Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan and Isolde
By Anna Elliot
Trystan and Isolde is a part of Arthurian legend I’m not very familiar with. I’ve read a few stories over the years, short stories mostly or the characters have shown up as minor characters in other books, but I never really got into the longer stories. I’m not sure why that is but I thought I’d give these characters another chance.
Isolde is attempting to grieve for her husband Constantine, Arthur’s heir, after his untimely death but she finds it hard going. The realm is again in turmoil and lords and petty kings are once more vying for the throne. With little power and very few choices open to her, she makes the decision to marry a cruel man who takes the throne. With the knowledge that her new husband maybe selling out the realm to the invading Saxons, she takes steps to find the information to bring him down and also save herself from being convicted as a witch.
In most stories, Isolde is a healer, and she’s that once more in this book and it’s her need to help people, especially ones who are bleeding, that brings her in contact with Trystan. This is when the story diverged from one I’m familiar with but I was all right with that for the most part. When you read many Arthurian based stories, a change of pace is always welcome. But even with that change, I had trouble getting into the story. Isolde and Trystan are very hard, battered people with stories to tell but neither seems inclined to share their stories or heal mentally. I wasn’t looking for a warm and fuzzy cry fest but it also felt as though they were hiding stuff from each other which they sort of are but I won’t get into that.
This is the first book in a trilogy which is fine but the story ends so abruptly that I thought I had missed pages. Ending in the beginning of action makes sense when there’s to be a sequel but it felt wrong — too abrupt, too soon.
Honestly though, I still might take a look at the sequels because I do want to know how this version of the tale ends. The dialogue was somewhat stumbling for me though. A lot of …she paused. Then: “… I’m hoping this writing tick passes with the following books. Overall, it was an interesting take on the tale that many know so well.