From the mysterious mists of history and legend comes a delightful, unique Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan and Isolde by Anna Elliott. This novel takes the traditional Arthurian legends surrounding the famous lovers and expands on them in a surprisingly deep and enjoyable way that will keep readers hooked and thirsty for more.
Twilight of Avalon is told from the viewpoint of Isolde, the grandchild of the legendary Arthur Pendragon and his half-sister Morgan the sorceress. The story begins with Isolde coming to terms with the untimely death of her husband, King Constantine, and the unexpected collection of suitors now vying for Isolde's hand. Without a husband, father, or brother, Isolde is suddenly alone in a man's world and must learn to navigate the wild world of court intrigue, political betrayal, and religion.
Isolde wishes to marry no one after Constantine's death, despite the fact that she may be forced to marry for purely political reasons. Using her intelligence and kindness (as well as some aid from the Saxon prisoner, Trystan), Isolde must outwit the forces of Marche, the likely killer of her husband, and find a way to survive on her own. Isolde and Trystan match wits with Marche and other men of the kingdom, trying to find a means of revenge while living to see the next day. It isn't long until the religious leaders of the time accuse Isolde of being a witch, and plan to use these accusations to destroy her.
Isolde's story did started out very slow. In fact, it wasn't until page 100 or so that it started to pick up, and things immediately got vicious and interesting... but quickly confusing. The confusion stems from the fact that the plot was very involved and had actions going on constantly. While this keeps the plot from getting dull, it can be easy to get lost unless the reader is paying very close attention to every detail.
This, however, is easily overlooked due to Elliot's precise, knowledgeable writing style that occasionally crosses the line into poetry. Elliot's writing sounds like a well-trained storyteller who actually witnessed the turbulent events of the story first-hand. The tale is gritty, grueling, and dark - a far cry from the overly-romanticized bard songs that most readers are familiar with.
Twilight of Avalon is a compelling tale of a woman trying to survive while forming a bond with an unlikely friend. Even though the story has a long way to go, Twilight of Avalon is the first novel in a trilogy that is sure to bring readers back for more.