point than in telling a real story. The great events of the Arthurian tales are mostly glossed over, though she does have some interesting and intriguing re-interpretations of some of the episode. Unfortunately, these are few, and the end of the book is especially anti-climactic.

Arthur's tragic death and the dissolution of the dream of Camelot is merely a footnote. The final verdict? Read this book if, like me, you are very interested in the Arthurian cycles and their re-interpretations throughout history.

This is one of those works that, while painful to plod through, should at least be attempted in order to gain a better understanding of the modern impact of Arthur and his exploits.

However, beyond that cultural context, this book hardly stands out. If you are looking for a unique, intriguing, and multidimensional treatment of the Arthurian legends, then I recommend you seek out T.

White's The Once and Future King. I have heard for years nothing but glowing recommendations for this book, yet I am still amazed by the intensity with which this story touched me. Marion Zimmer Bradley is an incredible storyteller with impressive knowledge of the ancient Goddess based spirituality. The history and mysticism are clearly well-researched, and the writing is lyrical, palpable, and quite beautiful. Paganism, where the lines between good and evil are much blurred; All the characters are well-drawn in depths both good and bad, flawed and noble, completely and ultimately human.

My favorite passage: But I know too much of the truth…of the way life works, with life after life in which we, ourselves, and only we, can work out the causes we have set in motion and make amends for the harm we have done. It stands not in the realm of reason that one man, however holy and blessed, could atone for all of the sins of all men, done in all lifetimes. Portrayed through the story of Camelot, told in the voice of Morgaine, Morgan La Fey, niece of Viviane, Lady of the Lake; queen of Cornwall, sister to the High King, and consort to the King Stag; a refreshing perspective to a well-known tale.

This is a masterful interpretation, giving new life to all the old characters: If you have not yet treated yourself to this enchanting feat of imagination into this world of Old, I urge you to do so, soon.

It is well worth the journey This book is one of those that I would consider required reading. Marion Zimmer Bradley's telling of the Arthurian legend from the point of view of Morgaine is so captivating that even twenty years later, I come back to it. It's the story of Britain after Rome has faded but the influence of Rome, particularly through spreading Christianity hasn't. Britain is on the cusp where the spread of Christianity is eclipsing the native, ancient religion.

You'll see all the familiar names from the legend, A This book is one of those that I would consider required reading. You'll see all the familiar names from the legend, Arthur, Guinevere, etc.

Book Review: The Mists of Avalon | No Wasted Ink

In Bradley's tale, Morgaine is a priestess of Avalon who tries to serve the Goddess, the Lady of Avalon, her King and brother and is ill-used in the process. For me the book succeeds because when I read it I got the sense that it could have happened like that if you're willing to suspend disbelief enough for the magical elements of the story. When I first read this, I couldn't put it down. If you haven't read it, you should remedy that!

Mists of Avalon 13 Jul 06, The Mists of Avalon 3 8 May 16, Readers also enjoyed. Videos About This Book. More videos Science Fiction Fantasy. About Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook. Bradley's first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla , first published in the May issue of Other Worlds.

When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Ham Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series, often with a feminist outlook.

When she was a child, Bradley stated that she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, and Leigh Brackett, especially when they wrote about "the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be. Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, Marion Zimmer Bradley produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including some gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels.

For example, I Am a Lesbian was published in Though relatively tame by today's standards, they were considered pornographic when published, and for a long time she refused to disclose the titles she wrote under these pseudonyms. Her story The Planet Savers introduced the planet of Darkover, which became the setting of a popular series by Bradley and other authors.

The Darkover milieu may be considered as either fantasy with science fiction overtones or as science fiction with fantasy overtones, as Darkover is a lost earth colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication; her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death.

Bradley took an active role in science-fiction and fantasy fandom, promoting interaction with professional authors and publishers and making several important contributions to the subculture. For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors, but this ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to some of the fan's stories.

As a result, the novel remained unpublished, and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction. Bradley was also the editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors.

Although she particularly encouraged young female authors, she was not averse to including male authors in her anthologies. Mercedes Lackey was just one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies.

