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Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle


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About the Author

ROSALIND MILES is a well-known and critically acclaimed English novelist, essayist, and broadcaster. Her novels, including the Guenevere trilogy, have been international bestsellers. Rosalind divides her time between homes in California and England.


The acclaimed author of the "Guenevere Trilogy" presents a new, equally mythic heroine in this first installment of a new series. At a time of encroaching Christianity, medieval Ireland is one of the last strongholds of goddess worship. Isolde, princess of Erin, is caught in a tangle of intrigue and love when her mother, the queen, sends her greatest knight to Cornwall to challenge King Mark for rule of his land. Tristan, the nephew and champion of King Mark, kills the queen's knight in single combat but is mortally wounded himself by a poisoned dagger. Only Isolde, known throughout Ireland for her powers of healing, has the ability to save his life. During his convalescence, the two fall desperately in love. And so begins one of the best known tragic love stories of the centuries. Miles stunningly retells a story long celebrated in song and poetry, with a skillful blend of realism and mysticism. Almost everyone knows prior to reading this trilogy that there will be no happy ending, but one can't help but hold out hope that Tristan and Isolde will live happily ever after. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/02.] - Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Lib., AK Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Scholar-historian Miles, author of the popular Guenevere trilogy (Queen of the Summer Country; The Knight of the Sacred Lake; The Child of the Holy Grail), returns to the Arthurian-era British Isles to weave an ornate tapestry of pride, mysticism and love. This first book in Miles's new Tristan and Isolde trilogy is a fantastical riff on the classic account of passionate star-crossed lovers. The young Isolde is the beautiful Princess of Ireland, the Western Isle. Blessed with the gift of healing, she is also cursed with a wildly passionate mother, the Queen, ruled by her desire for men rather than concern for her people. While the Queen is more caricature than character, the feminist Miles presents a fully realized woman in Isolde: sexual, spiritual, tormented and impassioned. Tristan is nearly as well crafted, first appearing to Isolde as a nameless, wounded pilgrim whom she must nurse back to health, then revealing himself as a glorious young prince. The story line follows the traditional tale, wherein Isolde is betrothed to Tristan's uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, here a bumbling, effete antihero. Rounding out the cast are characters from Arthurian legend: an aging, wise Merlin; the dashing Arthur; his beloved Guenevere, Isolde's friend and former schoolmate. Miles's fantasy-reading audience will welcome her richly worded return to old England. (July) Forecast: The substantial overlap of this new trilogy with the Guenevere series will make this a must-read for fans (the book will be cross-promoted with The Child of the Holy Grail), and Miles's large readership should continue to grow as she fine-tunes her full-blooded approach to mythological storytelling. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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