a novel engineer (jawastew) wrote in bookish,
a novel engineer

Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan and Isolde by Anna Elliott

The wonderful thing about Arthurian legends is they’re all so different. Some versions want to approach characters, that are by now well familiar to many of us, from a historical perspective, as if they really existed. The creative license to execute such a fiction is left to assembling their dialogue, their mannerisms and behaviors--the idea that Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, and Morgan le Fay need only the imaginative coaxing of an Author’s talent to be released once again into a world they inhabited long ago. Other versions take great advantage of the legend as a fairy tale, something that at one point may have been based in reality, but has now risen above the mundane and into the powerfully magical and fantastical.

I enjoy reading both types of Arthurian legends. Each side has something to offer, something new to share, some other perspective to explore, or some new twist to alter the way we may have thought about the turn of events or the roles we’ve come to expect of the characters. Anna Elliott’s Twilight of Avalon, the first in a new Twilight of Avalon Trilogy, is a book that takes its cue from the historical, and one might say cynical, perspective. Like every other author, Elliott shows us a new way to spell everyone’s names (although Arthur’s is woefully always the same): Mordred is Modred; Guinevere is Gwenyfar; Merlin, like most versions, is a title, the real name being Myrddin. This, though, is a novel about Trystan and Isolde. As we are reminded several times in the narrative, “Camlann was over. Arthur and Modred, Myrddin and Morgan and Gwynefar lingering now only as voices in the wind. One age is ended...And another, perhaps, begun.” (p. 425)

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Tags: genre: fantasy, review, subject: history, xxx author last name: a-h

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