The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

This book has been on my keeper shelf for twenty years. It is an imaginative, incomparable re-telling of the Arthurian legend. All of the requisite literary elements for greatness (in my humble opinion) can be found in the pages of this novel.

Setting/Ambience: I want to be transported to the scene of the action. Bradley effortlessly weaves a world that relentlessly hooks you.
“The magic of Avalon never changes … The mist and the reeds and the cry of water birds … and then the barge, like magic, gliding from the silent shore … I know there is nothing for me here, and yet, somehow, I always return. “

Plot Evolution: I want a heavy dose of truth and philosophy. Bradley frames the evolution of the world from pagan to Christian, and matriarchy to patriarchy, with a deft hand.
“The common people’s beliefs about the face of the Gods were symbols which these people at the current state of their evolution, needed to visualize the great truths. Some day all men and women would know the inner truths, but now they needed them not. “

Character Development: I don’t like boring or stationary characters. Bradley’s evocative portrayals of the girl who became the infamous Morgan Le Fay and the boy who became the hero King Arthur, are both masterful and complex. The secondary characters of Lancelot and Guinevere are equally as compelling.

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