Morgaine, finally reconciled to the birth of her son, must relinquish him to her aunt Morgause in exchange for the kept secret regarding his parentage. Arthur marries the timid but dutiful Gwenhwyfar, while ongoing wars with the Saxon invaders continue to rage accross the land. Morgaine, tired of worldly concerns, attempts to return to Avalon, but disappears without a trace somewhere near the end of her journey. In a last bid for peace, Arthur compromises his loyalty to Avalon by carrying the Christian banner into battle. Gwenhwyfar's inability to conceive has the kingdom despairing of an heir to the throne, while behind the scenes, her love for Lancelet grows more impassioned and desperate.
Return to Camelot: listen to more in the Mists of Avalon series.
©1982 Marion Zimmer Bradley; (P)1993 Recorded Books, LLC
"A monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends . . . reading it is a deeply moving and at times uncanny experience . . . an impressive achievement." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Mistress of Magic" (part one of this saga), is Igraine's and Morgaine's journey. It is an effective, evocative and intensely personal journey. This part, "The High Queen," is mostly Gwenhyfar's story, and shows a lot of contrast, and a different perspective. Though it's my least favorite "book" in the saga, it *is* still part of the larger story. It's a testament to the quality of the writing, I think, that I can be so personally involved, moved and annoyed by the journeys of these characters. (And Gwenfhyfar annoys me greatly! :-) )
Obviously, don't get this book if you have not listened to "Mistress of Magic" first. This (and the other books which make up the entirety of The Mists of Avalon) is NOT a sequel; it is part of the SAME BOOK! It is unfortunate that Audible (or the publishers, more likely) have chosen to break this one large book up into 4 separate parts. They shouldn't be considered separate books.
I've written specifically about the narration in my review of "Mistress of Magic," but to just do a quick recap: Davina Porter gives an adequate and sometimes very good reading of these books, though her pacing is sometimes quite slow.
For those listeners who lose interest during this "part" of the saga, please know that it really does get better! "The High Queen" can feel a bit tedious at times, but it is worth it to continue through to the end - the next two "books." The next installment, "The King Stag" picks up the pace and energy that this section lacks, and "The Prisoner in the Oak" is a magnificent and stunning conclusion to this incredible journey.
The character of Gwenhwyfar is far too whining. She goes on and on about what she should or shouldn't do. She is such an unlikable character, that she actually spoils the book for me. If I was reading this book, I would skip to the next chapter, but with an audio book you can't do this. I am not sure if I will even finish this book or the series.
I read Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon" book about 15 years ago and loved it. Please note that the audiobooks that make up the full "Mists of Avalon" story is broken into 4 parts on the Audible website: 1) Mistress of Magic, 2) The High Queen, 3) King Stag, and 4) Prisoner in the Oak. It can be rather expensive to buy all 4 parts - 4 credits or the currently listed price. I was confused about the splitting up of the sections because technically it is one book so I wanted to pass my experience on to others who may also be confused about why there are 4 Mists of Avalon books listed when you do a search on the title.
I loved the narration and storytelling of this book done by Davina Porter. Her spoken word really brought the tale to life and I came to see her voice as the voice of the characters and it enriched my experience of the story. Some spoken word narrators detract from the story, but Davina's narration brought a great story to an even higher level of enjoyment for me. If I had the choice to read or hear the book again, I would definitely opt for hear!
I appreciated Davina's narration even more when I listened to "The Forest House" and "Lady of Avalon" audiobooks also by Marion Zimmer Bradley but narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I found Rosalyn's voice too news-announcer-like and flat for my taste. I wish Davina had narrated those books too!
To review the story itself, "The Mists of Avalon" is the classic King Arthur tale told by a women's point of view. It gives wonderful life to the women imagined to the in the King Arthur experience and celebrates the power, weakness, and experience of the women. If you have interest in the stories of that genre and enjoy a tale where the women can be the heroes, this is the book for you. These female characters are not just empty, mindless window dressing as many Medieval tales would have you believe. I loved the experience of the story and the drama of the tale that Ms. Bradley weaves. I highly recommend this book and the narration makes it even better!
I love Davina Porter's narration so finished the first book and thought it was pretty good. Having just completed book 2, I enjoyed it even more since I'm already involved with the characters. This version of the Arthurian legend introduces some novel ideas about Guinevere and Lancelot, and even Morgane herself. I enjoyed it very much and will continue the series.
I listened to The High Queen when I originally purchased it in 2010 and loved every minute of it. The reader has an amazing ability to render a multitude of characters. But I just recently downloaded it again and it stops after about 30 minutes. Help! I want to listen once again to each of the 4 books of The Mists of Avalon.
I am enjoying this story from the female character's perspective. Very interesting. When I think I know where the story is headed I have gotten a few surprises.
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