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Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
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Taliesin (1987)

by Stephen R. Lawhead

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Pendragon Cycle (1)

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Stephen Lawhead has written two genre-spanning series which are fantastical retellings of historical legends: THE PENDRAGON CYCLE (King Arthur) and THE KING RAVEN TRILOGY (Robin Hood). I didn't like THE PENDRAGON CYCLE as well as I liked THE SONG OF ALBION, which was a later and better work. The story was too slow for me and the writing was not nearly as polished.

However, there are a lot of fans of this rendering of Arthur, I think because Lawhead does a lot of research, which makes his worlds believable. He is particularly good with Celtic lore. There is much to learn and enjoy here, but I was a bit impatient with the slow pace.

My library, which has a very small selection of downloadable audiobooks, actually carrie... Read More:
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/fantasy-author/lawheadstephen/ ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This is the second Lawhead trilogy, which I won't be reading the rest in the series. Lawhead has a reputation for integrating Christian theology into classic hero mythos. This series tackles the Arthurian legend, and he starts all the way back with the birth and coming-of-age of Merlin. He's critiqued by many for being preachy and of all things talking about God in Arthurian mythos, which to me is laughable considering the classic knight's pledge. There are some novel concepts like the way he introduced Merlin and even the theological weavings. My problem is the rest of the book before and after such weavings is so tedious and tiring that by the time I got to something intriguing I was praying to be put out of my misery. Tedious conversations and inconsequential matters go on too long and the good bits are glanced over. Imagine Jane Austen redoing the Arthurain mythos with a dash of Christian theology thrown in. I know that sounds like a slight to Jane, I apologize Jane, but it's the one that best comes to mind. Hopefully, his take on Robin Hood will go better. ( )
1 vote revslick | Feb 8, 2014 |
"Taliesin" is the first of five books in "The Pendragon Cycle".

Stephen Lawhead weaves together the two independent legends of the lost kingdom of Atlantis and that of King Arthur with sparkling originality and breath-taking colour. Although the premise of these two legends being concurrent is historically impossible, one has to grant Lawhead this freedom because he clearly intends his book to be read as fantasy, not as historical fiction. "Taliesin" is the first book in the series, and consists of two separate story-lines. The first one introduces us to Charis, princess of Atlantis and one of its few survivors. The other storyline introducies us to Taliesin, prince of one of the British tribes. Towards the end of the book, the twin plots merge with the romance and marriage of Charis and Taliesin, leading to the birth of the remarkable Merlin, thus setting the stage for the rest of the series about the legendary King Arthur.

A great revisiting of the familiar legend of King Arthur. ( )
  Jawin | Dec 27, 2013 |
This series has long set my standard for athurian novels. ( )
  alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
Charis is a young Atlantean Princess enjoying the life of luxury and technology that goes with the territory. She doesn't understand that the time of peace for her people is drawing to a close and they are on the brink of war. Her mother is killed when her family is ambushed, and unable to deal with the grief that she feels from her father she leaves to join the religious bull dancers. After being injured she returns to her fathers house to find things greatly changed, he was greatly wounded in the war that unfolded and is nursed by his strange new wife. Charis tries to warn her people of the impending doom that was prophesied before her mothers death but people do not listen to her. She manages to secure ships so that those who live in the palace are able to escape.

Meanwhile Elphin, the son of the Chief of Gwynedd, is the brunt of jokes of his people because they believe he has bad luck. That is until when searching the weir he finds a beautiful baby boy, who changes his luck, through Taliesin he finds his wife, and gains the respect of the people. Taliesin is trained to be a bard and druid for his people and is the greatest of these. The Cymry are attacked by barbarians and are forced to flee. They come to the land where the remnant of the Atlanteans have settled. The two peoples form an agreement where they can exist and also keep their respect. However Charis and Taliesin wish to marry which is frowned upon by Avallach. Charis father. So they are secretly married and live together many miles away. They have a son and he is named Merlin. They then set off to be reconciled with Avallach but will they make it back?

This is the first in Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, about King Arthur, the following books are Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon and Grail. I love how this has been set closer to the time period where the actual person that Arthur was based on probably existed. I also love how the story starts with Merlin's parents, giving a context for how Merlin was brought up and his roots, and I love the idea that the Atlanteans settled in Britain. I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves myths legends and folklore, as well as unusual retellings of them. It is also recommended to people who love Arthur in all it's retellings and the history of the British Isles.
  CRAZYELIZABETH | Jul 2, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen R. Lawheadprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Posen, MikeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Brad and Nancy
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I will weep no more for the lost, asleep in their water graves.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Celtic indicia taken from The Celtic Design Book by Rebecca McKilip w permission
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038070613X, Mass Market Paperback)

It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is the story of an incomparable love that joined two worlds amid the fires of chaos, and spawned the miracles of Merlin...and Arthur the king.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A retelling of an Arthurian legend about the bard Taliesin and his love for Charis, the princess of Atlantis. The sequels are Merlin (1988, 1990), Arthur (1989, 1990), and Pendragon (1994). It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis. Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is the story of an incomparable love that joined two worlds amid the fires of chaos, and spawned the miracles of Merlin...and Arthur the king.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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