Category Archives: Dark Ages

{{Giveaway!}} Review: Sunrise of Avalon (Trystan & Isolde Trilogy Book #3) by Anna Elliott

Sunrise of Avalon (Trystan & Isolde Trilogy Book #3) by Anna Elliott
Simon & Schuster Touchstone September 13 2011
Paperback 448 pages
ISBN 978-1416589914
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:Great big Four stars!

She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. When Britain is faced with threats both old and new, the strength of her love may be the kingdom’s downfall . . . or salvation.


Their love has overcome endless obstacles. Never ones to shy away from danger, former High Queen Isolde and Trystan, a mercenary with a lonely and troubled past, have already endured a perilous journey to keep the underhanded Lord Marche from the throne of Britain. But now a new traitor lurks amongst the kings on Britain’s High Council – and just when they’ve realized the depth of their love for each other, a new danger calls Trystan from Isolde’s side to test the strength of their secret marriage vow. Only Isolde knows that she is carrying Trystan’s unborn child.

As Britain’s armies prepare for a final battle in which they will either turn back the tide of the invaders or see their kingdom utterly destroyed, Isolde must undertake yet another daring mission – one that will bring her even nearer to a secret that Trystan has kept for seven long years. As the clouds of war gather, Trystan and Isolde must once again fight to protect Britain’s throne. Together, they hold the key that can defeat the Saxon king, Octa of Kent, and Lord Marche. But the cost of Britain’s sovereignty may be their own forbidden love.

Based on the earliest written version of the Arthurian tales, Anna Elliott’s Sunrise of Avalon breathes new life into an age-old legend and brings the story of Trystan and Isolde to an unforgettable end.

Having read Anna Elliott’s first two novels in the Trystan and Isolde series, I knew I had to read the final chapter, Sunrise of Avalon. The first two books set up the scene and the nature of the characters of Trystan and Isolde along with their legacies, which brings us to the third book and the final battle for the fate of Britain. Book one, Twilight of Avalon, was actually one of my favorite reads on 2009, as it was my first Arthurian/Dark Ages read which had really enthralled me. Book two, Dark Moon of Avalon, developed the storyline and the struggle of Britain versus the Saxons, along with the relationship between Trystan and Isolde.

The plot of the Avalon books feature Trystan’s battles on the field as well as his own personal demons, as Lady Isolde learns to preserve herself and her integrity in the midst of warring men. The love story that begins in book one continues on to book three as we hope that there will be a happy ending once and for all for Trystan and Isolde. However, there are quite a few obstacles that block the path to love, and the Kings of Britain wouldn’t mind having Isolde’s land for their own.

Lady Isolde has inherited the gifts of the ‘seeing’ power from her legendary grandmother, Morgan, and she uses the gifts to help give her peace of mind of Trystan’s whereabouts. He has all but shut her out, and she hangs on to the hope of his love by the threads of the magic through Trystan’s dreams. Isolde hopes she can break through Trystan’s hardened exterior as she harbors the secret of her pregnancy, but she is lucky enough to have faithful friends who would risk their lives for her as she travels through harsh lands. Daka, Piye, and Hereric all return in this finale, as well as King Madoc and the evil King Marche as they all are supposed to be saving Britain from the hands of Octa of the Bloody Knife. The characters are the stars of the books, as the author diligently endears them to us, along with the hope that Trystan and Isolde can hold on to their lives and their love while helping to keep Britain out of enemy’s hands.

Anna Elliott’s voice is pure and unwavering, and her setting and character descriptions are expertly told throughout the storyline. She shifts the writing tones as she navigates from Trystan’s to Isolde’s point of view, but it is done with ease. The plot seems simple enough: finding true love and keeping it throughout war, but the author knows how to pull the reader in because of the way she writes and endears the characters and the setting of Dark Ages Britain to us. The Twilight of Avalon trilogy is a fantastic mix of romance, hope, danger and magic and I would definitely recommend this entire series as it is the epitome of the phrase masterful storytelling. I cannot wait to see what Anna Elliott will write next!

