Synopsis according to Goodreads:
“Marion Zimmer Bradley’s beloved Avalon saga continues with the dramatic story of the ancestors of Avalon, from their life on the doomed island of Atlantis to their escape to the mist-shrouded isle of Britain.“
I read Mists of Avalon back in high school, and though I don’t remember the details, I recall that I loved it. So I picked Ancestors of Avalon up at a library fundraiser book sale, with the intention of reading the series in timeline-order (not publishing-order).
I’m glad I recall nothing of the finer plot pots from before, because this is clearly a different story (although the author’s note at the end explains the common thread throughout). Apparently each novel in the series stands alone, but builds on the character of previous books as reincarnated versions of themselves. I loved this device in Katharine Kerr’s Deverry series (coolest interpretation of a love triangle ever!), but it fell a little flat here.
The characters went through some lovely growth, humility, independence, etc in a way that felt very natural. It just wasn’t very engaging for me- and I’m not sure why. There was magic, hardship, journey, loss, love…but it just felt distant. It bothers me that I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but maybe the novel felt a bit rushed.
Either way, this was a fine story, and clearly part of a larger epic. I’m impatient, so I’m skipping over the next two Avalon novels and jumping right to Forests of Avalon. I’m hoping it’ll feel more engaging, but even if it doesn’t I’ll continue the series- I like having backstory!
In all, I recommend this to fans of magic, Atlantis and a mystical early Briton/Wales, the mystery of Stonehenge, non-steamy romance, and Marion Zimmer Bradley (or Diana L. Paxson, who compiled this novel after Bradley’s death, from her notes) style of storytelling.