In my time I have been called many things; sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen. Now in truth I have come to be wise-woman, and a time may come when these things need to be known. But in sober truth I think it is the Christians who will tell the last tale. For ever the world of Fairy drifts further from the world in which the Christ holds sway. I have no quarrel with the Christ, only with his priests, who call the Great Goddess a demon and deny that she ever held power in this world. At best, they say that her power was of Satan. Or else they clothe her in the blue robe of the Lady of Nazareth – who indeed had power in her way, too – and say that she was ever virgin. But what can a virgin know of the sorrows and travails of mankind?
And now, when the world has changed and Arthur – my brother, my lover, king who was and king who shall be – lies dead (the common folk say sleeping) in the Holy Isle of Avalon, the tale should be told as it was before the priests of their White Christ come to cover it all with their saints and legends.
I remember being attracted to the cover of this – it was in the WHSmith in Ilford, and I’d gone there to pick up a book I’d ordered as a present for a friend. Can’t for the life of me remember now what that was, or even who it was for!
But this had just come in, and a young lad was stocking the shelves, and it caught my eye.
It seemed as heavy as a brick, and the 1009 page count made me think it'd do at a pinch to keep me busy for a while!
In truth, I think it took me about four days, on and off. It was utterly enthralling. It's basically a feminist retelling of the Arthurian saga, and as horrible as that might sound....it works! The characters are familiar, yet different, and the emphasis is placed not on the battlefield of horse and sword, but on a far more subtle way of waging war.
Like many of this year's choices, it was languishing in development hell for quite a while, with various names attached, and finally got made with (what else?) an all American cast. Given how awfully or disappointingly my other picks have turned out, I've never quite managed to bring myself to order it, and I've never yet seen it on TV.
If anyone's watched it, can they tell me if it's as bad as I fear?