Sunrise of Avalon
This concludes the trilogy, begun in Twilight of Avalon (2009) and Dark Moon of Avalon (2010), which sets the story of Trystan and Isolde in 6th-century Britain amidst the turmoil following Arthur’s death. Britain’s survival is threatened by mistrust and treachery among the British rulers and their Saxon ally Cerdic of Wessex as they confront the forces of Octa of Kent and Marche of Cornwall. The lovers continue to risk their lives in a desperate effort to protect the land and its people, and their sacrifice is beginning to bear fruit as friends increasingly rally to their support. Yet as new warriors flood in from the continent to swell Octa’s ranks, the odds against success remain long. Will the shaky alliance survive the renewed assault? Will the lovers? And will they ever find happiness together? From what we know of history and legend, prospects seem bleak.
Since she presents a credible Dark Age Britain, Elliott, of necessity, reinterprets the traditional material that she draws on. Stripped of courtly romance, the love affair becomes a struggle for survival in a violent and dangerous world. No magical love potion here, but a devotion with its roots in close childhood friendship; Trystan’s sense of unworthiness comes not from courtly convention, but from guilt over past misdeeds; and the external threat is posed not by jealous husbands and scheming courtiers, but by ruthless rulers and savage warbands. Nor does it help Isolde that she is an empathetic healer who feels the anguish of her sorely wounded patients, and in love with a man who seems determined to kill himself. And, oh yes, pregnant. Elliott’s resolution of all these problems is satisfying. Strongly recommended, but read the earlier novels first.