Item description for Grail (Pendragon Cycle #5) by Stephen R. Lawhead...
Overview The fifth and final book in the popular series based on the legend of King Arthur challenges Arthur with an embodiment of pure evil in the person of a beautiful maiden intent on carrying off the Holy Grail. Reprint.
The legend of King Arthur has been told many times--but never with the strength and resonance, passion and richness granted it in Stephen R. Lawhead's masterful
Drought, plague, and war have left the Isle of the Mighty battered and its heart, the beloved Arthur, grievously injured--until a secret relic is brought before the dying KIng; a Holy Grail that heals his wounds and restores his vigor.
But soon evil enters the royal court in the guise of a beautiful maiden; a soulless, malevolent force capable of seducing the King's loyal champion, confounding the sage whom some call Merlin, and carrying the sacred Grail--and Arthur's adored Queen--off into the dark unknown. And now Arthur faces the greatest challenge of his sovererignty: a quest of recovery that must lead the noble liege through realms of magic and the undead, on a trail that winds inexorably toward a grim confrontation with his most foul nemesis . . . and his destiny.
Drought, plague and war have left the Isle of Mighty battered and its heart, the beloved Arthur, grievously injured. But, astonishingly, the High King lives--his wounds healed and vigor restored by a sacred and secret relic: the Holy Grail.At Ynys Avallach, a dying Arthur was miraculously renewed. And now, in this time of rampant disease and death, the great king wants to share the Grail's curative powers with all who require it. A shrine will be built to house the holy treasure--and Arthur's fabled Kingdom of Summer will at long last come to be.But evil has entered the royal court in the guise of a beautiful maiden. Unbeknownst to Arthur, to his devoted warriors, to his adored Gwenhwyvar. . .even to the bard Myrddrin, the sage Emrys whom some have called "Merlin," malevolent forces, soulless and cunning, seduce the King's most loyal champion. And in an unthinkable unguarded moment, the Grail is carried off, vanishing somewhere into the dark unknown.Now Arthur faces the greatest challenge of his sovereig.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.97" Width: 4.08" Height: 1.05" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Aug 26, 2008
Series Pendragon Cycle
Series Number 5
ISBN 0380781042 ISBN13 9780380781041
Availability 0 units.
More About Stephen R. Lawhead
Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.
His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.
After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.
In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.
In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children's books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.
Stephen's non-fiction, fiction and children's titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.
It's Ok, but not really part of the Pendragon Cycle Feb 23, 2008
This books is Ok, but falls far below the original Pendragon Cycle books.
For starters, the narration is completely different, written in the first-person. Sure, the characters and settings are the same, but the narration style makes it feel like it is disjointed from the rest of the series.
I loved the first three books of the Pendragon Cycle, and being a purist, that is what I will consider to be the canon. These three books had me riveted.
Pendragon, the fourth in the series, was a necessity, as it filled in a huge gap of the third book.
Grail, well... I kept picking it up and reading, hoping that one day, I'll eventually finish it.
Up till now, Lawhead has made every effort to present the Arther legends in historical settings. Disregarding the romantic versions, or popular culture, he built a realistic world, where one can easily imagine Arther walking the lands. With that realism came the needed disregard of the Grail quests.
Until now. The book feels like it was "just written", rather than being an outgrowth of previous material. My impression is that the author was pressed to somehow or another fit the grail into his Arther retelling, and this is the half-hearted result.
While the book is good as a standalone book, make sure you read it with that in mind: it's just a standalone book, which borrows elements from the series.
The Quest for Truth Jun 12, 2006
Picking up exactly where "Pendragon" left off, "Grail" puts a new and interesting spin on the legend of the holy grail. Lawhead has done a masterful job in recreating the Arthurian legends, infusing them with his poetic writing and creating legends that are uniquely his own, while holding firm to the ones that have come before. Many readers might argue at the 'changes' Lawhead has made to the legends, but a legend by literary definition is a tale that is interpreted just a little differently by the teller each time it is passed along. Stephen Lawhead's version of events is just as sincere and justified as any of his worthy predecessors.
At the conclusion of "Pendragon", King Arthur was gravely wounded at the end of his (book-long) battle with the Vandali warhost. He is taken to the Ynys Avallach where he is mysteriously healed by the grail. Meanwhile, his warhost are awaiting word of Arthur's death, travelling a land blighted by plague and drought, to deliver grim news to the kinsmen of those who betrayed Arthur. When Arthur returns, miraculously healed, he is adamant that the grail will inaugurate his 'kingdom of summer' and restore Britain to health. Stubborn to the core, and deaf to his advisors, Arthur has a shrine built to house the grail that others may bask in its glory and be healed. But evil lurks within the land, as the dreaded Morgian has nurtured her power and schemes to defeat Arthur once and for all.
