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Ravens of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson
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Ravens of Avalon (2007)

by Diana L. Paxson

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The Roman conquest of Britain was a tumultuous time when fear and death reigned. Diana Paxson has chosen this era in which to set the latest prequel to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon. The story is split between two women, Lhiannon, a senior priestess, and Boudica, who would become the warrior queen who nearly threw the Romans back into the sea. The story told here is the story of the Britons fight to control their own destiny.

I am of two minds on this story, and I admit that parts I took issue with are not going to be issues for most readers. However, I've spent a lot of time studying the religious beliefs of the various Celtic tribes and I feel that Paxson twisted them completely into something that they were not. Throughout the book there are many references to the Goddess, to the four elements, etc. What little evidence that remains clearly shows these to not be at all congruous with the spiritual beliefs of the Celtic tribes. I found myself rolling my eyes through much of the spiritual content.

However, Boudica's story, the story of the warriors, and the struggle with the warriors was very well told. It was this that kept me reading the book. I have long been interested in Boudica's place in history and it was a breath of fresh air to see her story told. She seems to have been mostly forgotten, which is a shame, because she should be an example for all strong women.

I found this book to be the weakest of all the Mists prequels and while, once I got past the neo-pagan beliefs superimposed upon the actual beliefs of the Celtic tribes, I enjoyed it, it is unlikely that I will pick up any more books that may be written. Each book since The Forest House has gotten successively weaker and less worthy bearing Marion Zimmer Bradley's name.
( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ravens of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson is about the Roman conquest of Britannia and their oppression of the Druids and the Celtic/British people in general. The story follows the lives of the Druid priestess Lhiannon and the Iceni princess Boudica and how they worked to fight back against the Romans. If you are familiar with the history behind this story, then you probably already know how it ends, but even so I think the story is worth reading because it's more about the journey than the destination. This book is slow paced like others in the series but I can enjoy a slow pace if the writing is good which it is for the most part. There were some parts in the middle that I found myself wondering what the point of the chapter was as it didn't seem to add anything to the story, but things did pick up again and got more exciting. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Avalon series or fans of Celtic/British history.

This book takes place after The Sword of Avalon, but it's not necessary to read that book(or any of the books that take place before it) prior to reading Ravens of Avalon. Ravens of Avalon does take place before The Forest House though, and I would recommend reading it before reading The Forest House as it provides a lot background story to what is going on in The Forest House. ( )
  Kythe42 | Jan 22, 2014 |
After reading this book, I did a little research about the historical Boudica. For the most part, I would say that Paxson holds well to the historical record of Boudica while incorporating the mythology of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series. From the outset, I expected the battle that Boudica is famous for to occur within the first half of the book, but the whole thing actually leads up to it as the final climax.

The book progresses in typical Bradley fashion, following the lives of Boudica and Lhiannon as they intersect and divide, like two parallel lines on a page. The sub-plots build and taper off, dealing with the typical issues of romance, religion, and cultural differences. Lhiannon stays in her role as priestess, seemingly never allowed to realize her full potential, despite prophecy and ambition. Boudica leaves Mona to be wed to the powerful King Prasutagos in the midst of a Roman takeover. Despite the power that these two women are certain resides in Brittania, their people lack the organization and man-power of the Roman Empire. Defeat after defeat only gives them more reason to seek out peace.

Lhiannon's role seems to be that of victim, as she loses first in religious ambition, then in romantic ambition, and finally losing her best friend. Even so, I can't help feeling sorry for her and hoping that something will work out in her favor. The one thing that seems to go her way is when she adopts a girl, Caillean, whom the reader never actually gets to meet.

Boudica's role morphs as the plot progresses from wife, to mother, and finally to Queen. For me, the most moving sub-plot was Boudica's miscarriage - I cried. This also involved the only "loose end" that really bugged me - the Morrigan addressing her lost son without really giving her an answer. Despite that, what drove her to become the great Queen that she is most known for is her love for her children and her anger at their treatment by the Romans. The way that she responded to these kinds of injustices are what humanized her and made her choices relateable. In the end, it was obvious that though she knew she had no room for regret in her choices, she likely wondered if there was truly any way that the peoples of Britannia could have defeated the Romans.

Though this book did take a long time for me to read, I still felt that it stayed true to the writing style of the late Bradley and was an appreciated addition to the Avalon series.