Read my previous Anna Elliott posts here.
On towards the Book Giveaway!! The publisher is offering two lucky followers a chance to win this book!
To enter, just comment with your email address and let me know if you have read any Arthurian or Dark Ages books before.

For extra entries, tweet or facebook this post, and leave me those links in the comments. (+1 each)
For one more entry, like the Burton Book Review Facebook page.

Open to USA only, and ends September 30, 2011. Good Luck!

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2011 Reviews, Anna Elliott, Arthurian, Dark Ages

>Book Review: Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley

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Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley
Sourcebooks REISSUE, November 1, 2010
Historical Fantasy
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:Three Stars

The Guinevere Trilogy by Persia Woolley:

  • Child of the Northern Spring (1987)
  • Queen of the Summer Stars (1991)
  • Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn (1993)

Among the first to look at the story of Camelot through Guinevere’s eyes, Woolley sets the traditional tale in the time of its origin, after Britain has shattered into warring fiefdoms. Hampered by neither fantasy nor medieval romance, this young Guinevere is a feisty Celtic tomboy who sees no reason why she must learn to speak Latin, wear dresses, and go south to marry that king. But legends being what they are, the story of Arthur’s rise to power soon intrigues her, and when they finally meet, Guinevere and Arthur form a partnership that has lasted for 1500 years.

This is Arthurian epic at its best—filled with romance, adventure, authentic Dark Ages detail, and wonderfully human people.

Arthurian legends have held the aura of mystique for quite a few years, but the recent releases of Anna Elliott’s Avalon series have helped me to quench the thirst for more stories of the period. There are several popular authors of the Arthurian genre such as Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Helen Hollick’s Kingmaking series, and we also have the Guenevere novels by Rosalind Miles that I have wanted to read for awhile. Instead the opportunity came to review this reissue of another Guinevere/Guenevere trilogy, starting with Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley.

The story starts with Woolley’s Guinevere as a young woman about to be wedded to Arthur. On the excrutiatingly long journey to meet with her new husband, Guinevere’s thoughts are full of reflection and the author recounts previous experiences in her life which makes the story jump back and forth in the timeline. This was not received well, as all I wanted was for Arthur and Guinevere to get married as promised upon the opening of the novel, and she doesn’t become queen during this novel although the event was alluded to many times.

Irritatingly slow and dry was Guinevere’s early story, and I found it difficult to want to pick up the book many a times. This is definitely something that you have to be ready to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere along with the young Guinevere as she sees and hears it for the first time, but if you are waiting for the dramatics and mystical realms of the Arthurian legends you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I feel that the author does a fine job of weaving Arthurian nuances throughout the many different characters in the story, but I wanted more of Guinevere’s character and not the entire realm as it occurred around her and before her time as Queen. The cast of characters seemed complete though, with Arthur, Merlin, Morgan Le Fey and Mordred as well as several kings, soldiers and family members.

If you are the type of reader that gets put off by jumps in time (like I am) this will be a thorn in your side. To be fair, I have read that the later installments in Woolley’s trilogy were much better received than this first piece, and perhaps those installments as a whole achieve what I was looking for here. And the last half of book one was better than its first, but it was slow going getting there. Alaine at Queen of Happy Endings did thoroughly enjoy Child of the Northern Spring, you can read her review here and get a difference in our two opinions. I think you need to be willing to immerse yourself in the setting of Arthurian legend, just as Guinevere herself tries to unwind the tales and customs, in order to enjoy the story. I have heard great things about the other Guenevere trilogy by Rosalind Miles and I have those waiting for the gift of my time and for when I am brave enough to delve back into Arthurian fantasy. It could be that I have worn out the welcome for Arthurian tales and not all that intrigued by he and his family any longer. Coupled with that and the time jumps within this story, this just wasn’t the right moment for me to be able to thoroughly enjoy this novel.

Visit Heather at The Maiden’s Court to read a guest post from the author Persia Woolley where she discusses her vision of Guinevere, and where there is also a giveaway for the book which ends November 20th.

