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Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ancestors of Avalon

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Marion Zimmer Bradley's beloved Avalon saga continues with the dramatic story of the ancestors of Avalon, from their life on the doomed island of Atlantis to their escape to the mist-shrouded isle of Britain.


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Marion Zimmer Bradley's beloved Avalon saga continues with the dramatic story of the ancestors of Avalon, from their life on the doomed island of Atlantis to their escape to the mist-shrouded isle of Britain.

30 review for Marion Zimmer Bradley's Ancestors of Avalon

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I loved Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon". This book is loosely based on her mythology, but since Marion died shortly after "Mists of Avalon" was published, most of the other books attributed to her were written by Diana Paxson. Diana is an OK writer, but it isn't up to the quality of Marion, so that said, this book provides some backstory to "Mists of Avalon". It supposes that the people who founded the mythological Avalon came from world of Atlantis; that they escaped as Atlantis was f I loved Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon". This book is loosely based on her mythology, but since Marion died shortly after "Mists of Avalon" was published, most of the other books attributed to her were written by Diana Paxson. Diana is an OK writer, but it isn't up to the quality of Marion, so that said, this book provides some backstory to "Mists of Avalon". It supposes that the people who founded the mythological Avalon came from world of Atlantis; that they escaped as Atlantis was falling into the sea. It also supposes that the 2 main characters, Micael and Tiriki are the former lives of Merlin and Morgaine in the Camelot era. It describes the creation and fall of Stonehenge and the discovery of the Crystal Caves which are mentioned in the myth of Merlin and Arthur of Camelot. All in all it's an interesting idea and story, but the writing leaves a little to be desired.

  2. 5 out of 5

    readmuchrunfar

    There was absolutely nothing good about this book that I could find. Paxson's link-up of MZB's Atlantis and Avalon series was embarrassingly bad. Bad writing, bad characterization, and to top it off, the text of the edition I read was full of errors! Maybe if someone had bothered to edit this, he or she would have realized how bad it was before it was too late. Ouch! Diana Paxson, please leave Avalon alone! It's a damn shame how bad this is compared to MZB's masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    I'm over trying to recreate my Mists of Avalon experience........it is impossible.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ronda Tutt

    This was a great read, I loved how it picked up from where the first book "The Fall of Alantis" ends. In the first book "The Fall of Alantis" (Known as the Ancient Land - Alantis is of made up of many islands) it is foretold that the City of the Circling Snake (capital of the Ancient Land)will fall into the sea and the evil power will spread unto the other islands and they will sink into the sea as well. Now in this second book, the City of the Circling Snake and many of th This was a great read, I loved how it picked up from where the first book "The Fall of Alantis" ends. In the first book "The Fall of Alantis" (Known as the Ancient Land - Alantis is of made up of many islands) it is foretold that the City of the Circling Snake (capital of the Ancient Land)will fall into the sea and the evil power will spread unto the other islands and they will sink into the sea as well. Now in this second book, the City of the Circling Snake and many of the other islands have fell into the sea and some of its survivors have made their home in Ahtarrath the last of the standing islands. The story begins with the actions that are taken when the on-coming and the start of Ahtarrath is falling into the sea and how the people prepare and strive to survive the horror and escape upon ships that will take them to a new land where a prophecy is to be fullfilled. Without giving the story away - I will tell you that some of the characters from the first book make it to the new land/world. A hard lesson is learned and I leave you with this quote (page 351)in which the newcomers learn at the end. "From childhood we knew our homeland faced destruction. But there was a prophecy that my husband would found a new Temple in a new land." "But I did not understand," Micail said heavily. "I thought it must be a great and splendid building such as we had on Ahtarrath and in the Ancient Land. But I was mistaken. I think now that what we are meant to establish is a tradition-" "A tradition," said Tiriki, completing his thought,"in which the wisdom of the Temple of Light-and it is great, though we have given you little reason to think so until now- is joined with the earth power of those who live in this land." There is a quote that I thought was very real in our own lives and I want to share it with you -- "Of all things we mortals are called upon to do, the most difficult is forgiveness; in order to truly do it, you will probably have to behave as if you already have forgiven for quite a while before you have actually done so." Mental note to self Chedan - a old wise Adept that carries a staff, Micail is Chedan's heir and Chedan passes his staff onto Micail - The Marsh People called Chedan "Sun hawk" or sometimes "Merlin" - both names are native for falcon. The Alkonath who survived have given Micail a new name "Falcon Banner" - meaning to lead The Marsh people call Tiriki "Morgan" - the woman from the sea