( )
  JacobsBeloved | Nov 25, 2013 |
Aaaaagh, too much suffering! ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
After reading this book, I did a little research about the historical Boudica. For the most part, I would say that Paxson holds well to the historical record of Boudica while incorporating the mythology of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series. From the outset, I expected the battle that Boudica is famous for to occur within the first half of the book, but the whole thing actually leads up to it as the final climax.
The book progresses in typical Bradley fashion, following the lives of Boudica and Lhiannon as they intersect and divide, like two parallel lines on a page. The sub-plots build and taper off, dealing with the typical issues of romance, religion, and cultural differences. Lhiannon stays in her role as priestess, seemingly never allowed to realize her full potential, despite prophecy and ambition. Boudica leaves Mona to be wed to the powerful King Prasutagos in the midst of a Roman takeover. Despite the power that these two women are certain resides in Brittania, their people lack the organization and man-power of the Roman Empire. Defeat after defeat only gives them more reason to seek out peace.
Lhiannon's role seems to be that of victim, as she loses first in religious ambition, then in romantic ambition, and finally losing her best friend. Even so, I can't help feeling sorry for her and hoping that something will work out in her favor. The one thing that seems to go her way is when she adopts a girl, Caillean, whom the reader never actually gets to meet.
Boudica's role morphs as the plot progresses from wife, to mother, and finally to Queen. For me, the most moving sub-plot was Boudica's miscarriage - I cried. This also involved the only "loose end" that really bugged me - the Morrigan addressing her lost son without really giving her an answer. Despite that, what drove her to become the great Queen that she is most known for is her love for her children and her anger at their treatment by the Romans. The way that she responded to these kinds of injustices are what humanized her and made her choices relateable. In the end, it was obvious that though she knew she had no room for regret in her choices, she likely wondered if there was truly any way that the peoples of Britannia could have defeated the Romans.
Though this book did take a long time for me to read, I still felt that it stayed true to the writing style of the late Bradley and was an appreciated addition to the Avalon series. ( )
  JacobsBeloved | Jul 10, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana L. Paxsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bartolini, M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradley, Marion ZimmerAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schneider, ReginaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670038709, Hardcover)

Discover the dawn of the mythical legend of Avalon in the long-awaited prequel to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Forest House

Diana L. Paxson expands Marion Zimmer Bradley’s beloved and bestselling Avalon series in a dramatic new installment. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ravens of Avalon is the prequel to The Forest House and tells the story of the Roman conquest of Britain and the origin of the Forest House that preceded the return to Avalon.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ravens of Avalon follows the journey of Boudica, a Celtic princess, and Lhiannon, a priestess who is Boudica’s mentor on the Druid isle. When the Romans conquer Britain, Lhiannon fights them while Boudica is married to a king who has surrendered. Theirs is a great love story, but when he dies, the Romans brutalize her and her daughters. In rage, Boudica raises the British tribes and nearly succeeds in driving the Romans from Britain, claiming a place in history. Lhiannon survives and becomes the guardian of the Druid traditions in the new Roman Britannia as high priestess of the Forest House.

Epic in its sweep and peopled by the remarkable women who have always inhabited Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ravens of Avalon expands the legendary saga that has enchanted millions of readers over the years and is sure to please Bradley’s loyal readership and anyone who loves wonderfully told stories of history, myth, and fantasy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"With Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ravens of Avalon, longtime collaborator Diana L. Paxson expands Marion Zimmer Bradley's beloved and bestselling Avalon series in a new installment." "The death of a king and the encroachment of Rome herald times of great change for the tribes of Britannia. Woven into this saga of conquest and betrayal are the stories of two very different women, both of whom will come to play a significant role in the future of Avalon. Boudica, a strong-willed and defiant Celtic princess, is sent to the isle of Mona as a young woman to learn the ways of the Druids. It is there that she first meets Lhiannon, the serene and powerful priestess who becomes her mentor and dearest friend." "When Rome invades, Lhiannon joins the Druids, devoting her powers to the fight, while Boudica marries Prasutagos, a king who has accepted the empire's rule to keep his people safe. But when he dies, the Romans brutalize Boudica and her daughters. In rage, Queen Boudica raises the British tribes and nearly succeeds in driving the Romans from Britain, claiming a place in history. Lhiannon, a warrior in her own way, survives years of conflict, with Rome and within herself, to become the guardian of the Druid traditions in the new Roman Britain as high priestess of the Forest House."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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