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Filed under Arthurian, Dark Ages, Fantasy, Guinevere/Guenevere, Persia Woolley

>Giveaway and Guest Post: Dark Moon of Avalon by Anna Elliott

>Author Anna Elliott has just released her second novel in her Isolde and Trystan trilogy, this one called Dark Moon of Avalon. I recently read this book and reviewed it here, and I have found that she breathes magical creativity into an ancient Arthurian-inspired tale. Book one was Twilight of Avalon, and I reviewed that here last year and enjoyed it so much that I named it one of my favorites of 2009. Anna also visited The Burton Review last year with a guest post, which you can read here.

She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. She has fought to preserve Britain’s throne. Now she faces her greatest challenge in turning bitter enemies into allies, saving the life of the man she loves..  and mending her own wounded heart.

It is with honor that I welcome Anna Elliott to The Burton Review with the following guest post. Read further for your chance to win your own copy of Dark Moon of Avalon.

Healing Hearts
Anna Elliott

Dark Moon of Avalon takes place in the shadow of King Arthur’s Britain, during the mid 6th century, when invading Saxon armies were increasingly defeating Britain’s forces and taking over Britain’s lands. My Isolde is the daughter of Modred, great villain of the Arthurian cycle of tales. And she has lost everything, her old life, her family, her home, have all been destroyed by the constant battles and political intrigue.

My Isolde is also a healer, working with Britain’s wounded soldiers. She doesn’t yet know how she herself can find the healing she offers others every day. But she desperately needs to believe that recovery from trauma is possible, and so she throws herself passionately into her mission as a healer.

As you might expect, Isolde’s passion for the healing craft sent me scurrying for the research books. I read medieval herbals and compilations of the folk remedies common to the British isles; I pored over Roman surgical texts. And I was absolutely fascinated to discover just how sophisticated a Dark Age healer like Isolde could have been.

Certainly our modern knowledge of germs and bacteria revolutionized the medical profession, as has anesthesia and modern surgical theaters. But for all that, medical practice in the Dark Ages was not as crude or as brutal as one might imagine. One ancient surgical technique–that Isolde herself uses to conduct an amputation in Dark Moon of Avalon–was a device called a ‘soporific sponge.’ Texts on the soporific sponge survive from as early as the 9th century, and direct the healer to soak a pad or sponge with black nightshade, hyoscyamus (henbane), the juice of hemlock, the juice of leaves of mandragora, and several other mild narcotics. The sponge was then held beneath the patient’s nose during surgery, so that breathing its fumes would keep the patient unconscious.

In Dark Moon of Avalon, Isolde and Trystan are dispatched on a diplomatic mission through unstable and warring lands to persuade rulers of the smaller kingdoms surrounding Britain to join forces to protect the throne. Isolde’s skills as a healer are more than once all that stands between success and failure of their mission. Isolde’s greatest test as a healer, though, comes when she is faced with the fear that she may not be able to save the wounded man who matters to her most of all. And the most rewarding part of writing Dark Moon of Avalon for me was watching her find the courage to face that fear, and through it find the courage to also heal her own wounded heart.

Brought together under dire circumstances, Trystan and Isolde must confront their growing love for each other and face a battle that will test the strength of their will, their hearts, and the lives of all those in Britain.

To celebrate the release of Dark Moon of Avalon, I’m offering a free prequel short story, Dawn of Avalon, available for free download on my website here: http://www.annaelliottbooks.com/dawn.php

He would become the most powerful wizard in the history of Britain—Merlin. She would become Britain’s most storied sorceress—Morgan le Fay. But before they were legends, they were young. And they were lovers. Together, in the sunlight of one day long ago, they saved a kingdom.

Dawn of Avalon.

A stand-alone story from the universe of Anna Elliott’s Twilight of Avalon.

Please visit Anna’s website here.

To enter for your own copy of Dark Moon of Avalon, please comment here telling me what Arthurian-styled stories you have heard, seen or read. Do you have a favorite telling? Please leave me your email address.

USA Only.
Giveaway ends 10/2/2010

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Filed under 2010 Releases, Anna Elliott, Arthurian, Dark Ages, Guinevere/Guenevere, Isolde and Trystan

>Book Review: Dark Moon of Avalon by Anna Elliott

> Happy Release Day to Anna!

