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Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  11,453 ratings  ·  417 reviews

It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, a

MP3 CD, 2 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Of all of the great books I've read around the King Arthur legend, this is my favorite. It is acutally about Merlin's parents, and involves the lost city of Atlantis and it is a beautiful but sad love story. At least that is what I feel when I remember the book; it has been years since I read it. [time passes:] I just looked it up to see if it is still in print, which it is. And what's more interesting is that the description on Amazon talks of a message and symbolism in the story akin to C.S. L ...more
Feb 25, 2011 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian fantasy; Lawhead fans or fantasy fans in general
Recommended to Werner by: It was a common read in one of my groups
Shelves: fantasy
While the above Goodreads description of this book reads like it was a publisher's book-jacket blurb (and it probably was!), the basic description of the premise of this series opener is correct --and aside from its overwrought language, the implied assessment isn't far off the mark, either, as my rating shows. (If I could give half stars, I'd probably have added one.)

That isn't to say that there aren't eye-rolling flaws here. Atlantis, according to Plato (who apparently created the legend out o
Leila Bowers
This five-book series is entitled The Pendragon Cycle, and I will review them all here. I have now taken and taught classes on King Arthur, and this stands as my favorite treatment of the legend. Lawhead is one of my favorite authors anyway, and he does his homework. His writing reflects the oddity of the many Arthurian source texts - Merlin is always problematic, the hugely variable character of Arthur, Guinevere's choices and actions,etc.

Considering if Arthur existed he likely lived around 400
This is my first review here so I thought I would start with one that has meant the most to me. I was blown away from the very start. Stephen Lawhead writes with such a passion for his characters in this book frankly I was surprised. He has taken something that is so familiar and, judging by the many other adaptaions of the Arthurian legend, breathed wonderful new life into it. Taliesin is the seldom told story of the Druid singer Taliesin. Forebear of Merlin who later became teacher, advisor a ...more
Shiloh (Fantastic Reading)
Lawhead's Pendragon cycle gets off to a rocky start with Taliesin. Perhaps it's that I set the bar too high, expecting great things from such a renowned author, or perhaps it's that I'm reading the cycle for my dissertation and hence got overly critical, but either way, the book suffers from poor writing, poor plotting, and a few major historical inaccuracies that ruined it for me.

The writing: passive voice abounds. The dialogue is stilted. The characters are two-dimensional and hardly have any
Jacob Aitken
Begin your Lawhead reading here. In my humble opinion this is Lawhead's best, least cyclical work of the Pendragon series. From reading the other reviews you probably have a plot summary of what's going on. Thus, I won't bore you with them.

THE GOOD ASPECTS OF THE BOOK (and the first few books in the series)
Since no one rightly knows what, if anything, happened to the City of Atlantis, mankind is free to speculate and write fiction about it. The author is to be commended for his retelling of the
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2* of five

The Publisher Says: It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is t
Maggie K
I wish I liked this book more than I did. I should have liked it, it has a lot of stuff I like in it.
But it just seemed to go on and on about things that werent pertinent, and then just gloss over things that it seemed should have got more attention.
In the end, I didnt care enough when main characters died, because I really wasnt understanding their purpose in this world....
I did like the writing, and I get that this novel is mostly just set up for the rest of the series, but i really wanted to
Paul Schulzetenberg
Two stars is a bit harsh for this book, as Lawhead deftly weaves together two separate storylines for much of the book. Charis, our female protagonist in Atlantis, lives some interesting family drama. Meanwhile, Taliesin, our male counterpart, is growing up in Britain as a wunderkind with destiny written all over him. As the cover so coyly tells us, there is a love story coming, and we the readers are left with a surprising amount of tension as we are attempting to figure out how, exactly, these ...more
I really like Arthurian legends. And this one was supposed to be a good one. In some ways it was, and in other ways I did not enjoy the book at all.

This goes way back in the Arthurian legends to tell the tale of Merlin's parents. The beautiful strong Charis of Atlantis. And Taliesin, the enchanting druid bard who is son of a king. The book divides its time between the two and their families, telling of their early years. For Charis, this is the start of a war for her nation, her time spent as a
I wanted to love this book. Truly, I did. It's supposed to be a re-imagining of the Arthurian saga, and since I'm a King Arthur geek, I was excited about starting Taliesin. But I just couldn't get into it. I didn't care about the characters, the plot didn't really accomplish much, and the first half of the book seemed to have almost nothing to do with the second half.

