Diana L. Paxson,
Ancestors of Avalon
(Viking, 2004)

The world is ending.

The evil that the sorcerer Riveda unleashed when he tried to release chaos from its eternal bounds has conquered at last. Atlantis, the center of light and learning throughout the world, is lost forever when the volcano at its center erupts. Children flee shrieking through the streets, and rich and poor die from falling lava and earthquakes as a few brave priests remain to seal off chaos from the world forever.

One of those who escapes is Tiriki, princess of Atlantis. Daughter of Riveda and of the priestess who remains behind to battle the forces of chaos, Tiriki travels to the new world of the Hesperides.

There, she and her companions will found a place that one day will be England, home to King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake. This book is a true prequel to The Mists of Avalon, exploring the past lives of many characters from Morgaine to Igraine. This book provides a bridge between Marion Zimmer Bradley's oldest novel, now available as The Fall of Atlantis, and her 20th-century urban fantasies, as the characters are reborn to play their roles through hundreds of generations, until they have atoned for the deeds committed in Atlantis.

Yet, as Tiriki forges a home for herself in this new land, she suffers from uncertainty of the fate of her beloved husband, Micail. Meanwhile, in the island's center, Atlantans are using the power of song to carry immense stone blocks over the chalky plains. Here they are building a new temple of light to search the skies for meaning and to direct the powers of goodness.

But how will the priests react when the priestesses reveal the ancient secret that the mother-goddess is growing in power, until she will rule them all, supplanting their beloved god of the sun?

The princes of Atlantis have decided to use the power of the standing stones for domination, to rebuild the vast empire they once ruled. Tiriki and her newfound allies possess the stone, the only thing that can give the Atlantans the power they need, or shatter the stone circle forever. But how can they turn on their brothers and husbands, or allow their new home to be destroyed?

From sorrow through joy, this book tests the characters' spirits, pitting their old way of life against the new until the characters must transform into the people who someday will make up Arthur and his knights. This is a spellbinding story that will carry away readers' hearts.

by Valerie Frankel
22 July 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.