23 August 2006

Book Banter -- Taliesin

After Word Nerd finished rereading "The Princess Bride" it got her thinking about other books she read the first time when she was younger and sent her on a hunt for some of those titles again.

The first one worthwhile to pick up again, Stephen R. Lawhead's Taliesin. This is the first book in Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, his six-book King Arthur series.

Word Nerd, if you're just joining the program, really loves the King Arthur story. It's probably Lawhead's books that sparked the interest. His version of the legend combines the diminishing presence of Rome in Britain with the fall of Atlantis and the spread of Christianity throughout Britain.

Lawhead, like Jack Whyte in his Camulod Chronicles, starts Arthur's story well before Arthur is ever born. But where Whyte's stories are heavy on history, Lawhead's are heavy on spirituality and magic. Taliesin chronicles the life of Charis, a princess from Atlantis and Taliesin the greatest bard Britain has thus far known.

Both Charis and Taliesin are driven from their homelands and into southern Britain (what would now be like Cornwall and Wales). There, they encounter each other and meet up with priests who tell them about the True God. They are both challenged about whether they can believe in this God and how he relates to Taliesin's vision of the Kingdom of Summer. But dark circumstances make the coming of summer seem shaky...

Title: Taliesin
Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: ~450
Recommendation: If you like King Arthur, this is a good series. Lawhead doesn't disguise his own beliefs in God and as his characters encounter God, there's a straight-up dose of Christian theology. The series gets better too as it goes on.

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