She also maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley. Ms Bradley was editing the final Sword and Sorceress manuscript up until the week of her death in September of Probably her most famous single novel is The Mists of Avalon. A retelling of the Camelot legend from the point of view of Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar, it grew into a series of books; like the Darkover series, the later novels are written with or by other authors and have continued to appear after Bradley's death.

In , Bradley was accused of sexual abuse by her daughter, Moira Greyland, who claims that she was molested from the age of 3 to Greyland also claimed that she was not the only victim and that she was one of the people who reported her father, Walter H. Breen, for child molestation.

In response to these allegations Bradley's publisher Victor Gollancz Ltd announced that they will donate all income from the sales of Bradley's e-books to the charity Save the Children. Her main novel series featured a sword and sorcery themed world known as Darkover, but she also wrote short stories, articles and books in other subjects.

As an author, her most popular novel was The Mists of Avalon which was later made into a major motion picture starring Angelica Houston. The book is a retelling of the Camelot legend from the viewpoint of the female characters. Bradley died in September of Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will, and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you.

The Mists of Avalon is a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the female characters. Viviane, known as the Lady of Avalon, and aunt to both Morgaine and Arthur, advises King Uther to have the boy fostered away from court for his safety.

She also takes Morgaine to initiate her as a priestess of the Mother and to groom her as the next Lady of Avalon. Time passes and both Morgaine and Arthur become adults.

Book Review: The Mists of Avalon

Arthur claims the throne of Britain and defends his kingdom against the invading Saxons. The Lady of Avalon gives him the sword Excalibur that is enchanted to help him gain victory over his enemies. In return, Viviane asks for Arthur to honor the old religion, to which he agrees. Morgaine becomes a priestess with the full power the title bestows, being able to open the gate between our world and the fey world of Avalon.

Morgaine conceives a child during a fertility rite and learns to her horror that the masked father was actually her own half-brother and that the escapade was arranged by her Aunt Viviane. Morgaine leaves Viviane and Avalon, wishing to have no more to do with the ancient druid religion.

She has visions and knowledge of herbal medicines. The childless Gwenhwyfar, Queen to King Arthur, asks Morgaine to create a fertility charm in order to help her conceive the son and heir she longs for.

The charm works, but not in the manner that Gwenhwyfar expects. Arthur himself invites his best friend Lancelot to join he and Gwenhwyfar in bed as a threesome. The Queen is in love with Lancelot and welcomes the chance to have him, but when the union does not result in a child, she grows angry. Gwenhwyfar rejects pagan magic and turns to Christianity to give her the desired heir. From that point forward, she is an advocate to Arthur to bring Christian values to Britain and to forsake the druidic past.

Eventually, Arthur learns that he has a son and he longs to bring the boy to Camelot. However, Gwenhwyfar will not hear of it. In retaliation, the Queen schemes to marry Morgaine off to a Welsh King to remove her from court. Trouble ensues and eventually, Morgaine leaves King Uriens court and Wales forever. Gwydion wishes to earn his place without preferential treatment and challenges Lancelot to single combat during a tourney to prove his mettle.

Lancelot and the King are impressed by his skills and Lancelot makes Gwydion a knight of the round table, naming him Mordred. Mordred is not content with being a knight and eventually, he causes King Arthur more problems.

You will need to read the book to learn the final outcome of this engrossing tale. I first read The Mists of Avalon when I was in my twenties and it has stuck with me down through the years. I enjoyed the movie that followed and own a copy in my collection. In Morgaine, Bradley has created a sympathetic character who makes mistakes, hopes and dreams of a better life and ultimately is swept away by the events of her times. The central theme is the fall of the old Druid religion and how it was replaced by Christianity.

Bradley is not complimentary toward Christians in her book, and normally I would find this to be a detraction, but the unfolding description of Pagan religion is fascinating in its depth.

The isle of Avalon felt much like a character with its symbolic dissolving into the mists as the old religion faded from the hearts of the English people. The book is extremely feminist in theme from the matriarchal Pagan society led by the Lady of Avalon, to the relationship struggles of the various Queens and their control over their Kings.

ALIZA from California
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