Dark Moon of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan and Isolde by Anna Elliott
(Book #2 in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy series, Twilight of Avalon: Book One released May 5, 2009)
Touchstone Simon and Schuster, September 14, 2010
Review copy generously provided by the author, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:Big 4 stars!

She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. She has fought to preserve Britain’s throne. Now she faces her greatest challenge in turning bitter enemies into allies, saving the life of the man she loves . . . and mending her own wounded heart.

The young former High Queen, Isolde, and her friend and protector, Trystan, are reunited in a new and dangerous quest to keep the usurper, Lord Marche, and his Saxon allies from the throne of Britain. Using Isolde’s cunning wit and talent for healing and Trystan’s strength and bravery, they must act as diplomats, persuading the rulers of the smaller kingdoms, from Ireland to Cornwall, that their allegiance to the High King is needed to keep Britain from a despot’s hands.

Their admissions of love hang in the air, but neither wants to put the other at risk by openly declaring a deeper alliance. When their situation is at its most desperate, Trystan and Isolde must finally confront their true feelings toward each other, in time for a battle that will test the strength of their will and their love.

Steeped in the magic and lore of Arthurian legend, Elliott paints a moving portrait of a timeless romance, fraught with danger, yet with the power to inspire heroism and transcend even the darkest age.

In May of 2009, I read Anna Elliott’s debut novel (which was a favorite of the year for me) Twilight of Avalon and I found myself immersed in Arthurian legend that was told with intoxicating ease that drew me into Dark Ages Britain. I was eager to read book two, Dark Moon of Avalon, but once I finally received it I had to put it aside in the priorities list. Which was unfortunate because upon opening Dark Moon I was struggling to see where we were in the time line, as over a year had passed since I read the first book in the trilogy (review is here). Soon enough I was beguiled by the storytelling and I was once again falling in love with Anna Elliott’s story of the two star-crossed lovers. Anna’s writing is deeply and thickly rooted within its story that you have to pace yourself with her writing so that you do not miss anything. This is not the love story you would think it would be at first glance, it is the author’s reimagined history of a very early Britain as it struggles to become the kingdom that its leaders know it can be.

 

Dark Moon of Avalon begins as Isolde is asked by King Madoc to go to the council meeting to visit with the Irish King Goram, with hopes of uniting certain leaders with those that would be beneficial for the salvation of Britain. What follows is a long journey to meet with these leaders which is fraught with peril along the path. Lord Marche is the enemy that Isolde was once married to from Book one who now haunts her dreams with visions of Marche and Trystan locked in a fierce sword fight.  Isolde is lucky to have trustworthy allies at her side as she makes her journey, and she finally meets up with Trystan who agrees to guide her towards a meeting King Cerdic, someone who is of doubtful character, but can help turn the tide of war in a positive turn for Britain if he agrees to her courageous plan.

Not a story that is told to be an action-packed adventure, this is a character-driven heroic tale of good vs. evil, with strong tones of true love and honor. Enchanting, intriguing and powerful writing makes this a story to be savored as we get into Isolde’s head and heart along her journey, making us thoroughly respect and admire Isolde’s strength of character and bravery. We witness Isolde struggling with romantic feelings for her childhood friend as she keeps the distance between them just enough to be laced with tension. The reader is treated to the author’s reimagined Dark Ages setting that evokes the magical Arthurian theme but also offers a whole new twist to the traditional Tristan and Iseult tale. Anna Elliott’s love story of Trystan and Isolde is virtuous and sweet,with the wonderful ending in book two which leaves us on tenterhooks awaiting the final installment in the trilogy.

For those of you who read Book one and remember Dera from the story, Anna has shared with her readers a free short story titled The Witch Queen’s Secret which can be found here. And coming soon is Morgan & Merlin—The Beginning, another short story offered as a free download from the author; and this is a prequel to book one that looks incredibly amazing!

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Filed under 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Anna Elliott, Dark Ages, Isolde and Trystan

>Anna Elliott, author of ‘Twilight of Avalon’ Guest Post

>The Burton Review welcomes Anna Elliott, author of the newly released “Twilight of Avalon”. See my review beneath this post with some helpful links to Arthurian sites. Anna will also be by later to check on comments and questions, so please feel free to correspond through here! And a big thank you to Anna for allowing me to host this on my blog, I truly appreciate it.

