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Island of the Mighty (Mabinogion Tetralogy #4)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  207 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Book 4 of Walton's Mabinogion series.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 8th 1993 by Collier Books (first published 1936)
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Best Arthurian Fiction
96th out of 370 books — 1,245 voters
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Pre-Tolkien Fantasy
66th out of 132 books — 151 voters

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Island of the Mighty retells the last branch of the Mabinogion, the story of Gwydion, Arianrhod, Llew Llaw Gyffes, Blodeuwedd and Goronwy. It begins with a retelling of stealing the pigs belonging to Lord Pryderi. Gwydion uses this to provoke war, allowing his younger brother to rape the king's footholder. This also leads to the death of Pryderi, which doesn't endear Gwydion to the reader who has also read the retellings of the other three branches -- and also to the disgracing of Arianrhod and ...more
I'm not sure if this is a "retelling" of the Mabinogi, or an "adaptation" or a "novelization" or what. What I am sure of is that it was a lovely, lovely book, full of graceful prose, magic, love and loss. And unpronounceable Welsh names. And maybe just a wee dram of 1930's spiritualism/mysticism courtesy of the author. Highly recommended.
Fraser Sherman
A superb adaptation of the fourth branch of the Mabinogion (a collection of Welsh myths). The magic is powerful (despite Walton's insistence it's just Lost Science), the characters are vivid, though the mysticism is cliched and her handling of gender issues a bit uncomfortable (this was written in the 1930s)--for example, Walton's assertion that before virginity became a concept, rape didn't exist (WTF?). I think it's terrific, even so.
A rich, interesting remake of old Welsh myth. I enjoyed marking the similarities between this and other more modern takes on Celtic lore.
Now that I've finished the Fourth Branch I wish that there was more, time to start reading any related material I can find. ^_^
An exciting adaptation of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi. Walton made it a blast to read, and contextualized it for a slightly less misogynistic audience without bowdlerizing or making it feel inauthentic. I'm ordering the other three parts to read soon!
I'm not sure why, but I couldn't get into this one at all. Main characters were all pretty hateful and selfish, and I didn't like them or care about them. I much prefer Lloyd Alexander's Gwydion!
Originally titled The Virgin and The Swine. Awesome celtic mythology. My father knew the author who was known as "The Blue Lady" because she suffered from a lack of oxygen when she was born.
Wow! Trippy feminist retelling of parts of the Mabanogion. Unexpected and slightly shocking in places.
first half was four stars, second half was five stars, so I'd give it 4.5 if I could:).
Carolyn V.
read it during the 1970s and remember loving it. Need to reread it.
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Evangeline Walton was the pen name of Evangeline Wilna Ensley, an American author of fantasy fiction. She remains popular in North America and Europe because of her “ability to humanize historical and mythological subjects with eloquence, humor and compassion”.
More about Evangeline Walton...

Other Books in the Series

Mabinogion Tetralogy (4 books)
  • Prince of Annwn (Mabinogion Tetralogy #1)
  • The Children of Llyr
  • The Song of Rhiannon
The Mabinogion Tetralogy Prince of Annwn (Mabinogion Tetralogy #1) The Children of Llyr The Song of Rhiannon Witch House

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