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cara St.Hilaire

    Though I'm impressed that Paxson utilized Zimmer Bradley's vision for this title, it is the weakest of the series. I was so disappointed because the main love story (Tiriki and Micail) was weak. The underlying female strength and spirituality that is usually in the Avalon books is missing. Even the description of place and landscape that I've loved so much in these novels seems to not be present. I didn't feel that this prequel left me with a foundation to be more enlightened regarding the other Though I'm impressed that Paxson utilized Zimmer Bradley's vision for this title, it is the weakest of the series. I was so disappointed because the main love story (Tiriki and Micail) was weak. The underlying female strength and spirituality that is usually in the Avalon books is missing. Even the description of place and landscape that I've loved so much in these novels seems to not be present. I didn't feel that this prequel left me with a foundation to be more enlightened regarding the other Avalon titles. Paxson did do a great job with the other post-Mists of Avalon titles (Lady of Avalon, etc.) however and so do read those!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth McIlhaney

    This is the first book written by Diana Paxson that I have read. She is no Marion Zimmer Bradley, regardless of the fact that she claims to be writing Bradley's basic story idea. It took me forever, months and months, to slog through a mere 350 pages that with other authors can take me about a day. The last two or three chapters were finally quite good, as were the first couple. The rest of the book could be condensed down to about a chapter or two, but then we wouldn't have a tome, would w This is the first book written by Diana Paxson that I have read. She is no Marion Zimmer Bradley, regardless of the fact that she claims to be writing Bradley's basic story idea. It took me forever, months and months, to slog through a mere 350 pages that with other authors can take me about a day. The last two or three chapters were finally quite good, as were the first couple. The rest of the book could be condensed down to about a chapter or two, but then we wouldn't have a tome, would we? Just a precursor of a script for film or TV, either of which this book lends itself far more than to the written word. But given how much I loved "Mists of Avalon" when I read it 30 some years ago, I intend to slog through the rest of the prequels Paxson wrote. I trust I will be doing a lot of scanning and 'speed-reading,' as I had to do more and more with this book, which is not at all my usual method of reading novels. I like to find authors who lure me with every single word. Paxson does not.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mkittysamom

    Not having read any of the other books in this series Icannot compare Diana to Marion. So my rating is on the story alone which I thought was okay. I feel that the characters were kinda dull.. Mikhail made me mad and it seems the end was wrapped up in a page or two. I think this could have been a novelette and saved much of the confusion on the characters that didnt matter so much to the story like cardboard stand ups.. ex Aldel who died senselessly. Anyways... My Mom loved Marion and her series Not having read any of the other books in this series Icannot compare Diana to Marion. So my rating is on the story alone which I thought was okay. I feel that the characters were kinda dull.. Mikhail made me mad and it seems the end was wrapped up in a page or two. I think this could have been a novelette and saved much of the confusion on the characters that didnt matter so much to the story like cardboard stand ups.. ex Aldel who died senselessly. Anyways... My Mom loved Marion and her series so with this book out of the way I’m curious to how Mists of Avalon will be 🤞😻

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Turns out this was pretty flat, with boring plot and boring characters and boring writing. But, it also turns out that at the end of the day my favorite thing to read is trashy fantasy. So I read it! 😂