Writing Historical Fantasy:
A Magical Balance

– By Anna Elliott

Ever since I wrote Twilight of Avalon, based on the Trystan and Isolde legend in the larger cycle of Arthurian tales, I’ve often been asked for thoughts on the enduring appeal of the King Arthur story. Why should that legend, perhaps more than any other in Western culture, have captured our imaginations for more than a millennium, have engendered countless retellings and reworkings of the old tale?

The answers are legion, of course. But for me, the unique enchantment of the Arthurian legends lies in their blend of fantasy and history.
The world of the legends is a recognizably historical one, part of our own past. Many scholars have explored the possibility of a real, historic Arthur–who, if he existed, was most likely a Celtic warlord of the mid fifth century, a warrior who led a triumphant stand against the incursions of Saxons onto British shores. Trystan, whose existence as a real historic figure is suggested by a memorial stone in Cornwall, was likely a roughly contemporary warrior, possibly the son of a Cornish petty king, whose cycle of tales were eventually absorbed into the legends growing up around Arthur and his war band.
And yet the world of the Arthur tales is one steeped in magic, as well. It’s a world filled with the voices of prophecy, with enchanted swords and Otherworldly maidens and the magical Isle of Avalon, where Arthur lies in eternal sleep, healing of his wounds, waiting to ride once more in Britain’s greatest hour of need.
That combination of historical truth with the wonderful potential for magic was what most of all drew me to the Arthur stories when I first studied them in college. And it was what delighted me about living in my own version of the Arthurian world while writing Twilight of Avalon and the next two books in the trilogy.
The fifth century, when scholars agree a historic Arthur might have lived, was a brutal, chaotic time in Britain. Roman Britain had crumbled; Rome’s legions had been withdrawn from this far-flung outpost of the empire, leaving the country prey to invading Pictish and Irish tribes from the west and north and to Saxon invasions from the east. It was in many ways also a crucible in which the British identity and sense of place was forged. And it is against this backdrop that Arthur appears, a war hero who led–or at least may have led–a victorious campaign against the invaders, driving them back for perhaps the space of a man’s lifetime and so inspiring the roots of a legend that still captures our imaginations today.
I was fascinated by this possibility of a real King Arthur, and fascinated by the world in which he might have lived. So I decided to set my story there, to make my particular Arthurian world grounded in what scraps of historical fact we know of Dark Age Britain. And yet I wanted, too, to honor the original stories and their magical, legendary world–a world that after centuries of telling and re-telling, is as real in its own way as historical fact.
It was a bit of a balancing act, I discovered. My Isolde is the granddaughter of Morgan (sometimes known as Morgan le Fey in the original Arthur stories; a healer and enchantress of great renown). Isolde is gifted through Morgan with both the knowledge of a healer and with the Sight, which enables her to receive visions and hear voices from the Otherworld. All of which fitted in with what I’d read of both the legends and historical accounts of Celtic spirituality, pre-Christian Celtic belief, with its emphasis on the powers of herbs, on trances and dreams that transcend physical boundaries and touch an Otherworld that is separated from our own by only the thinnest of veils.
And yet, too, there were those elements of the original Trystan and Isolde tale that were harder to fit in with any degree of historical verisimilitude. Like the famous love potion, which in the original legend causes Trystan and Isolde to fall helplessly in love. So in those cases I took a more symbolic approach, which I’ve always felt is a way–though certainly not the only way–of reading the fantastical elements of the Arthurian tales. Dragons, for example, can be literal scaly monsters. But they can also be seen as a metaphor for the evil that exists outside the bounds of organised society. And a love potion like the one Trystan and Isolde accidentally imbibe can be viewed as a metaphor for the overwhelming, all-consuming nature of passionate romantic love.
So in the second book of the trilogy, Dark Moon of Avalon, Trystan and Isolde do journey together by boat, as in the original tale, and it is over the course of the journey that they deepen and develop their relationship, which again is true to the original legend. But the purpose of their journey is based on what scraps of historical fact we can gather about the shaky political situation of sixth-century Britain. And they don’t need a literal draft of a magical potion to fall in love–only the magic of their own powerful emotional bond.
I did take a fair number of liberties with the legend–liberties that are, I hope, justified. After all, after so many centuries of re-tellings, adding yet another version of the story seemed silly unless I could add something new to the age-old tale. From first to last of the trilogy, Trystan and Isolde’s story has been an absolute joy to work on. And my hope, now that the first book is out and I’m close to the completion of book three, is that readers of the books will experience at least a small echo of the unique blend of fantasy and historic truth that first drew me to the original tales.
*** Wasn’t that just awesome?! Comments and questions, for Anna?
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Filed under Anna Elliott, Author Post, Dark Ages, Guinevere/Guenevere, Isolde and Trystan

