The Forest House

Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
Series: Avalon, Book 2
Length: 18 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (375 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

She was Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warleader and gifted with visions. In a land struggling to survive both Roman conquerors and her own people's enemies, surely fate had marked her to become a priestess of the Forest House.

But first Eilan had chosen a different, forbidden path - to love Gaius, a soldier of mixed blood among the legions sent to subdue her country. So she must hide a terrible secret when she is anointed as the new High Priestess. With mighty enemies poised to usurp the wealth of magic the Forest House sheltered, Eilan could only trust in the power of the great Goddess to find her destiny amidst the treacherous labyrinth in which fate had placed her.

©1994 Marion Zimmer Bradley (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"With the sure touch of one at ease in sketching out mystic travels.... Bradley writes with an unhurried pace and uncluttered staging." ( Kirkus Review)

What listeners say about The Forest House

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Re-recorded and highly effective

This is not a reissue/transfer of the unabridged cassette tapes that were originally produced. Everything about this new recording is outstanding. Rosalyn Landor is an absolutely, perfectly beautiful interpreter of these characters and words. In fact, she's so wonderful, I wish she had also been engaged to rerecord The Mists of Avalon as well; she is really *that* good! This story, though slighter than Mists, is a wonderful tale and forerunner to the main novel of the saga. If you've heard the cassettes and haven't really cared for them, I urge to you get this new recording and hear this beautiful story for the "first time."

32 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable book

What did you like best about The Forest House? What did you like least?

Good story, a little slow in places, but still held interest.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Good ending, and leads you into the next book.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good story, stay with it and you will enjoy it

Would you listen to The Forest House again? Why?

Yes, it is a large book and has a lot of details to get through in the first 5 chapters. If Rosalyn Landor had not made it so easy to stay with it, I may not have finished it. But after those first 5 chapters you have a great understanding of what is happening, time frame, and the lead people in the book. Then it gets good and I am going to read the next one of these books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Forest House?

Beltane Fires

What does Rosalyn Landor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a rich and engaging way of sharing a story that makes you feel like you are experiencing it. Very easy to listen to and like I stated above, without her reading this story I would have put it down.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Beltane, The Lady

Any additional comments?

Problem I have is finding out which is the next real book in this as there are two with Avalon that could be the next one. It is important with this novel to stay with the time frame so if you could make that happen it would be a great improvement. You have the series which are numbered, but the confusion is with the Lady of Avalon and the final book as the producer's information doesn't tell you where in the timeline they fall.

9 people found this helpful

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Emotionally Draining

I cannot recommend this audio book any more highly. The story kept me enthralled and the narrator was fantastic. I early on recognized that the story was derived from plot of Bellini's Norma which only made the inescapable ending more emotional for me. I liked this audio book so much that I have already purchased the next two books in the series, especially because they are performed by the same narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Bad narrator.

All the male caracters sound old and pompous regardless of age. A big big negative!

7 people found this helpful

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Could only stand it for 20 minutes

Any additional comments?

The narrator was so annoying I just couldn't take it. The women's lines sound like men, and men's lines sound like old nuns. egad.

6 people found this helpful

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Such a Powerful Book!

This was a gripping story! The narration was excellent and the tale entrancing! I highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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love this author!

Loved this book, highly recommended! No one writes the Arthurian Legends like she does, from a woman's perspective.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing writing, story, and narration

The forest house is the prequel to the mists of avalon. I enjoyed both books and want to reread the latter to see more of the connections between the two.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I wanted to give this book a chance as I consider 'The Mists of Avalon' to be a masterwork. After seven chapters I had to bail out of this profoundly unengaging novel---totally opposite from the 'Mists' which pulled me in from the first page.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tasha Walsh
  • 06-13-20

Great truth within

I've just read this the 3rd time. So special! always. it holds a great truth!

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  • Ms. Jane E. Walters
  • 02-15-20

Inspiring

I read Mists of Avalon years ago as I have always been interested in the spirituality of the women in my ancestry. I believe in their magic, which is bought to life in this series, and inspires an inherent need to rekindle what was lost when the male dominant thinking took over.. Bradley seems very knowledgeable about all these secret, mystical ways that lost their value along with the value of what women can be at their very best. These stories speak to an empty space within us. I am hoping that the rest of the series is made available to audible soon. In my opinion Bradley is a great writer, and her stories are rich, deep and compelling.

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  • Treehugger
  • 11-17-19

Prequel to The Mists of Avalon

Having read and loved the Mists of Avalon many times, I was curious to see what this book had to say, and whether it was related to the Mists of Avalon or just another novel by the same author.
I discovered that it was indeed a prequel to the Mists of Avalon, telling how the house of maidens on the island of Avalon first came about, as a house in the forest. The story is set in the same part of the world as Avalon, in the west country, called the summer country in this book. References are also made to the distant past (as they are in the Avalon book) where priestesses formerly worshipped the Goddess in the lost city of Atlantis. It has a nice sense of continuity, of this worship being handed down for generations and evolving over time.
In this story, there is a chief Druid, Head of a house of other druids, who is more or less in charge of a group of maidens and priestesses in the Forest House. When the new house of maidens is established on the Isle of Avalon towards the end of the book, they resolve to have only women priestesses and no druids to boss them around!
Overlaid on this back story, the 2 central characters, Eilan (a British girl who becomes High Priestess) and Gaius, a Roman officer, fall in love and secretly meet and have a son. They can never marry because they are on opposing sides of two warring factions, and a high priestess is forbidden to marry. Gaius is forced to take a Roman wife, who bears him only daughters. Throughout the story he secretly wishes he could acknowledge his son. We are given many detailed descriptions of the two worlds: Gaius' Roman world with its interminable banquets and lengthy battles (far too much manly talk of war to hold my interest) and Roman society, all incredibly well researched, and also the very different British society with its druids, Goddess, pagan festivals and simple way of life. An account is also made of the early Christians, who are already forming small churches only a few years after Jesus' death. They are seen at first as just another 'sect' and not taken very seriously. This theme is also taken up in the Mists of Avalon, where the Christians have become a much larger and more powerfully influential group.
Far from reading like a collection of historical facts, this book comes alive with the story of these two people and also the lives of the other characters in the novel. I found it almost as good as the Mists of Avalon, but without its epic power (as unlike the tale of King Arthur, this story is unknown).
It serves as an interesting prequel and gives some useful background to how Avalon came to be, and also how Goddess worship evolved.

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  • CantVal
  • 09-03-19

Shame about the narration

Although this story is not quite As good as the Mists of Avalon it is a great pity that the narrator of the Mists was not used for this as it would have been so much the better for it

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  • Fran Pearce
  • 07-25-17

Enthralling

Great story of the Romans and the Britons and how the Pagans. A very good read.

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  • jenny wren
  • 03-01-16

Prequel to Mists of Avalon

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I found the narrator's male voices irritating because they all sounded pompous and old. You don't have to try and sound like a man if you're reading a male character's speech.