Title: Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde
Author: Anna Elliott
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Ancient grudges, old wounds, and the quest for power rule in the newly widowed Queen Isolde’s court. Hardly a generation after the downfall of Camelot, Isolde grieves for her slain husband, King Constantine, a man she secretly knows to have been murdered by the scheming Lord Marche — the man who has just assumed his title as High King. Though her skills as a healer are renowned throughout the kingdom, in the wake of Con’s death, accusations of witchcraft and sorcery threaten her freedom and her ability to bring Marche to justice. Burdened by their suspicion and her own grief, Isolde must conquer the court’s distrust and superstition to protect her throne and the future of Britain.
One of her few allies is Trystan, a prisoner with a lonely and troubled past. Neither Saxon nor Briton, he is unmoved by the political scheming, rumors, and accusations swirling around the fair queen. Together they escape, and as their companionship turns from friendship to love, they must find a way to prove what they know to be true — that Marche’s deceptions threaten not only their lives but the sovereignty of the British kingdom.
In Twilight of Avalon, Anna Elliott returns to the roots of the legend of Trystan and Isolde to shape a very different story — one based in the earliest written versions of the Arthurian tales — a captivating epic brimming with historic authenticity, sweeping romance, and the powerful magic of legend.
When I first heard about Twilight of Avalon, I immediately knew that it was a book I wanted to read. I love everything to do with Arthurian legends; I have read countless books on the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. I was eager to pick up Twilight of Avalon and see how Anna Elliott re-interpreted the story of Tristan and Isolde, the doomed lovers of Arthurian lore.
Elliott approached Twilight of Avalon not as historical fantasy, but as historical fiction. She tried to make everything as real as possible. Yes, there are some elements of magic thrown in here and there, but on the whole, I was pleasantly surprised at how much Elliott re-invented the story in order to make it real.
Twilight of Avalon isn’t the typical love story between Tristan (spelled Trystan in the novel) and Isolde. Instead, it’s a novel of intrigue and battle. There are a lot of vivid description of fighting and war wounds within the novel; Elliott wanted to make the consequences of war apparent. She redrew the story to take place after King Arthur’s death, when the petty kings of Britain were fighting among themselves without a High King to lead them. It’s a period in history that hasn’t been dealt with in literature much and gives Elliott a license to create an entirely new legend.
Twilight of Avalon is the first book in a trilogy, and I simply cannot wait for the sequel. The characters were so vividly drawn, the story so engrossing, and the historical details so striking that I couldn’t put it down. If you are at all interested in this period in history, or in Arthur legends, I highly recommend this novel.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review.