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Reading Recommendations Central Page
















Ladies of Lallybroch

Reading Recommendations

Historical Fantasy

 

Marion Zimmer Bradley - Mist of Avalon Series

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The Mists of Avalon
From Amazon.com: Even readers who don't normally enjoy Arthurian legends will love this version, a retelling from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Morgaine (more commonly known as Morgan Le Fay) and Gwenhwyfar (a Welsh spelling of Guinevere) struggle for power, using Arthur as a way to score points and promote their respective worldviews. The Mists of Avalon's Camelot politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain; Christianity vs. Faery, and God vs. Goddess are dominant themes. Young and old alike will enjoy this magical Arthurian reinvention by science fiction and fantasy veteran Marion Zimmer Bradley. --Bonnie Bouman
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The Forest House, aka The Forests of Avalon (UK)
Before the Mists obscured the Isle of Avalon, there was the Forest House; where, in a remote part of Britain, a secret circle of Druidic priestesses guarded the ancient rites of learning, healing, and prophecy against the inexorable approach of the Roman Empire. Young Eilan, born to a Druidic family, is ripening toward womanhood and the flowering of an inner power she hardly dares dream of. Already she hears the call of the Great Goddess -- and it will be she who is ceremonially chosen as the new High Priestess when the reigning Priestess of the Oracle dies. But first, Eilan hears another voice -- that of her love for the young Roman Gaius Macellius, whose mission is to subdue her native land and all its seemingly pagan ways. But Eilan must find the courage to renounce her lover for her sacred destiny... For within the Forest House's realm also dwell the bitter priestess Dieda, who, against her will, makes a pact that will bind her to Eilan forever; and the rebellious young priestess Caillean, who protects Eilan with a passion that runs far deeper than duty. Yet it is the Arch-Druid Ardanos, by turns the High Priestess's greatest ally and most ruthless enemy, who could destroy the Forest House, should he learn the terrible secret Eilan guards as fiercely as her life. The war that rages within Eilan mirrors the turbulence of her times; as the legions of Rome move closer, Eilan must rely on the power and magic of the Great Goddess to find her way out of the labyrinth in which fate has placed her... Like her classic bestseller The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley's new novel is a tapestry of myth, mystery, and romance, rich in the detail of the Druids' timeless rituals. The Forest House is a mesmerizing epic of a woman's mythic role at a turning point in history - brought to magnificent, unforgettable life.
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Lady of Avalon
Like the inhabitants of the mystical Avalon, readers of Lady of Avalon will feel they have been transported to another world - a world of myth, magic, romance, and history. This novel spans the creation of Avalon itself and foreshadows the birth of the legendary King Arthur. Here, we meet three remarkable holy women who steer the fortunes of Roman Britain as they struggle with their own destinies:. Caillean retreats to the island of Avalon with a small band of priestesses. There she establishes a sisterhood to serve the Great Goddess, raises the heir to the mystic royal line, and veils Avalon from a hostile world in its everlasting mists. The astute Dierna guides Avalon through treacherous political waters by marrying a young priestess to a Roman general... only to discover that love -- especially her own -- cannot be so easily controlled. Ana gives birth to a baby girl who will be the mother of the great King to come. But it is her beautiful and feisty oldest daughter, Viviane, who is destined for true greatness -- as the famed Lady of the Lake and guardian of the Grail.
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Molly Cochran, Warren Murphy - The Forever King Series

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The Forever King
At ten years old, Arthur Blessing stumbles upon the Holy Grail and becomes its guardian, protecting it from evil men who would try to steal it. Determined to possess the Holy Grail, Saladin, a dark sorcerer, kidnaps Arthur, King Arthur reborn, and it is up to former FBI agent Hal Woczniak to rescue the young king and save Camelot.
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The Broken Sword: The Return of King Arthur
Beatrice, who is blind, has found the Holy Grail. When she touches it, her vision is restored -- and she gains strange, mystical powers. Drawn to the young king by the Grail's magic, Beatrice becomes Arthur's companion as he returns from the Middle East to the United States. What should be a simple trip is instead fraught with peril. Even in the technological age, there are those who use magic -- and not always for good. An evil sorcerer covets the Holy Grail and the power it conveys, and he'll do anything to get it. Meanwhile, the Knights of the Round Table are confused by the modern world. Chivalry as they knew it seems to be dead, and no one knows how to fight a good duel anymore. Led by Hal, who was once Galahad, the knights learn to ride motorcycles instead of horses and how to drink beer instead of mead. But they never forget their true mission -- to protect and serve the High King. When Excalibur is shattered by an evil magician, Arthur seems defenseless, and the dream of the Round Table seems once again doomed. But the Round Table is a dream that never truly dies, and though still a teenager, Arthur is truly the High King, with all the power that title implies. Camelot will rise again.
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J. Suzanne Frank - Reflections in the Nile Series

