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The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga #5)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,177 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The bestselling author of the acclaimed Merlin Trilogy returns to the magical world of King Arthur and Camelot--to tell a story of daring adventure, unexpected love, and unsurpassed enchantment. . . .ALEXANDER THE FATHERLESS

Eager, burning, and young, Alexander has come of age to take vengeance on the treacherous King of Cornwall who murdered his father. He sets off toward
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 2nd 1997 by Ivy Books (first published January 1st 1995)
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The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
206th out of 367 books — 1,243 voters
The Crystal Cave by Mary StewartThe Hollow Hills by Mary StewartThe Last Enchantment by Mary StewartThe Wicked Day by Mary StewartThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Arthurian Reads
20th out of 54 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

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Julie Bozza
I really enjoyed this novel. It's rather shorter and lighter than Stewart's other Arthurian novels, but that's no bad thing in itself. It also takes place elsewhere in Arthurian Britain (as well as on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Tours), so is somewhat tangential to the core legends.

The novel tells the tales of Alice the Pretty Pilgrim and Alexander the Fatherless. The two characters and their stories can be found in Malory, but Stewart has woven a full novel from such brief allusive origins.

Fifth in the series of Aurtherian Legend stories, this was not my favorite. Prince Alexander sets out for Camelot to avenge his father's death by the King of Cornwall, but is side tracked along the way by Morgan LeFay, Arthur's sister who bewitches him with drugged wine & attention. She then sends him on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
He sets off & along the way meets Alice, the motherless daughter of a royal duke who has traveled extensively with him including to Jerusalem more than o
Prince Alexander is born into a dangerous world, since his father is brother to the volatile, unpopular March, King of Cornwall. March murders his brother, leaving widowed Princess Anna and young Alexander vulnerable and fleeing for their lives. Years pass and just before Alexander turns 18 his mother shares the truth of his past with him and taxes him with the quest to avenge his father. Alexander falls into the hands of Morgan, who of course enchants and seduces him, before he at last finds hi ...more
This story may not burn with the white radiance of Stewart's Merlin trilogy, but it is, nevertheless, a joy to be allowed to re-inhabit ancient Britain, if only for a while.

A sweetly told story, though there is little here by way of a driving force of plot or action. It is, in some ways, the equivalent of one of her 'modern' mysteries, transplanted into Arthurian legend.

Stewart's writing, on the whole, also lacks the radiance I remember, though I begin to wonder if it was ever truly present. Is
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.

When I first read this novel, quite soon after it was published, I thought it was the poorest that Stewart had written. On re-reading it, I have modified my opinion, and new feel that it is not actually too bad, even if not among her best.

The story is an adaptation from the tale of Alisander le Orphelin and Alice la Beale Pilgrim from the Morte d'Arthur, shorn of the late-medieval knight errantry so that it can be fitted into the sixth century
A sweet, if a bit rambling, love story. The five-star system doesn't really work for me; I can better sum up my opinion by saying that, in the scheme of Mary Stewart's works, this didn't come close to the scope of the Merlin trilogy (still my favorite), but better than The Wicked Day. I was unfamiliar with this thread of the Arthurian legend, so spent much of the book wondering where it all was going. But after reading the "original" in the afterward, I have to admire the way Stewart was able to ...more
Mary Stewart has long been a favorite of mine but as happens I moved onto other authors. I have read quite a few of her books.......I believe I read her Merlin Trilogy twice as I am a fan of Merlin and King Arthur.

Now I have found her again and with good reason.

Alexander is a prince without a kingdom as his father was ruthlessly murdered by King March of Cornwall. His mother only just escaped with Alexander to her family home in Rheged to hide. When Alexander comes of age he leaves Rheged to see
Mary Stewart is fairly well known for her retelling of the myths of King Arthur. I picked up this book up quite some time ago. It is the retelling of two less known characters in the king Arthur myth - Alisander the Orphan and Alice the pilgrim. In Thomas Mallory's book, these two characters occupy a few pages of one of the books in his novel. Thus, Stewart did not have too much to work with in her expansion and retelling of the story. It's quite easy to see this in the book.

Most of the book is
This was short, sweet, fairly predictable but still utterly delightful tale based on a brief passage in Malory's L'Morte D'Arthur about Sir Alisander and Alice la Beale Pilgrim.

I think my only complaint is the slightly uneven tone--the juxtaposition of scenes of fairly shocking violence within the rest of the fairly cheerful, buoyant narrative didn't quite fit; in my opinion, the characters reacted/reflected/adjusted/moved on far too quickly to be believable, sort of killing any realism gained
More Mary Stewart in case I feel like reading.