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Kellick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So I finally picked this book up for the second time. The first reading was awful -- The Fall of Atlantis, crappy as the writing is, at least had a point. On first read, most of this book just seemed like a whole bunch of people that I had no reason to care about flailing about, crying "woe is me!" And then suddenly the last third or so has the big "reveal" that these Atlanteans, these ancestors of the Avalonians, surprise surprise, built Stonehenge -- and destroyed it before it was finished in an attempt t So I finally picked this book up for the second time. The first reading was awful -- The Fall of Atlantis, crappy as the writing is, at least had a point. On first read, most of this book just seemed like a whole bunch of people that I had no reason to care about flailing about, crying "woe is me!" And then suddenly the last third or so has the big "reveal" that these Atlanteans, these ancestors of the Avalonians, surprise surprise, built Stonehenge -- and destroyed it before it was finished in an attempt to magically attack their own people! And then Tiriki and Micail get back together and live happily ever after, the end. Wait, what just happened?! On this second read, the bulk of the book at least made a little more sense, and the characters -- at least those at the Tor -- felt a little more fleshed out. But those with Micail at Belsairath remained mostly flat, two-dimensional; many of the priestly caste were just long, strange names with little personality to them other than blindly going along with Tjalan. Micail himself did little to live up to his parents, Domaris and Micon; they could also be accused of being overwrought, but they at least did things. Micail just sits around letting things happen around him. Tiriki was a little more interesting to me, and though she started out as pathetic as I remembered, she grew over the course of the book. I do wish more time had been spent on developing the marsh people, especially as their descendants have some of the same names in other books in the series. I would have liked more detail givien to Iriel and Otter's relationship; I would have liked to have seen more of Domara's development, rather than just having Tiriki tell Micail (and us) about her at the end. In short, it's clear that while MZB may have had a hand in this book, it wasn't written by her, and I'm sad to say Diana Paxson doesn't do nearly as much as she could have to fill it out and give it the kind of impact that the previous Avalon titles had. My two-star rating of "it was OK" stands.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So THAT'S how they made Stonehenge! =) This was a fun book, although I thought it was a bit slow in parts. But I enjoyed seeing the formation of the priestesses that I loved so much in The Mists of Avalon. I was a little disappointed that Paxson didn't really get into as much detail as I think she should have with telling us about the native tribes, the Marsh Tribe especially. She touched on their magic and knowledge, but it wasn't really fleshed out well enough. I would have liked to see it mer So THAT'S how they made Stonehenge! =) This was a fun book, although I thought it was a bit slow in parts. But I enjoyed seeing the formation of the priestesses that I loved so much in The Mists of Avalon. I was a little disappointed that Paxson didn't really get into as much detail as I think she should have with telling us about the native tribes, the Marsh Tribe especially. She touched on their magic and knowledge, but it wasn't really fleshed out well enough. I would have liked to see it merge with the Atlantean knowledge a bit more fully, not just have it be so eventually without any real description. But maybe she was going for mystery, since Avalon is shrouded in it anyway. I can go for that. At first I wasn't sure I liked Tiriki. I thought she was a doormat. But she really grew into herself in the marshes, and became the first Lady of the Lake as we knew the role in MoA. I enjoyed the wise woman Taret immensely and wish she had a bigger part. Micail I don't think I really liked. He was too weak to prevent the abuse of power, too chicken to speak up when he knew he should. He did redeem himself a bit at the end, but by then I think it was too late. As a result of his inaction and weakness, his relationship with Tiriki was fundamentally altered. A good thing, certainly, and he did become Merlin, but it was more a default than anything. I don't think I would have chosen him to be Merlin if there was someone else around. Chedan would have been better, and really he was the first Merlin. He fit the role much better. I think this one had its flaws, but overall it was still a good addition to the Avalon series Paxson has continued since Marion Zimmer Bradley's death. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy or a distant link to Arthurian legends.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J.P. Reedman