I'm not going to lie, though -- I got a bit of a kick out of fact that the sections were copied directly from the Mabinogion. And
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is about two characters. I loved one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have much use for the other.

Lawhead's prose is never brilliant, but sometimes in simplicity he finds a certain elegance nonetheless, particularly when dealing with characters. Call me a sucker for a tough girl, but I adored the character of Charis. I loved her as a child, I loved her even more as an adult. I loved her as a brash, dangerous, wounded person, living on the edge and excelling. It's all very romanticized
Originally posted at:

Charis is an Atlantean Princess living in a seaside paradise, but too young to understand that Atlantis is on the brink of war. When her family is betrayed and her mother killed, Avallach takes his daughter and their remaining servants into the safety of their stone walled home. Or at least he tries to. Charis is too overwrought with the guilt he places on her over the loss of her mother and joins a religious band of performers, the b
Wanda Hartzenberg
What an astoundingly good epic read.

As a prospective writer I found this book amazing for resting and relaxing as well as a how to guide of how to write time lapses, logically and coherently in about 50 different ways.

The characters show real growth and in such an epic read it is a continual growth process not a onetime thing.

This is really one of the best ever epic fantasy books I have read in a very long list of books in this genre, I will most assuredly recommend this to all fantasy genre
Catherine Thompson
I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book... maybe something that pertained to the Arthur legend? The idea that Atlantis sank in the 4th century is pure bollocks, since anyone who's read a bit of the Classics knows that Plato wrote about it sinking. Lawhead also doesn't know a great deal about Celtic myth, since he called the Dagda--the father-god of the Celts--a *goddess*. Hmf.

This book could have used a good edit, as well. Redundancies left and right, and don't get me started
This book tells simultaneously the story of the fall of Atlantis, the subsequent travel of Princess Charis and her family to Ynys Prydein (Britain), and the discovery and training of Taliesin as a druid-bard. The two eventually meet, marry, and Myrddin (Merlin) is born, just weeks before a tragedy brought about by Charis' jealous half-sister, Morgian.
Mike (the Paladin)
One of the best adaptions of the Aurthorian legend (this is the first step in said legend).

And believe me I'm sick to death of all the adaptions. Enough already King Arthur is a great character but let him rest.

Still this is a good series of books.
Okay, a series on King Arthur opens in Atlantis? Atlantis! It's kind of downhill from there.

It was well done, and a fun read, but I expected better from Lawhead.
I FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK. It was quite boring. The only good part was this quote, "Talking to you is like talking to a cloud."
Sigh. I wish I could give this the five I know it deserves. For the beautiful writings, the wonderful characters, the gorgeous romance, the heartbreaking emotion. But I can't. And here is why. The religious preaching. There I said it. I simply could not stand the obnoxious preaching that happened all too frequently in this book. How all the pagans were portrayed as evil and savage monsters. But really the worst insult was changing a fact of history to suit his own agenda. He baptized Taliesin. H ...more
After half a dozen different friends raved about this series, I finally got ahold of this, the first book, and was completely hooked. The first few chapters were admittedly a little slow, but that didn't last long. I fell in love with the diverse cast of characters and was enthralled by the story: the beginning of another take on the King Arthur legends, one that is looking to be my favorite yet, ingratiated with a plausible and engrossing tale of Atlantis. The Welsh names were fabulous - and I ...more
Toby Brennen
Recommended and given to me by a friend, I can't believe it sat on my shelf for almost 20 years before I picked it up to read! Once started, I could hardly put it down. It has been a long time since I have been so enthralled by a story that I could hardly wait until the next opportunity to sit and continue reading. I am starting 'Merlin' today!

