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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Prisoner in the Oak - Mists of Avalon Book 4 - Marion Zimmer Bradley

Morgaine grows older and finds herself without allies among her kin and even among those in Avalon. While Morgaine, now Lady of the Lake, believes that Arthur should return the Holy Regalia of Avalon to its rightful place because he has turned his back on Avalon, Kevin the Harper, and current Merlin, disagrees. He believes that the world is changing and that the holy items should remain in the real world, instead of disappearing into the Mists along with Avalon.

Morgaine plots as Viviane once did ways to bend the world to her will. If she could not only displace Arthur but replace him with a man of her choosing, she could prevent Avalon from disappearing into the mists by bringing the old ways back. Plan after plan is ruined, until unexpectedly Arthur's companions scatter in quest of finding the Holy Grail that disappeared.

What will become of the High King Arthur and his Kingdom? And what of Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar's forbidden love? And will Morgaine ever gain control of the sacred isle?

Those who know the tale of King Arthur and Camelot know what to expect, but because the tale is told from the point of view of the many women in the saga there is a different flavor to the events. Each time I read this I come away with a different understanding of not only the events but of the characters due to my own life experiences. Morgaine's determination to bring right to the world even as the world fights. Kevin's desire to keep the true faith among the people, even if it is tainted by misunderstanding. Gwenhwyfar's intense love constantly warring with her desire to be honorable. And Morgause's desire to bring about the best future for her sons.

Purists will object to Bradley's interpretation, but those who want to see things from a different perspective will find this an insightful and enjoyable read.

Books in the Series:
Mistress of Magic - Book 1
The High Queen - Book 2
The King Stag - Book 3

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