    Not impressed. MISTS OF AVALON, despite being totally bogus in its 'historical' aspects (guess what? 'Celts' didn't worship some prime Mother Goddess, nor were they a particularly peaceable people)at least had the 'right' feel to it, enough to convince a LOT of readers that this was indeed what ancient Britons were like. Now in ANCESTORS we have Atlanteans building Stonehenge. Gee, heck, I guess those dumb old Britons were nothing but stupid savages who couldn't figure out how to raise a m Not impressed. MISTS OF AVALON, despite being totally bogus in its 'historical' aspects (guess what? 'Celts' didn't worship some prime Mother Goddess, nor were they a particularly peaceable people)at least had the 'right' feel to it, enough to convince a LOT of readers that this was indeed what ancient Britons were like. Now in ANCESTORS we have Atlanteans building Stonehenge. Gee, heck, I guess those dumb old Britons were nothing but stupid savages who couldn't figure out how to raise a monument on their own and needed some outsider to help them along (this goes right in with the old antiquarians believing that Romans, Danes, and Greeks had a hand in the building of Stonehenge--all wrong of course.) I know this is a fantasy novel, and I love fantasy, but whereas MISTs seemed firmly in the historical/fantasy genre, this was dipping over into pure fantasy and not working.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maja Helena

    I hoped Paxson’s writing style would fit me better than Bradley’s, but so far we are not off to a great start… I don’t really understand the purpose of this book? It is very much a prequel to the whole Avalon story, as we see how to originally came into being and the circumstances surrounding it, but did we really need it when it feels so half-heartedly and disconnected? In Ancestors of Avalon we follow a cast of characters who are just that: the ancestors of Avalon. These ancestors are ref I hoped Paxson’s writing style would fit me better than Bradley’s, but so far we are not off to a great start… I don’t really understand the purpose of this book? It is very much a prequel to the whole Avalon story, as we see how to originally came into being and the circumstances surrounding it, but did we really need it when it feels so half-heartedly and disconnected? In Ancestors of Avalon we follow a cast of characters who are just that: the ancestors of Avalon. These ancestors are refugees from Atlantis – of course they are – and comes to Britain in two different groups and we get to see two different attempts at saving whatever knowledge they brought with them from Atlantis and establishing a presence in a new country. One group’s approach is, of course, more sympathetic than the other. There was pretty much nothing that worked for me in this book: the main love story was incredibly weak, the characters were bad and their motivations made zero sense, the set-up for the story and overall world-building was non-existent. So much could have been done with the Atlantis angel, but we got nothing from it and it might as well have been any other island. It felt like the Atlantis name was just used for the sake of a namedrop… I cannot recommend this to anyone with a good conscience.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a direct sequel to "The Fall of Atlantis" and is basically book 1 in the chronological order of the Avalon series (Atlantis being book 0). This is the book in which Atlantis actually falls, and the survivors head to Britain and establish colonies there. It's an okay book, but it's slow-going, and there are way too many characters, most of whom don't do much; they could have been consolidated into fewer characters. The most interesting ones, to me, are Tiriki and Damisa. Seeing the D This book is a direct sequel to "The Fall of Atlantis" and is basically book 1 in the chronological order of the Avalon series (Atlantis being book 0). This is the book in which Atlantis actually falls, and the survivors head to Britain and establish colonies there. It's an okay book, but it's slow-going, and there are way too many characters, most of whom don't do much; they could have been consolidated into fewer characters. The most interesting ones, to me, are Tiriki and Damisa. Seeing the Damisa/Selast romance break up was heartbreaking, and it just seems wrong that they each end up with a man and seem to be satisfied. Also, a lot of the characters seem to want to hold on to the traditions and customs of Atlantis (such as arranged marriages and ceremonial crap), even though it no longer exists. I kept rolling my eyes at that and kept wishing the characters would just say "Screw it all" and follow their hearts. The People/Places list before the story actually spoils parts of the story, so you might not want to read it until after. Oh, and the name Avalon isn't even mentioned in the story; I guess that comes later.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I find these stories really draw you into the fantastic world created by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is as if you are lost in the mists of time and place. In the Ancestors of Avalon, we are witness to the loss of the island of Atlantis. Now where will the priests and priestesses of the legendary sea kingdom make their new home and how will that shape their destiny? Interesting challenges and characters are all part of this mystical world and yet we recognize something of ourselves in the way that I find these stories really draw you into the fantastic world created by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is as if you are lost in the mists of time and place. In the Ancestors of Avalon, we are witness to the loss of the island of Atlantis. Now where will the priests and priestesses of the legendary sea kingdom make their new home and how will that shape their destiny? Interesting challenges and characters are all part of this mystical world and yet we recognize something of ourselves in the way that there is a challenge within each of us between the spiritual and the material. There is the struggle for survival and there is the nourishment of the soul. These two need not be at odds, yet it is the age old question of how we balance the two. Yes, this is a fantasy novel, but the challenges are all relatable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was my least favourite of the series. It took me FOREVER to actually finish the book. I just don’t like Diana’s writing as well as Marion’s. I could feel the shift in the writing in The Priestess of Avalon. Also, while you recognized some of the incarnations, I always thought Micail was meant to be the former self of Arthur. And as Merlin was likely Morgaine’s father, that’s just downright creepy. But then again, I guess incest comes with the territory since Arthur did father Morgaine’s chi This was my least favourite of the series. It took me FOREVER to actually finish the book. I just don’t like Diana’s writing as well as Marion’s. I could feel the shift in the writing in The Priestess of Avalon. Also, while you recognized some of the incarnations, I always thought Micail was meant to be the former self of Arthur. And as Merlin was likely Morgaine’s father, that’s just downright creepy. But then again, I guess incest comes with the territory since Arthur did father Morgaine’s child. *smh* Overall, this novel just leaves the reader wanting far too much. But I’ll finish out the series with Ravens of Avalon when I can muster the strength just to say I’ve read the whole series. I hope it’s better than this one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Parker