>Book Review: "Twilight of Avalon" by Anna Elliott & Arthurian Links to Ponder

> Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde Book 1 in a Trilogy by Anna Elliott
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Touchstone (May 5, 2009)
Historical Fiction, Fantasy
ISBN-10: 1416589899
The Burton Review Rating: 4.75 EASILY MY NEW FAVORITE

The Blurb:
“Seven years ago, on the battlefield of Camlann, the great King Arthur was slain by Modred, his traitor son. And in the aftermath of battle, Isolde, daughter of Modred, was married to Arthur’s heir, Britain’s new high king, in a desperate bid to unite Britain’s warring factions. But now Isolde’s husband lies dead on another battlefield, and the Saxon tide that Arthur turned back is once more threatening Britain’s shores. Only Isolde knows the truth: that her husband was killed, not by the Saxon enemy, but by a powerful nobleman who will stop at nothing to become the next high king. Mistrusted among the king’s council for her father’s treachery, and branded a witch by many for her skill at the healer’s craft, Isolde’s only hope for survival is Trystan, a mercenary warrior with a shadowed past. Together Isolde and Trystan must fight to protect the throne from the king’s murderer, and expose a treasonous plot that could destroy Britain itself.”

From my Teaser Tuesday post:
“I know. I saw him killed. I watched him die.”
Isolde was distantly aware of Hedda’s sharp gasp, but the remnants of the vision were gathering and forming before her once more, and the sound seemed to come from a long way off.

You really need to go Read an Excerpt on Anna Elliott’s website.

I totally ate this book up. I love the myth and the legend behind it, and the unique twist that Anna puts on it. You’ve heard of the legend of King Arthur. Picture grey skies, howling winds and cold seas; the cover is perfect for this tale. Quite a legendary story it is with Arthur and his son Modred, who are both killed at Camlaan fighting each other. Though Lancelot is not present in the legend that the author pulls from, Anna Elliott’s story begins with Modred’s daughter Isolde as she learns that her husband of seven years, the High King Constantine, is killed fighting the Saxons. 6th century Britain as they know it is shifting, with its many kings with their own lands all vying for power. Isolde cannot trust anyone as she tries to make sense of what flashes she sees in her mind, and what is truth.

Elliott meanders slowly through Isolde’s path of Dark Age Britain so that we are treated to descriptive characterizations and settings which are well illustrated as she struggles with her thoughts of the past and the present. Isolde used to have the power for visions (The Sight) but as we meet her, we learn she had been stripped of those powers somewhere about the time that she had married Constantine. Yet, somehow, she sees the event of Constantine’s death, and learns that his death is not due to battle wounds but someone, although his face covered, supposedly on her side has murdered him. This knowledge she wisely keeps to herself as she treads lightly among the council members. She and the murderer know the truth, as she is quite alone in the world struggling for survival amongst power hungry warlords who believe Isolde to be a sorceress or a witch and would love to see her burnt at the stake.

Isolde is lucky to have crossed paths with Trystan, and she embarks on an adventure to save both her life and the Britain that her late husband had struggled to maintain. There is death, magic and survival all intertwined beautifully in the story that is legend for a reason. Anna Elliott uses the myth and lore to recreate the consequences of the Battle of Camlann in an enchanting tale that captures the reader from the start as we follow Isolde on her bitter journey.

