fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJennifer Roberson fantasy review Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New MythsOut of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths by Jennifer Roberson

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths is an anthology for everyone who loves re-takes on the Arthurian legends, and especially those readers who loved The Mists of Avalon and are seeking more of the same sort of retellings, laced with gender politics, religious issues, and romance.

As in all anthologies, some of the stories are to my taste, some aren’t, and there is probably something for everyone. In my opinion, the stunner of the bunch is Rosemary Edghill‘s “Prince of Exiles.” Set among bloodthirsty warlords rather than knights-n-ladies, it is narrated by Ator (Arthur)’s bitter illegitimate son, as he unfolds his intricate plan for revenge against his father. It’s a darkly engrossing story until you get to the last line — at which point it becomes a shocking, chilling, incredible, six-star story.

I also enjoyed Tricia Sullivan’s “The Secret Leaves,” the romantic tale of young Vivien, who loves and seduces the ethereal Merlin, but eventually loses him to his shamanistic dreams.

And Judith Tarr‘s “Finding the Grail” is best described as “sweet” — a story about a young girl named Melisende who quests for the Grail with the help of the pretty-boy knight Beaumains. Beaumains hides a secret — and it’s not the secret you were expecting.

These stories and many others await you. If you liked The Mists of Avalon or any of the wave of women-centric Arthurian novels it inspired, give Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths a chance.

Out of Avalon: An Anthology of Old Magic and New Myths — (2001) Publisher: This new collection features 15 stories of magic, adventure and romance surrounding the legend of King Arthur-by an equally legendary host of bestselling authors, including: Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson, Katharine Kerr, Rosemary Edghill, Tricia Sullivan, Diana Gabaldon and Samuel Watkins, Michelle West, David Farland, Kristen Britain, Judith Tarr, Mike Resnick and Adrienne Gormley, Jennifer Roberson, Laura Resnick, Lorelei Shannon, Eric van Lustbader, Nina Kiriki Hoffman.


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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