    I didn't like this book enough to finish it. I wasn't aware that it was #5 in a series when I started. There were way too many characters with a huge variety of interactions, a made up religion with fewer references to Celtic paganism than I wanted, and I didn't care enough about the outcome in the situations. The series is rated pretty well by others, but I had rather move on.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ghanima

    My library didn't have the first part of this book, but it was still nice to read this one. I didn't understand all of it. I got it that Micail didn't search for Tiriki. It seemed to make sense. But I didn't get why she didn't search for him. I liked the story okay, and I certainly like the ideas behind it, but I didn't care very much about any of the characters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I have read other books by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Diana Paxson has done an admirable job of writing in the same style and coordinating with the Mrs. Bradley's world boundaries to bring to life a previous era to the times of her other books. Atlanta is a reality in this book; so are the tenets of a religion, the visionary paths, and the human ways and quirks of its followers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katy Coghlan

    While it was lovely to delve back into the world of Avalon (more accurately, its ancestors) the narrative was missing some sort of je ne sais quoi without Zimmer-Bradley’s voice (although the author used DZB’s research). I don’t think I’ll go on with the two which follow this one - I’ll be content with the many hours spent in Camelot and upon the misty isle of Avalon I’ve already spent.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Billeen Carlson

    Bronze Age Awesomeness Great book that teases fans of Avalon & Atlantis, myth & anthropology, culture & fantasy. A competent mythologizing of the movement of peoples in the ancient Mediterranean.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Sadly this did not catch the writing of Marion Zimmer Bradley. the novel did not have the interesting characters or a good plot , and this was a shame as the premise of the legend of Atlantis could of been so promising.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Dodds

    Didn’t finish. Very disappointing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cristian Tomescu

    Very bad.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kirundo

    This was another great book with great characters and story!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim Schroeder

    Interesting story. Easier to listen to then the previous book in the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy McQueen

    Good, in the same vein as the Fall of Atlantis, but it did not have quite as much punch as MZB's original work

  27. 4 out of 5

    Feathzzz

    Epic and mystical at the same time, very lovely.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Literarian Shawty

    I have really enjoyed this book. It was very interesting to see the migration and settlement into ancient Britain. I think this one is one of my favourites from the Avalon trilogy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lawrie Keillor-faulkner

    Did not actually finish this. It just didnt grab my interest.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    If you're start this novel by hoping to recapture the magic you felt when reading 'The Mists of Avalon' you will be sorely disappointed. While TMOA was not necessarily a plot-strong novel, this one is a disaster from a plot point of view. Oh, but you love the characters and/or the setting? Another mess. Maybe more Avalon lore, or inside information, given that this is one of countless prequels? Maybe, but only if you can bear the previously mentioned fatal flaws...

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