I found each page to be a thrill and I completely relished the story itself. I loved the easy writing style of Anna Elliott, the picturesque narrative was complete and fulfilling. The author had to explain to the reader certain events of the past in order to make the present story work, requiring a lot of flashbacks with Isolde’s grandmother Morgan appearing in quick visions or as a voice. Sometimes it fit well, other times it was a tad out of place as if it were forced in to help prove a point. But most of the time the cohesiveness gelled with the flow of the story so this is a minor issue. Using the strong-willed Isolde as a central character in this story the reader immediately bonds to her and empathizes with her as she endures issues that a modern day woman can relate to. I am not going to go further into the events of the story because I know you are going to want to read this book on your own and follow Isolde’s journey yourself. If you are familiar with the love story of Tristan and Iseult, this is not the same story. Perhaps the characters are the same but there is not a strong resemblance, at least in this first book. There is no romance here, and nothing alludes to it either. This is merely the story of how Isolde tries to honor her promise to her dead husband in saving Britain from the traitorous Lord Marche.

The only warning about Anna Elliott’s book I would give is that her Trystan has a mouth on him and likes to invoke the Lord’s name in vain. I believe the author is trying to prove a small point here in which the world of Isolde had once been one tolerant of witches yet is now the new Britain who recently became Christian.
Do you remember the days in high school when you would adorn your bedroom walls with posters and pictures you loved? A blow up of this book cover would be one of them, complete with its title and wording, so that the feeling of the magical story can be remembered each day. Anna Elliott’s interpretation of the aftermath of Arthur’s Britain is a wonderful addition to the myriad of Arthurian books, as I am anxiously awaiting Book 2, Dark Moon of Avalon due out in May 2010. The prologue to Dark Moon is up on Anna Elliott’s website; the working title of Book Three is Sunrise of Avalon. I can’t wait to see those covers as well! The Bridgeman Art Library has had the best book covers I’ve seen this year. Thank you so much to Anna Elliott for weaving this fine tale, now hurry up and get the rest of series published!!

If you watched Tristan & Isolde, the movie with the gorgeous James Franco, there is also no resemblance from this particular book to the movie, and I also loved the movie. I have not read Rosalind Miles’ trilogy or the classic by Bedier, but I will. Recommended to me was Mists of Avalon, twice over, so I will add that to my shelf also. I have a growing Arthurian Book Collection.
Read some other Reviews:
Reading The Past (with some more background included)
A Reader’s Respite
Jenny Loves To Read
S. Krishna’s Books

In honor of Science Fiction/Fantasy Writer’s Day I am also including here links of interest for those wanting to do some more perusing of the King Arthur story:
A group of links from Anna’s Site
And then sent to me by Anna Elliott herself are these picks (thank you!):
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~merrie/Arthur/ is very well-structured and gives a good basic grounding in the Arthur legends.
http://www.geocities.com/vortigernstudies/bibliograrth.htm is more scholarly and probably for true Arthur/history enthusiasts only–but it has some fascinating articles.
http://www.gorddcymru.org/twilight/camelot/art/index.htm is a library of paintings and illustrations inspired by Arthurian legend.
Others:
Regarding The Tomb and the History http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/gerald.htm

A teacher’s blog with interesting video http://anaeoilangreo.blogspot.com/2009/05/king-arthur.html

Pics of Cornwall Trip, Students In Search of Arthur http://efljblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/king-arthur-discovered-though-he-had-no.html
A King Arthur Author Blog http://blog.kingarthur.org.uk/?cat=17

A background on the Lore http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/king-arthur/

BlogTalk Radio Questioning the Evidence http://www.blogtalkradio.com/localelives/2009/01/10/The-Legend-of-King-Arthur
Happy Surfing as we await Anna’s next installment! Also visit the guest post that Anna wrote for Historical-Fiction.com
And in honor of Fantasy Writer’s Day, Anna has graciously agreed to write a little Guest Post for this blog! I am so excited for that and that is posted above this review, which covers her thoughts on writing a historical work on something as elusive yet familiar as King Arthur’s Legend.
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Filed under Anna Elliott, Arthurian, Dark Ages, Isolde and Trystan, New Release, Review