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The Winter Prince (The Lion Hunters #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,011 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain and, but for an accident of birth, would be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, fragile and inexperienced, is chosen. Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped both his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, he joins Mo ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Baen Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: Chachic, Estara
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2012

It is probably for the best that I didn't realise this book was written by the same author as a book that recently disappointed me - Code Name Verity - because, although everyong else seemed to enjoy this WW2 story of friendship, I found myself bored. The Winter Prince, on the other hand, never lost my attention for a second. This is exactly the kind of fantasy I love and, though I know this is a very bold statement to make, I'd almost go so far as to favourably compare this book to such as The
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
Jan 22, 2013 Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) by: Chachic
[edit] I just upgraded this from four stars to five. Two reasons - one I could not forget the characters of Medraut and Lleu and thought about their beautifully written love/hate relationship for months. It led me to picking up the next book in the series and ultimately to listing the five books as a favorite series]

I listed this as historical because it is a very unique and unusual version of the King Arthur legend. Just very difficult to explain how this is done. The names are different and ch
Tiffany Reisz
Aug 27, 2014 Tiffany Reisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wizard-books
My all time favorite fantasy novel. The seeds of the Original Sinners series are in this book. I read it at age 14 and again last year. It was even better to read as an adult. I was shocked when I read the blond hero saying "Little One" to his half-brother. SO THAT'S WHERE I GOT THAT!

Seriously, wonderful dark book. No sex but very erotic. My first introduction to S&M in fiction. The lead character was probably the inspiration for Søren (along with Lacroix from the TV show Forever Knight).
Will return to this and write more, but this just wasn't my kind of book, though it was recommended by people whose taste I trust completely. I just found it very, very stressful reading along, not liking either Lleu or Medraut much but dreading the betrayal that's to come anyway. It was well-written, but if you don't like the characters AND have a lot of resistance to the whole 'rightful heir is naturally going to be the shining one' view of monarchy, this hasn't much for you in it. (Yes, I do ...more
Aug 02, 2013 Liviania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a little bit of a Retro Review for me, although not entirely. I just about burst with glee when I saw that THE WINTER PRINCE and A COALITION OF LIONS were back in print. Two reasons for this: 1) I needed a copy of THE WINTER PRINCE for my own and 2) Now I can spread the love more easily! If the last three books come back into print that will just be the icing on the cake. (Warning: do not read the fourth book until you have the fifth book handy.)

Nowadays Elizabeth Wein is well known as t
Jan 03, 2013 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary book, focussing on the relationship between Arthur's two sons, Medraut (Mordred) and his half-brother Lleu. The book succeeds in creating a very distinctive atmosphere, combining an intense psychological realism with a sense of myth and archetype. In this respect, it reminded me a little of Clemence Housman's Life of Aglovale de Galis (a book which I loved, though found myself unable to finish because it was too slow).
Dec 25, 2012 jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fantasy-sf
elizabeth wein always writes about love. this book is about tortured love, hurt love, torn love, and ultimately, gloriously, healed love. it's very beautiful, written with gold ink. it's stunning passage after stunning passage. and it gets down to the depths of the human heart, where goodness and terrible rage live side by side, always, always. (it's also a brilliant depiction of a sado-masochistic mother-son relationship, and of the hurt and torture such a relationship brings to the heart).
Althea Ann
Mar 06, 2013 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
This is a companion novel to “A Coalition of Lions". Sequentially, it comes before ‘Coalition,’ but both are fully stand-alone novels – where ‘Coalition’ tells a story from the perspective of the princess Goewin, ‘Winter Prince’ is her brother Medraut’s story. But more than his story, it is an exploration of love and jealousy.
The milieu and characters of the book (very) roughly correspond to the classic Arthurian tales – Medraut is Mordred, bastard child of incest between Artos and his sister Mo
After finishing The Winter Prince, I had to stop for a minute to think about it -- do I like it? How much did I enjoy it? The style is very interesting: it seems to be straight first person narration at times, but when Medraut's mother appears, it becomes apparent that he's addressing the story to her. It deals with one of the issues that lie at the heart of the Arthurian mythos, often blamed for the fall of Camelot: the incest between Arthur and his sister. It works out the issues, in a way, bi ...more
Hazel West
Mar 11, 2014 Hazel West rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughts on the Overall Book: Okay, this is one of those books I have a really hard time rating. I loved it, and yet, is it really a book you can actually like for just the characters, or just the story line? Not really, but as a whole it's great. I cringed reading it, there's so much angst, and I sped through it with bated breath because that's the only way you can read a book like this. And for that reason, I loved it.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Not my favorite cover. It's a little dated, not horrible
Maureen E
by Elizabeth Wein

I kept hearing this title and author in the book recommendation threads on Sounis and then several other people mentioned it. So I finally checked it out. And, man, were they ever right!