Told by Gwalchavad (Galahad), "Grail" is an epic novel, and a respite from the battle-drenched "Pendragon". While battles between good and evil persist, the narration is given over to the deception and treachery that tricks Llenlleawg (Lancelot) and makes him a pawn of Morgian, an interesting twist on the Lancelot-Guinivere-Arthur triangle. Lawhead's Arthurian tales are grounded in Celtic lore and centered around a spreading Christianity in the early birth of Britain. The Pendragon Cycle is a fresh spin on an oft-repeated legend that will stand its place in the world of Arthurian lore.
Not the best conclusion to the amazing Pendragon cycle, but has substance. Jun 29, 2005
This wasn't the best book in the cycle. It disapointed me as a conclusion. I sort of think of the end of Arthur as a conclusion, because after that book, the series does not seem to be in chronological order. Arthur disappears at the end of the third book, and he's back in the forth and fifth. The plot is a bit flat and not as captivating, but the poetic language never fails you, and Lawhead seems to get a bit mroe religious in this book.
I have read too many accounts of Arthurian fiction, and I very much liked the Pendragon cycle. Lawhead writes like a poet. His writing can get pretentious at times, and a bit thick and hard to read, but it is well worth it. It definitly enriched my mind and made me want to write epic poetry. It's not the kind of book that you can't put down, the narrative doesn't flow like a best-selling novel, but if you like the subject matter, it is not hard to get though.
Many people critisize this series of books because it deviates from legend. This bothers me. The reason it is "legend" and not fact is because it is largely unknown. I love how lawhead makes everything seem authentically celtic, ("Bedwyr" instead of "Bedivere" and so on)and he puts his own version of the legend, which every author has the right to do. If you're anything like me, your sick of hearing about Lancelot and Guenivere and you want a new and refreshing version of the saga. Lawhead has done his research and knows what he is writing.
Strongly recommended, only if you have read the first four.
The Conclusion of the Epic Re-Imagining of Arthur Sep 6, 2004
Grail is the conclusion of the Pendragon Cycle (although its not the end of Lawhead's Arthurian tales). Grail casts a unique spin on the abduction Arthur's queen as well as the search for the Grail. At the end of Pendragon, Arthur had defeated the invaders of his kingdom but only after suffering a terrible wound. He is healed by the power of the Grail and now beginning in the appropriately named Grail, he wants to set up sacred house for the Grail. Yet his enemy Morgian is ever at work and as the project is completed the Grail is stolen as is Arthur's Queen. This is a dark tale but at the same time its totally unique to the Arthurian mythos. Lawhead could have ended his Arthur stories here and no one would have been upset.
A disappointing end for such a magnificent series Apr 10, 2004
I've read through all the books of the Pendragon Cycle and, until the beginning of "Grail", I thought it almost had no flaws. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed by the fifth and last book, especially by all the contradictions with the "real" end, i.e. the Black Book of Gildas in Arthur.
Honestly, I don't really understand why Stephen Lawhead decided to write this book. Pendragon was a necessary addition, in my opinion, because much elements were left out before the ending of the Arthur book. For example, the Vandali invasion was just brilliant. Of course, the Grail itself had to appear somewhere in the series, but I personally think that Arthur being healed after the battle with Amilcar was enough. I found the plot around the temple and the guardians of the Grail to make no sense at all. That brings me to another major flaw.
Why is Morgian suddenly so powerful? She was already defeated by Merlin in the Lyonesse years before! All that stuff about Morgian preparing her revenge and raising Morgaws is just plain ridiculous. And what about all those magical creatures? When I first read Taliesin (about 5 years ago), I was disappointed by the lack of all those classical surnatural elements from fantastic novels. But after reading a little more, I realized that the series didn't need all this stuff since everything else was so perfect. While reading the Grail, I almost laughed when the big black beast rushed into the knights. When Gwalchavad fought the undeads, I just couldn't stand it. This series isn't about big monsters and ultra-powerful sorcerers! It's about the birth of Britain and the great battles and heroes that lead to its glory. There's already the Lord of the Rings for all the "magical" content.
At the end of Grail, Llenlleawg is banished from the Cymbrogi, being a traitor. Then, why was he defeated in the battle with Medrault in the Black book?! This just makes no sense. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many contradictions that brings this book.
To me, the Pendragon Cycle is really a trilogy, that is Taliesin, Merlin and Arthur. I would have integrated Pendragon in the Arthur book. To me, Grail is no part of the series. I gave it 2 stars only because of it allowed me to learn more about Gwalchavad. I will do my best to forget it because I want to remember the Pendragon Cycle as a magnificient series that gave me incredible reading sessions. If it is also your wish, here's my advice : do not read Grail.