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.