Except for the prologue, the book is told in first person, from the point of view of Medraut, the illegitimate son of Artos, high king of Britain. Medraut is a complicated character. He both loves and hates his mother, Morgause, and while he loves his father, he also craves the power he knows he
Wein writes these amazing adversarial relationships between strong characters who each have morality on their side, and who relate to each other with genuine affection, but are doomed to conflict anyway. That's an oversimplification, but the best way to describe the emotions that power this novel, which is a fascinating character study of Medraut (more commonly known as Mordred, King Arthur's illegitimate and incestuously conceived son). It leads to two more novels in this trilogy which have not ...more
Fake Name

Odd. An interesting take on what would have happened in Guinevere had been able to have children after all. I'm not sure I've seen that before.
It was all a bit fast for me; I felt I never really got to know Medraut, and so didn't quite understand his actions. I think the book could have benefited from being a little longer and giving some more background.
The names used were also an interesting choice. I wish Goewin had had a different name; I kept confusing her with Gawain (the author uses Gaw
Apr 14, 2012 Keertana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I can truthfully say that I have never read a book like The Winter Prince ever before and I don't think I ever will, simply because the characters are so tortured, the plot so unique, and the ideas so haunting. Perhaps I should start off by saying that The Winter Prince is not a book for everyone. The perspective it is told from is strange, the amount of incestuous relationships is bizarre, and the story is immensely psychological. Despite that however, I found myself drawn into
Nov 17, 2010 Elisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was interesting... It took me a while to get into it but once I did I found it quite gripping. The character of Medraut's mother (Morgause)- who just happens to be his father's sister(!) - was especially interesting. I did think she was just a bit TOO evil - she had no good in her at all, which doesn't make for a believable character. I was left wondering what had happened to her in her childhood to make her such an amoral, embittered and emotionally/physically abusive person! I would ...more
I don't just love this book; I am imprinted on it. I first read it, far too young to understand anything, when I was in about second grade, which must have been around the time it was originally published. And while I didn't understand it at all then, the image from the prologue, of the boy sitting with his back to the fire, face in shadows, stuck in my mind. When I finally reread it at about 13, it blew me away and became immediately ensconced in my personal pantheon of Favorite Books; along wi ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished this, I'm not quite sure what to think of it, but I was utterly captivated by the writing. I loved the style of prose. The overall tone of the novel reminded me a little bit of Robin McKinley's Deerskin. I don't think it was perfect by any means, but the style of storytelling used here is something I'm quite fond of, that feeling of elusiveness of story, wondering what is really going on, the reader kept in slight confusion. I really enjoyed it because of that.
May 07, 2011 Jess rated it really liked it
Here's what I had to say the first time I read this:

This was a small book, but pleasantly dense, with characters who straddled that fine line between likable and unlikable in a realistic way. The story uses Arthurian legend, but minus any trappings of chivalry or fantasy or the Romantic period - the world felt more like something out of Rosemary Sutcliff, with the types of political and family tensions that fans of Megan Whalen Turner would relish. Not for reluctant readers, but the characters a
Mar 03, 2013 Deirdre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I think fans of Megan Whalen Turner might love this one.

It is an amazingly original Arthurian retelling, from the point of view of Medraut (Mordred), who is -- and struggles to be-- an awesome character, despite the way his circumstances, and particularly his mother, have twisted him.

The conflicted relationship between Medraut and his half brother, Lleu, is fascinating. It struck me -- particularly when I was reading the ending -- that they are both rather like Megan Whalen Turner's Eugenides. L
Jul 20, 2011 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I revisit it practically once a year. A retelling of the Arthurian legend, from the point of view of Arthur's illegitimate son Medraut. The excellent twist is that in this version, Arthur and his queen had heirs, and Medraut has been assigned to train his rival to the throne. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for it's incredibly drawn characters, beautiful prose and compelling plot. Unfortunately it is out of print now, but thanks to Ama ...more
I'm DNF at 33%. I'm having a hard time staying focused and I just got a review arc that I really want to read which is making it harder. I might revisit at some point.
Maya Chhabra
May 03, 2016 Maya Chhabra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"'Have you ever loved anything?'

'Yes. Yes. All the wrong things. The hunt, and darkness, and winter, and you, Godmother.'"
This is a book I wish I had written.

It is a first novel, and cool and sharp and glittering, like a heavy, hanging icicle. It is very dark, with just enough hints of the backstory to let you fill the rest in for yourself.

It is an Arthurian retelling, focused on Mordred, in a version in which Arthur has legitimate heirs.

