Monday, April 23, 2012

T is For... Taliesin

Holy Hotness Humble Readers!

It's not even the end of April yet, and we hit 27C (close to 80F, I think) today!  That is insane for the northern flatland!  What's even crazier is that on Friday, we are supposed to be back down to 4C (mid 30s, I think) with rain and snow.  Ugh!  What is going on?

Anywho... we're up to the letter T in the A to z Challenge.  Today I give you Taliesin, a main character in the first book of Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle.   I've actually been wanting to talk about this series of novels from the beginning of this whole challenge. 

I fell in love with this series when I was in college.  A friend and I discovered we shared a love of historical/fantasy novels, and this was tops on his list.  The series, in the broadest terms, is the story of King Arthur.  But it is so much more than that. 

The first book, in which we meet Taliesin, actually begins in Wales and in Atlantis.  It follows the stories of two very different people who are destined to come together... Taliesin and Charis. 

From the beginning of his life, Taliesin is considered unlucky.  But fate steps in and the road of his life changes course dramatically.  While he is, by birth, a prince, it isn't until some extraordinary events take place that he is brought into the fold of the druids. 

At the same time, Charis, a young princess in Atlantis, is oblivious to the war that is looming on her country's horizon.  The civil war changes her world entirely.  The death of her mother during an attack drives a wedge between Charis and her father, and soon she leaves the home she loves to live in the temple as a bull-dancer. 

When disaster strikes Atlantis, Charis narrowly escapes the devestation with her father and half-sister, Morgian (Morgan La Fey, Morgana).  They, and the few ships of survivors, make their way first to France, and then ultimately to the south coast of England, where they settle and become known as the Fair Folk. 

Charis and Taliesin's destiny's become entwined when, in true fairy tale form, boy meets girl and they fall in love.  After facing many challenges, they are able to marry, and they have a son, Myrddin (Merlin).  Always jealous of her half-sister, Morgian decides to exact her vengance by taking the one thing she can... Taliesin. 

I love Taliesin because he's certain, even from a young age, that although many around him consider him unlucky at best, and useless at worst, he knows that there is more that he has to offer to his people and the larger world around him.  He knows that he has a role to play. 

I wish I had that kind of certainty...

I also highly recommend books two and three in the series (Merlin and Arthur).  Merlin, especially, is fairly dark, but with a purpose.  There are two other books in the series (Pendragon and Grail) but Lawhead came back and wrote them a fair bit after the first three, and there is something lacking in them.  In my opinion, the series ends just fine at the end of Arthur. 

Has there ever been a series which you thought the author strung along just a bit to long? I can think of a few, mostly in the fantasy genre. 


  1. Oh, this sounds like an interesting series! The one series I liked, The Kusiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, made it work by doing a second trilogy that took places a few generations later. So the history was there, but everything else was open to new ideas.

  2. Twilight. Ha! :) Though I hate to admit it, I actually did enjoy the FIRST book. But after that... pooh... the second one I had to force myself through, rolling my eyes and groaning the whole time... I *think* I looked at the third book??? and for sure, I never read the 4th... wait, are there 4 books? eh. Whatever. She should've ended with the first, and it would've been a bit of a unique take on an overdone subject.


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