cover Reflections in the Nile Time Travel
While visiting her archaeologist sister in Egypt, Dallas artist Chloe Kingsley steps into a forbidden chamber and is whisked back in time to 1452 B.C.E. Caught in a maelstrom of political and personal intrigue, she meets and falls in love with Lord Cheftu, a court magus and physician. Embroiled in a slave revolt led by Moses, Chloe and Cheftu must make an agonizing choice between love and duty -- leaving powerful testimony for generations to come.
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cover Shadows on the AegeanTime Travel
Chloe Kingsley expected to wake up in 1997; instead, fate and a rip in the fabric of time-space are sending Chloe to a mysterious ancient culture, another woman's body, and an enormous test of her love for Cheftu the physician. In Aztlan, an advanced civilization set on a volcanic isle in the Aegean, Chloe becomes Sibylla, a prophetess about to enter the political arena and ceremonial bull rings of a dazzling, decadent kingdom. Soon enmeshed in a royal power struggle and a contest to become the consort of Phoebus Apollo, a charismatic young prince, Chloe is threatened by palace schemes and deadly passions. Though her outward appearance is changed, undeniable love draws Chloe and Cheftu together again. Visions of a terrifying catastrophe inspire Chloe and Cheftu to desperately try to save Aztlan from utter destruction. But already the rumblings of doom are shaking a glorious culture that created labyrinths and a new panoply of gods, as two lovers, sworn to be together for eternity, are torn apart by cruel rituals, twisted ambition... and heinous murder.
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cover Sunrise on the MediterraneanTime Travel
Chloe and Cheftu find themselves at a pivotal point in history, when the future of Western civilization - not to mention their own lives -- hangs in the balance. As Cheftu strives to reclaim the gold of the Exodus, Chloe must use all her modern-day strategic skills to help a young king named David conquer Jerusalem. But unknown dangers lurk everywhere, even off the battlefield, for the wicked Egyptian priestess RaEm, a time-tripping veteran herself, despises Chloe and has vowed to annihilate her.
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coverStephen Lawhead - Avalon: The Return of King ArthurScotland
In the Scottish Highlands, Captain James Arthur Stuart makes a remarkable discovery: he does not merely share the name of the legendary King of Summer -- he is, in fact, King Arthur reborn!
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Diana L. Paxson - The White Raven
Diana Paxson plunges into a riveting world of fantasy shot with the stark reality of post-Arthurian times. It is a world where fidelity breeds betrayal and love spirals into a hatred so strong it rocks kingdoms a world where all is not is at seems. Tristan and Isolt told from a Celtic historical perspective.
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coverSusan Price - The Sterkarm HandshakeTime Travel
The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price is an extraordinarily detailed historical-modern science fiction novel in which members of a team of researchers from the 21st century travel through a time tube into the lives of the Sterkarm clan in 16th-century England. At first the narrative concerns itself with the creation of a realistic and believable portrayal of the living conditions and the relationships of a tough, violent group of people whose feelings for each other are not that dissimilar from those of human being living 500 years later. As the novel progresses the relations between the 20th-century individuals and the Sterkarms simultaneously deteriorate and deepen. Incidents pile one upon the other, the sense of conflict increases and the action becomes both increasingly violent and increasingly complicated. External action is balanced by the development of internal feelings and one of the modern team, a young girl named Andrea, falls deeply in love with a young Sterkarmer.
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Judith Merkle Riley - A Vision of Light Series

