Long-awaited final volume in the Avalon series by bestselling fantasy author, Marion Zimmer Bradley.
As the Merlin of Britannia keeps his vigil atop the Tor of Avalon, Rian, the High Priestess of Avalon, dies giving birth to her fifth child. The girl, named Eilan with her mother’s dying breath, takes life. From the stars the Merlin draws forth her prophecy: ‘The child that was born at the Turning of Autumn, just as the night gave way to dawn, shall stand at the turning of the Age, the gateway between two worlds.’ A prophecy of greatness, but it seems that she is destined to walk a path unlike any trod by a Priestess of Avalon before…
Published posthumously, this spellbinding historical romance is the concluding volume in the Avalon series from Marion Zimmer Bradley, the author of the worldwide bestseller, The Mists of Avalon, who died in 1999.
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The last in the sequence of Avalon fantasies, Priestess of Avalon was completed after Bradley's death by Diana L. Paxson, her long-standing friend and collaborator. It's told from the viewpoint of Eilan, later known as Helena, born in 249AD to a priestess of Avalon, who dies in childbirth. She is sent to her Roman father, but returns to Avalon at age 10 to be initiated into the mysteries of the Goddess. When she falls in love with Constantius, a Roman, she leaves the sacred isle to become his consort, and bears a son who becomes Constantine the Great. Helena is a historical figure, but little is known of her life, and so the authors had considerable freedom in constructing this autobiography, linking her with the ancient wisdom of Avalon. During her long life, she travels the Roman Empire from Eburacum (York) to Rome, Greece and even Palestine. Her menfolk keep her away from the incessant wars, but her womanly life of hearth and home involves many important incidents, and as Christianity spreads across the Empire she struggles with the meaning of her own power as a servant of the Goddess. There are occasionally too many Roman names and too many political manoeuvrings to keep track of easily, but overall this is a strong and absorbing evocation of a world in flux, and the life of a strong woman within it. -- Elizabeth SourbutReview:
Praise for The Mists of Avalon:
“A most original interpretation of the matter of Britian by way of Celtic religion and the Great Mother… a remarkable feat of imagination”
“A pillar of the fantasy field, Bradley here combines romance, rich historical detail, magical dazzlements, grand adventure and feminist sentiments into the kind of novel her fans have been yearning for”
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