The narrator, Medraut, is complicated and brave and oh-so-
Erin Stuhlsatz
Apr 11, 2015 Erin Stuhlsatz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew Elizabeth Wein also wrote medieval fantasy/fiction??? While very unlike CNV, The Winter Prince shared CNV's attention to detail, richly emotional characters, and strong women whose strength is underestimated.

The Winter Prince kept me searching for the King Arthur story. There is a King Artos, his wife Ginevra, evil sister/witch Morgause. But it wasn't--it was a coming-of-age, finding-your-place-in-the-world, learning-to-love-the-brother-who-gets-to-be-king-instead-of-you story. The mai
Verity Brown
Jan 11, 2015 Verity Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of dark fantasy

If I had to sum this book up in just a few words, this is how I would describe it: The Mists of Avalon for a YA audience. Not that there is any significant resemblance in plotline or characters between the two stories, aside from the inherent ones that result from retelling Arthurian legend. But this book gives a similarly dark look at the tangled love and hate in a dysfunctional Dark Age family.

The main character here is Medraut (Mordred), who has already experienced and suffered a great deal w
Hey so apparently Code Name Verity wasn't Elizabeth Wein's first rodeo on the emotional brutality circuit. The Winter Prince is just as ruthlessly precise in its restrained depiction of wild and complicated feelings under stressful situations. And, okay, I feel like that description is something that only makes sense to me, but the beauty in Wein's writing is in that contradictory dynamic: careful narrators committed to truth, and all sorts of hard love blooming underneath the surface of that na ...more
i've only read Code Name Verity for Elizabeth and was hesitant about reading this one, because I rarely read historical fiction, much. However, Tiffany Reisz, one of my favorite authors of all times suggested we read this if we want to see the inspiration behind one of her own characters, Søren, and as it turned out, the similarity is uncanny!!
the younger Søren is more similar to Medraut.

anyway, the book is well written but not the best work, i'm guessing, compared to CNV, and other books conce
Dec 27, 2015 H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Arthurian tale told from the POV of Medraut (Mordred). Although the oldest son of Artos, Medraut cannot be king because his mother is Morgause, Artos' sister. A young man in his 20s, Medraut returns home from ambassadorial duties and travels in Africa and the Middle East and two years with his treacherous mother to find the heir of Arthur on death's door. Using the skills learned from his mother and in his travels, Medraut heals the young prince, and becomes his tutor and mentor. But Medraut ...more
Courtney Schafer
I first got interested in reading Wein's Lion Hunters series because I heard later books in it compared to Megan Whalen Turner's excellent Queen's Thief novels (one of my favorite YA series ever). Yet I hesitated to pick up The Winter Prince because of the blurb - I thought, oh no, not *another* reworking of Arthurian legend! Yet after reading Wein's Code Name Verity and loving it, I decided to forge ahead regardless of qualms - and I'm so glad I did. The Winter Prince is Arthurian, yes, but it' ...more
This is a skewed version of a portion of the Arthurian legend. Unlike the tradional version, High King Artos has two legitimate children (twins) by his queen Ginevra. The book begins with the king explaining to his older son Medraut that they had not expected that the queen could have children, and that he didn't love Medraut any less.

Fast-forward 14 years. The twins Lleu and Goewin are teenagers; Medraut is a young man. Most of the book is about the conflicted relationship between Lleu and Medr
Sherwood Smith
Jun 24, 2009 Sherwood Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I actually read this after the next one had come out. I was already invested in the story. This one is not as skillfully written as the later ones, but it introduces one to the storyline, and this mixture of Africa and the matter of Britain is so unusual, so well drawn, there is nothing else like it.
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The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein 1 21 Jan 18, 2009 01:56PM  
  • The Idylls of the Queen: A Tale of Queen Guenevere
  • Sword at Sunset
  • I Am Mordred
  • Queen of the Summer Stars (Guinevere, #2)
  • The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #1)
  • In the Shadow of the Oak King (Dragon's Heirs, #1)
  • Hawk of May
  • Guinevere (Guinevere, #1)
  • The Tricksters
  • The Book of Mordred
  • Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur
  • The King's Name (Tir Tanagiri, #2)
  • Bloodline Rising (Bloodline, #2)
  • In Camelot's Shadow (The Paths to Camelot, #1)
  • Firelord (Firelord, #1)
  • Westmark (Westmark #1)
  • The Road Home (Echo Company, #5)

Code Name Verity is my sixth novel.
More about Elizabeth Wein...

Other Books in the Series

The Lion Hunters (5 books)
  • A Coalition of Lions (The Lion Hunters, #2)
  • The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3)
  • The Lion Hunter (The Lion Hunters, #4)
  • The Empty Kingdom (The Lion Hunters, #5)

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“There is no end,” I said. “Only the beginning of something else.” 2 likes
“In trust and wisdom you can be as far superior to anyone as you dare make yourself.” 1 likes
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