cover A Vision of Light Scotland
14th century England -- a time of crude country villages, brawling towns, and splendid cities teeming with untold riches and strange wonders. A Vision of Light explores women's roles in the fourteenth century, through the life of Margaret of Ashbury.
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cover In Pursuit of the Green Lion Scotland
From Library Journal: A sequel to A Vision of Light, this novel continues the story of spunky Margaret, widowed once again and married to acerbic scholar Gregory who rescues her from her former husband's rapacious relatives only to plunge her into the midst of his own family's greedy machinations to control her wealth. The eternal wars of the 14th century beckon, however, and Gregory, now a knight in the Duke of Lancaster's forces in France, is captured. Margaret, accompanied by wise Mother Hilde and alchemist Brother Malachi journeys to the stronghold of the sinister Count of St. Medard, where once again her unusual powers and quick wit overcome the forces of evil.
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coverJudith Merkle Riley - The Oracle GlassScotland
With imaginative verve, intelligence, and exceptional detail, The Oracle Glass captures the rich tang of one of history's most irresistible eras. Spinning actual police records from the reign of Louis XIV into a darkly captivating story, it follows the fortunes of Genevieve Pasquier, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been transformed into an imperious, seemingly infallible fortune-teller... Genevieve is a skinny, precocious little monkey with a mind full of philosophy and the power to read the swirling waters of an oracle glass -- for a demimonde who will believe anything. Left for dead by her family, Genevieve is taken in by La Voisin, an ingenious occultist and omnipotent society fortune-teller. La Voisin also rules a secret society of witches - -abortionists and poisoners -- who manipulate the lives of the rich and scandalous all the way up to the throne. Tutored by La Voison, Genevieve creates a new identity for herself -- as the mysterious Madame de Morville, complete with an antique black dress, a powdered face, a cane, and a wickedly sarcastic streakwho is supposedly nearly one hundred fifty years old. Even the reigning mistress of the Sun King himself consults Madame de Morville on what the future holds for her. And as Madame de Morville, Genevieve can revel in what women are usually deniedpower, an independent income, and the opportunity to speak her mind. Beneath her intelligence and wit, what drives Genevieve is a private revenge - but what she doesn't expect is for love to come in the bargain.
Diana Gabaldon: "Open the pages, and out comes a whiff of brimstone, as The Oracle Glass transports you to the Paris of kings and witches, on a guided tour of corruption, love, and sorcery."
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coverJudith Merkle Riley - The Serpent Garden Scotland
The book opens in Tudor England, where Henry VIII and his Machiavellian counselor Cardinal Wolsey are scheming to put an English heir on the French throne. They are arranging to marry Henry's pretty, frivolous younger sister, Mary, to the aging king of France, and they are succeeding thanks in no small measure to a breathtaking miniature of Mary that has been delivered secretly into the king's hands. Everyone wants to know the identity of the painter who created this small miracle, and speculation is rampant. Because women are not allowed in the painters' guild, no one suspects that the artist is a woman, Susanna Dallet, who has been bitterly disappointed by her cad of a husband, who left her widowed and penniless with only her nearly divine talent for portrait painting to sustain herself. Susanna catches the eye and not-quite-benign protection of the manipulative, scheming, brilliant Wolsey -- who is utterly captivated by her wit, her independence, and her uncanny gift for capturing character with the delicate strokes of her tiny brush. Placed in the entourage of the princess-bride as she travels stormy seas to the royal wedding, Susanna unknowingly carries with her to France the key to a secret that will embroil her in the diabolical plots swirling through the French court. But high in the rigging of the princess's silk-bannered ship sits the angel of art, who not only snatches Susanna from danger but rewards her courage and feisty resourcefulness with the love of an intelligent -- and devastatingly attractive -- hero.
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S. M. Stirling - Island in the Sea of TimeTime Travel
It's spring on Nantucket and everything is perfectly normal, until a sudden storm blankets the entire island. When the weather clears, the island's inhabitants find that they are no longer in the late twentieth century... but have been transported instead to the Bronze Age! Now they must learn to survive with suspicious, warlike peoples they can barely understand and deal with impending disaster, in the shape of a would-be conqueror from their own time.
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T. H. White - The Once and Future King
The whole world knows and loves this book. It is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlin and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged.
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coverConnie Willis - Doomsday BookTime Travel Scotland
Connie Willis labored five years on this story of a history student in 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. The student arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Her dealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historian cohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark, deep conclusion. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula Awards, draws upon Willis' understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.
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coverConnie Willis - To Say Nothing of the DogTime Travel
From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel... Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier. But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past. Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right -- not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.
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