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CompleteMartialArts.com - Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Essylte

Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Essylte
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Manufacturer: Del Rey
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.6
EAN: 9780345456502
ISBN: 0345456505
Label: Del Rey
Manufacturer: Del Rey
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 432
Publication Date: 2003-12-30
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: 2003-12-30
Studio: Del Rey

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Editorial Reviews:

It is a generation after the fall of Camelot. The legendary figures of Britain’s brief but shining renaissance—Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere—are gone but not forgotten. Their memories live on in song and story. But Arthur’s dream of a united Britain is fading fast. The hard-won alliance of independent kingdoms is fracturing. Sensing weakness, defeated enemies are returning.

Such is the world of Tristan, Prince of Lyonesse. Born with the soul of a poet and the heart of a warrior, Tristan has been pushed aside by his uncle, Markion, who is determined to succeed King Constantine. Because he shares Markion’s dream of restoring the faded glory of Camelot, Tristan supports his Uncle’s claims to the High King’s throne, against the better judgment of his friends.

Markion dispatches Tristan as his trusted agent to fetch his new bride, the daughter of King Percival. As soon as Tristan sets his eyes on the beautiful Essylte, and Essylte sees the handsome Tristan, a fateful love blooms between the two young people, a love that knows no law but its own fierce and imperious demands. Now, torn between duty and desire, Tristan and Essylte will risk everything—their lives, their souls, Britain itself—to be together. . . .

This powerful tale of love, betrayal, and redemption has echoed down the ages. Acclaimed author Nancy McKenzie brings it stunningly to life for a new generation.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: You may not understand this review if you don't know the story told within
Comment: I don't know why, but I tend to get stuck on some stories and search for every book written about them. I obsess over Elizabeth I's relationship with Robert Dudley, faithfully search out tales about and of Sharazard, and lately, I want to know everything about Tristan and Isolde. That's why I picked this book.

This is the story of doomed young love. Tristan, a young knight whose birthright to the high throne of Britain was taken by his Uncle (with his help actually, he gave it up) is sent by the same Uncle (Mark) to fetch his bride from Wales. She is fifteen and will marry over forty Mark. Her name is Esselte.

Of course-you know the story. This is a pretty good re-telling of it but for a few details-the poisoned sword wound that Tristan received is just stupidly healed and treated. Tristan has a gay Uncle (nothing wrong with that) who lends nothing to the story but pops up now and then. Esselte's mother is absurd in her hatred of Esselte and Branwen's actions-she delivered the love potion to our lovers and then agrees to sleep with Mark secretly in Esselte's place-are confusing.

This book has also fallen to a classic mistake that comes with retelling this story. Mark of Cornwall is stupid, mean and downright evil at times. This is supposed to be a triangle of love, respect and duty between a devoted nephew, a wife doing her duty and a king. Instead Tristan constantly bemoans that he cannot save Esselte from the evil Mark. Clearly he could have at any time. His excuse of it taking down the British alliance is stupid-Mark's own actions in this book cause that.

In short the romance in this book is far better than in the other version I read recently, the White Raven by Diana L. Paxton, who focused solely on Branwen's tale. But it's still not very romantic. This book is also far better than Rosalind Miles series-which I'm sorry but was so boring I almost died.

I have to say that the recent movie did a far better job of making three likable characters for the triangle, and the dialog was perfect-not too sappy romantic stuff-but real words from people in a horribly desperate situation.

On its own this book gets 3.5 stars, but I'm still looking for a novel retelling of this story I can love. Who knows, maybe I'll just write it myself.


Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Never approaches the glory of her previous books
Comment: Queen of Camelot is one of my favorite pieces of modern Arthurian fiction- I absolutely loved it. Though I actually prefer how the story was originally published, as two separate books (The Child Queen and The High Queen) which were later consolidated into one volume and some slight changes made.

I therefore was prepared to love this book, as the tale of Tristan and Isolde is one of my favorites. I can't even begin to explain how very disappointed I was as I struggled through this book.

It literally was a struggle to finish. I think the crucial difference is that in Queen of Camelot you truly get to know the characters- they have depth, and life, and you feel as though you know them personally and become very invested in what happens to them. In Prince of Dreams, that depth is very much lacking. She skips from place to place and shoots forward in time so often than you never feel as though you are watching them live their lives; you're just skimming through a summary.

Which is why, to me and obviously to others, Essylte often comes across as a whiner. I didn't care about her because I knew virtually nothing about her- she was just a shell, and her problems didn't touch me at all. The children (who are arguably the biggest victims of circumstance) are treated very dismissively, so it's hard to care about them either. Tristan has a bit more warmth and depth and we spend more time with him, but he doesn't manage to save the book as his nature- self-destructiveness and all- isn't explored and he generally ends up coming across as just being selfish.

The only real interest stirred in me at all was caused by Branwen, Essylte's maid (among other things); I spent a good portion of the book anticipating her next move and wondering what surprises she might have in store that might not necessarily follow traditional tellings of the story.

All in all, a very disappointing read from an author I expected greater things from. I'm sure that many people will be able to read and enjoy it, but after the richness and depth of Queen of Camelot, this book falls far short of my expectations.


Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A Fresh New Perspective on Tristan & Essylte!
Comment: It would seem the story of Tristan and Essylte would be a much told, tired story by now. However, this author puts some new twists on the old legend and breathes life into its characters. The fates are against these two lovers from the beginning but they try to make a valiant showing throughout the book. Essylte's maidservant, Branwen, is not what she seems and she brings about many of the circumstances Essylte and Tristan endure. King Markion, who is now high king of Britain is Tristan's uncle and wishes to wed the Welsh Princess to bring unity to Britain. Unfortunately, his scope is very limited and Tristan and many others only support him because there is no one better to do so. Except for Tristan, of course, however, he does not desire the high kingship, only Essylte, someone he is never destined to have.

It is a wild ride with much intrigue and many interesting twists that will keep the reader enthralled from beginning to end. I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in "The Matter of Britain."


Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Destruction in slow motion...
Comment: Don't get me wrong. Nancy McKenzie's prose evokes a distant time. You can hear the storm pounding against the castle walls, smell the blood of Saxon battles, and feel the anguish in Tristan's heart as he longs for a woman he loves but cannot have. And yet...despite the beauty of the language and the vivid characters, I felt a mounting frustration with the doomed Tristan and Esseulte.

These are not an English set of Romeo and Juliet. The Shakespearean lovers only destroyed one other person besides themselves. Tristan and Esseulte manage to destroy friends, family, unborn babies, and kingdoms by their obsession with each other. They refuse to give the other up despite numerous separations, yet neither one will sacrifice all their supposed obligations to other people to be together. It is this refusal to totally commit that involves others in their destructive orbit. Tristan comes off as poetically self-destructive while Esseulte whines.

If you like your romances large in scope and filled with doomed lovers, then you may enjoy this book. Otherwise, it may be an exercise in screaming frustration.


Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Heart-wrenching
Comment: The tale of Tristan and Essylte - a beautiful but tragic love story. This is sort of the Romeo and Juliet of ancient Briton.
I know the story mainly from the books by R. Miles - but Nancy McKenzie has a style of writing that is second-to-none. She spins a new twist on the story and ties it beautifully to her earilier book "Grail Prince". I couldn't put this down - the descriptions of their feelings for each other - their love - their desperation - their heart-wrenching separations and breath-taking reunions...McKenzie takes you there. You feel it with them and if you've ever been in love you feel it with every beautifully woven detail of the story. McKenzie continues to craft masterful works centered around the Arthurian legends and this one certainly did not disappoint!


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