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Taliesin: The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1 | [Stephen R. Lawhead]

Taliesin: The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1

It was a time of legend, the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While, across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for 2,000 years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis. This is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the courageous princess from Atlantis who escapes the terrible devastation of her land, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is a story of an incomparable love that joins two astonishing worlds....
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Publisher's Summary

It was a time of legend, the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While, across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for 2,000 years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

This is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the courageous princess from Atlantis who escapes the terrible devastation of her land, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is a story of an incomparable love that joins two astonishing worlds amid the fires of chaos, and spawns the miracles of Merlin, and Arthur the king!

This is the first book of The Pendragon Cycle.

©1987 Stephen R. Lawhead; (P)1995 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Highly recommended... Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis." (Library Journal)

"A fine storyteller, he brings the Arthurian characters to life without sacrificing any of the haunting pleasures of the legends." (Omaha World Herald)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (394 )
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3.9 (170 )
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3.9 (169 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-27-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    298
    4
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    "A Good Story, but Hard on the Ears"

    As other reviewers found, I thought the narrator was an unpleasant listen. However, I've wanted to 'read' the Pendragon books. I'm glad I did, because the story is good! The characters are well developed, and realistic. It always takes me a while to properly place the characters in their settings when two branches of the story are developed in parallel (a common way of writing novels), but it worked well in this story.
    In short, I recommend this story. Once you get past the relatively flat narration, the characters take over, and talk to you directly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Littleton, CO, USA 08-31-03
    Christine Littleton, CO, USA 08-31-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    3
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    "the book I couldn't finish"

    ++-- love historical novels but I was unable to finish this one due to its slow pace. I also feel the the narator read too slowly thus adding to the long drawn out tediouness of this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackie Pasco, WA, USA 05-07-03
    Jackie Pasco, WA, USA 05-07-03 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    20
    3
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    "Listen to the sample first"

    The book sounds interesting from the description, but I couldn't listen to it because the narrator's voice grated on my ears so badly. Imagine an elderly English woman with a high-pitched, nasal voice and affected upper-class accent who sounds like her corset's too tight and you get the picture.

    9 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 08-21-07
    Andrew 08-21-07 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    456
    28
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    "odd but okay"

    I found this first book in the series odd.
    the reader is british and this is always a problem for me as it puts me to sleep.

    the story is long and drawn out but i suppose thats b/c there are more books to come.

    the strangest thing though is that the main character is built up to be a Paul (from the Bible) like character and is the subject of many pages. Then BAMB the write drops him with one random arrow in the back. This part was quiet stupid IMHO.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma 05-04-07
    Emma 05-04-07 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    101
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    "The worst series ever"

    This book is (and all the other books in the series are) absolutely awful. They are plodding and boring. There is no intricacy or cleverness of plot. Everything happens sequentially and more or less predictably. The prose is repetitive and unimaginative. On average Lawhead uses the word "thrust" 762 times per battle (and there are many battles).

    The books glorify the Christian faith to an extent that you feel that you are reading propaganda. Oddly enough the religious descriptions lack detail and depth.

    The character of Morgian (sp?) is constantly built up to be evil, but the source, nature and extent of her power is never explained to the reader. Consequently her actions in the books seem more or less random. Moreover she is always beaten very easily, which fact severely undermines her ability to lend any tension at all to the plot. (Tension? What's that?) When she and Merlin finally have their big confrontation it happens offstage. We find out that Merlin is ok, before he relates the story--which, again, sort of eliminates any TENSION the episode might have promised. When he does offer a description of the confrontation, it once again lacks detail, depth, imagination and coherence.

    The books are full of anachronisms and do not display an understanding of, or even interest in, the period in which they are set.

    The reading of the first book is tolerable, but the others are irritating. The overall tone used for the narrator is hauty. The reader consistantly makes odd choices about which word in each sentence he should emphasize. It gives one the sense that the reader is profoundly bored by his task--for which I don't blame him.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline CrestaSouth Africa 09-01-06
    Caroline CrestaSouth Africa 09-01-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    55
    10
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    "Legend comes to life"

    I found that this was an interesting read and enjoyed the reader's telling of the tale. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys tales around Atlantis and beyond. Taliesin is a very good start to a version of the legend surrounding Arthur and Merlin.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Oak Park, IL, USA 02-15-05
    Timothy Oak Park, IL, USA 02-15-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "Great story - HORRID Naration"

    I can only honestly recommend this title if you intend to listen to all the books in this great series, and are willing to endure the awful voice acting in this book as an investment towards a better understanding of the following volumes in Lawhead's Arthur Cycle.

    While a sweeping and sensitive story of epic proportion, with well-crafted characters, the poor voice acting almost totally overwhelms Lawhead's material. Not only did I expect the Angela-Lansbury-sound-alike actor to break into a rendition of "Be Our Guest!" at any moment, but the voice acting was just plain poorly executed {Typical examples are the actor reading very LOUDLY a line such as "What are they doing!" .... to be followed by the narrative "..she said, softly."]

    I FORCED myself to finish this title only because it is followed by much better acting in the next book of the series. Had the same voice actor being used for the next book, I would have given up after 10 minutes.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc Drummondville, QC, Canada 01-17-04
    Marc Drummondville, QC, Canada 01-17-04
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    "What an incredible story"

    A wonderfull adventur

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chu New York, NY, USA 11-26-08
    Chu New York, NY, USA 11-26-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    396
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    "Boring"

    This is one of the few books I struggle to finish.

    The narrator is wrong for the story - her voice is too old and the accents strange (a cross between Scottish and Middle Eastern for some characters).

    The constant references to the Christian faith (as one of the earlier reviews said "glorification") in Part 3, was very tedious particularly to a non religious person like myself.

    Overall, the story was boring. I will not be downloading the sequels.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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