A masterful integration of history, mythology, and story-telling, Lawhead creates a poignant retelling of a very old tale, creating a new vision of the da
Vivian Williams
A slow and clunky novel overall, with all its magical potential weighed down by cliched, sentimental tripe. It starts out with some promise, but about two-thirds of the way through it turns into a dumb Christian-propaganda piece. That right there almost made me throw down the book in disgust, once I realized it, but I made myself finish anyway. Even from the beginning, however, the characters are rather trite: a princess longing for adventure, who gets disillusioned with love and then falls in i ...more
Nimue Brown
The Fisher King coming from Atlantis, and the early Welsh cooking potatoes. It's a mixed bag. If it was a straight fantasy novel, no history, no depending on mythology, I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot more. As rip roaring adventure with a dash of romance, it's a very engaging read. But there's some clunkers in the historical angle, and things like the naming of Merlin, and watching the painfully obvious lead up to this.... just not good. The bull dancing sequences were exquisite. The bits abo ...more
I bought this series way back in high school, but I only just now got around to starting to read it. I don't know why I didn't get around to it sooner; I quite enjoyed this first installment. The style is engaging. The characters aren't wonderful, but they're good enough to carry the story. Interesting set up to what's coming. I'm hoping to fall in love with Lawhead's depictions of Arthur, Merlin, etc. more than I did with the leads in Taliesin (who are Merlin's parents). Certainly not a waste o ...more
Jodi Woody
I haven't read a Stephen Lawhead that I didn't like and this one is no exception. "Taliesin" is the prologue to the tales of Merlin and Arthur. At a time when the old gods are dying, a new God is showing Himself. Atlantis is gone, peace has fled and people are fleeing the darkness. This is only book one of a series and I put off reading it because once you start one of Lawhead's series, you can't just stop. Now off to the library to get the rest of the bunch. This is not a light read, nor I it a ...more
Donna Gersting
Started the book but because I could not pronounce the names and places. Couldn't remember who was who, who was related to who, and where they lived. I really wanted to like it but read 70 pages and I didn't have an idea where the story was headed. Would not recommend thebook
Dee Mellott
Saga of King Arthur..the beginning
Princess Charis lives in the beautiful land of Atlantis, where peace has reigned for years and (in her opinion) nothing exciting ever happens. Her boredom is quickly shattered, however, when the country erupts into civil war and a wild prophet arrives, claiming that the end of Atlantis and everything the Atlantians love is at hand.

Far away from lovely Atlantis lies the rough and uncivilized Isle of Brittan, where the unlucky heir to one clan’s throne, Elphin, stumbles upon a baby abandoned in a
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Nov 2013 - Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead 7 37 Dec 06, 2013 02:04PM  
  • Hawk of May
  • Firelord (Firelord, #1)
  • Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy
  • The Road to Avalon (Dark Ages of Britain, #1)
  • Queen of Camelot
  • The Forever King (Forever King, #1)
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga, #5)
  • Sword at Sunset
  • Pendragon's Banner (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #2)
  • The Skystone (Camulod Chronicles, #1)
  • The Dragon and the Unicorn (Arthor, #1)
  • The Coming of the King (Books of Merlin, #1)
  • In the Shadow of the Oak King (Dragon's Heirs, #1)
  • The Idylls of the Queen: A Tale of Queen Guenevere
  • Enemy of God (The Warlord Chronicles, #2)
  • Child of the Northern Spring (Guinevere, #1)
  • Dragon's Child (King Arthur, #1)
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Also see his fanpage at Myspace:

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned
More about Stephen R. Lawhead...

Other Books in the Series

The Pendragon Cycle (6 books)
  • Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2)
  • Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle #3)
  • Pendragon (The Pendragon Cycle, #4)
  • Grail (The Pendragon Cycle, #5)
  • Avalon: The Return of King Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #6)
Hood (King Raven, #1) Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle #3) Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2) Scarlet (King Raven, #2) The Paradise War (The Song of Albion, #1)

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“...tell me the word that will win you, and I will speak it. I will speak the stars of heaven into a crown for your head; I will speak the flowers of the field into a cloak; I will speak the racing stream into a melody for your ears and the voices of a thousand larks to sing it; I will speak the softness of night for your bed and the warmth of summer for your coverlet; I will speak the brightness of flame to light your way and the luster of gold to shine in your smile; I will speak until the hardness in you melts away and your heart is free...” 69 likes
“They are young and life has no limits. Nothing is impossible, nothing beyond doing or knowing. The world is theirs and everything in it.” 12 likes
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