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The Prince and the Pilgrim by Mary Stewart
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The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995)

by Mary Stewart

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If you are expecting to re-enter the world of Merlin and Arthur that Mary Stewart gave us in the Merlin Trilogy, you will be disappointed in The Prince and the Pilgrim. It is a sweet little tale. Sort of like reading a myth or a fairytale for me. I enjoyed it, but I saw it as an after-thought. Mary Stewart said she had wanted to include it as part of the Merlin stories but there was no logical place to put it, so it got a book of its own. She was 80 years old when she wrote it, and by that time she had certainly passed her prime of writing and I think she was writing because it was what she had always done.

The tale is told skillfully and is easy to read, but in the end, had it been the only thing she had written, no one would be reading her today. I am not belittling this book. It was charming and I enjoyed reading it, but the only thing one might carry away from it of importance is that young men should be wary of older women who offer them enticing drinks.

Reading The Prince and the Pilgrim is like sailing through calm, blue waters. It is soothing and pleasurable, but there is little excitement or thrill. Still, Mary Stewart always manages to make you care for her characters, and Alexander and Alice are no exception. I wanted them to meet, to love, and to live happily ever after. Like I said, it has the ring of a fairytale...but don't we all love Cinderella? ( )
1 vote phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
A nice romantic Arthurian story. Alexander meets and is ensnared by one of King Arthur's sisters. (Mary Stewart has Arthur having two sisters - Morgause and Morgan) Arthur isn't really involved in this story.

I like how Alice comes to realize the truth behind the relics. ( )
  nx74defiant | Feb 19, 2017 |
I wanted to finish Stewart's Arthurian books, so I broke down and bought the hardback. I'm glad that I did, because I will probably re-read this in the future. It was my "take to appointments" book for several months. That book has to hold my interest over time and be memorable enough that I can set it down and easily resume it a few weeks later.

This is one of the background stories in the Arthurian legends and Mary Stewart has fleshed it out with richly drawn characters. I liked the main characters very much. Alexander grows through his mistakes and Alice proves herself to be quite resourceful. Morgan le Fay plays a major role in the book, Arthur's presence is in the background, and many well-known characters are mentioned while a few appear.

I'd recommend this gentle romance to anyone who enjoys the "less gritty" look at the Arthurian mythos. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Jul 21, 2016 |
Two separate plots: a prince in exile, a girl on a pilgramage. Naturally they meet, and most overcome problems together. Realistic and very well-written. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Mary Stewart is fairly well known for her retelling of the myths of King Arthur. I picked up this book up quite some time ago. It is the retelling of two less known characters in the king Arthur myth - Alisander the Orphan and Alice the pilgrim. In Thomas Mallory's book, these two characters occupy a few pages of one of the books in his novel. Thus, Stewart did not have too much to work with in her expansion and retelling of the story. It's quite easy to see this in the book.

Most of the book is told as two separate narratives. The first narrative tells the story of Alexander, the son of the brother of the king of Cornwall. His father is killed in the opening chapter and his mother decides that when he comes of age, he should have to avenge his father's death. On his quest to do this, he gets sidetracked by Morgan le Fay and is sent on a quest for the holy grail. On the way, he is told that his mother is a hamsert and his father smells of elderberries. Okay, maybe not but it would have made the book more interesting.

The second narrative is that of Alice, daughter of a devout Duke. Her narrative centers around the rather confusing warring between the different Frankish factions. She doesn't seem to really do much in this story, except aiding in the escape of one of the sons of King Clovis and Clotilda. He escapes with a cup he claims is the holy grail. Thus, in the very last chapter, our two lovebirds finally meet and the story is resolved in a fairly satisfactory manner. However, I think it took far too long to get to the meeting of the two young people. This is supposed to be a love story, but the lovers are starcrossed for 90% of the novel. It would have been better as a novella - or maybe, it should have just been left as a sidenote. ( )
  elleceetee | Apr 1, 2013 |
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In this, the fiftieth year our marriage,
this book is dedicated to my husband,
Fred,
with all my love.
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In the sixth year of the reign of Arthur the High King of all Britain, a young man stood on the cliffs of Cornwall, looking out to sea.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449224430, Mass Market Paperback)

The bestselling author of the acclaimed Merlin Trilogy returns to the magical world of King Arthur and Camelot--to tell a story of daring adventure, unexpected love, and unsurpassed enchantment. . . .



ALEXANDER THE FATHERLESS

Eager, burning, and young, Alexander has come of age to take vengeance on the treacherous King of Cornwall who murdered his father. He sets off toward Camelot to seek justice from King Arthur, only to be diverted by the beautiful and sensual Morgan le Fay, Arthur's sister. Using her wiles and her enchantments, Morgan persuades the young prince to attempt a theft of the Holy Grail. He is unaware her motives are of the darkest nature. . . .



ALICE THE PRETTY PILGRIM

Motherless daughter of a royal duke, Alice has lived a life of lively adventure, accompanying her father on his yearly pilgrimages. Now, on her father's final visit to Jerusalem, she comes under the protection of a young prince whose brothers were murdered, a prince who is in possession of an enchanted silver cup believed to be the mysterious Holy Grail itself.



Thus the stage is set for two young seekers to meet--and to find not what they are searching for but, instead, the greatest treasure of all . . . love.



"A wonderful love story set in the magical times of King Arthur and Camelot."

--Oklahoman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young prince journeys to Camelot to seek justice from King Arthur, but is diverted by Morgan le Fay who tricked him into trying to steal the Holy Grail.

» see all 2 descriptions

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