I need to start over with The Crystal Caves and read them in order.


Not part of the Arthurian set, exactly.


Based on a Mallory story I'm not familiar with, but I thought Stewart did an excellent job of setting it into her universe of a Dark Ages Arthur. Romance, adventure, courtly danger. All well done. A most satisfying read.

Eager, burning, and young, Alexander has come of age to take vengeance on the treacherous King of Cornwall who murdered his father. He sets off toward Camelot to seek justice from King Arthur, only to be diverted by the beautiful and sensual Morgan le Fay, Arthur's sister. Using her wiles and her enchantments, Morgan persuades the young prince to attempt a theft of the Holy Grail. He is unaware her motives are of the darkest nature. . . .

I adore the Merlin series which I first read as a teenager
I was pleased and surprised to come upon this late addition to Mary Stewart's Merlin books. Those are some of the best-researched historical fiction I've ever read, and I was glad to have another one to read. This book is set in that universe, but very few of the characters from the Merlin books appear in it. It takes place during Arthur's reign, probably around the same time period as The Wicked Day, and tells the story of Alexander and Alice, a prince whose father was killed when he was a baby ...more
2.5 stars

I have to say, while the legend at the back of the book was interesting, this did fall a little flat for me. It just isn't the Arthurian Legend series that I adore, and I feel like the characters aren't properly padded out and explored. The thing is I know Stewart can do better than this, so disappointed.
Cornelle Viljoen
Mary Steward has ruined me for any other Arthurian historical fiction. Seeing the greatness of the legend through the eyes of Merlin, is an amazing experience. Although Merlin and King Arthur are not the main focus of The Prince and the Pilgrim, it is a beautiful historical story of love in that era.
Garth Mailman
Alexander is the orphaned nephew of the King of Cornwall who murdered his father. Alice’s Mother died in childbirth and her warrior father goes on pilgrimages for the sake of a severe war wound. Hence the prince and the pilgrim. So how do the two meet up and how does the son avenge his father. This is a side-plot to the story of Arthur and Merlin but a decent read for all that.

Mary Stewart is the author of a wonderful series of books dubbed "The Merlin Triology" and an interesting supplemental book on Mordred.
This book has nothing to do with that trilogy. It borrows one character, Morgan le Fay, who plays a decidedly secondary role.
The story is an expansion of a very brief legend translated from Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. It is not complicated or convoluted. It contains no deep meaning and certainly doesn't enlighten or inform us about the Arthurian legend.
I had no idea that Mary Stewart had written another book. I've read every one of hers and was pleased and encouraged to see that she wrote this one when she was about 80 years old. I've been a fan of hers since I read Madam Will You Talk which was published in 1955. Since she was one of a very few to introduce the genre of mystery-adventure- romance rolled into one - a very popular genre these days, and it seems she also spear headed the latest craze of magic with her Merlin books, I think she d ...more
My mom got me this book and although I enjoyed it while reading it, I can't say I found it a favourite. While the whole, "drop revenge" theme was good, i just didn't connect with the characters.
Walter Conner
Rather a light weight story after the initial four books in the Merlin series, but it definitely belongs in the series. Definitely would recommend reading the others before this one because of the occasional references to events in them, although she does give you a quick overview of the reference.
As usual, I stand in awe of Lady Stewart's breadth and use of vocabulary, her blending of her take on the "historical" readings (i.e. La Morte d'Arthur), and her skill in descriptive prose.
Although not
This book is set in the Arthurian era but is really quite different from Stewart's Merlin trilogy. She was inspired to write The Prince and the Pilgrim after reading about Alexander and Alice le Beale Pilgrim in Malory's Morte d'Arthur. When Alexander realises that his father had been murdered by his own brother, King Mark of Cornwall, Alexander sets out to get justice from Arthur at Camelot. Things don't go to plan and he is waylaid by Queen Morgan who plies Alexander with potions which keep hi ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Iva added it
excellent read as are anything else she has written.

Oct 12, 2014 Julie added it
could not even rate it its that bad
That feeling when one realises one has read someone's entire work! It was a good book, but not one of her best ones. The story is a little weak. It is based on several themes: Morgan La Fae's plots, the Golden Grail (the golden cup) and the famous Cornwall love-triangle. Tristan appears as the knight who helped the protagonist to escape, and Iseult as the new Irish queen. It is a possitive book, satisfying to those who believe in happy endings, a bit of chevalric actions and a simple love story.
I thoroughly enjoyed returning to Mary Stewart's vision of Arthurian legend and 6th century times! This lovely romance falls in the time period between The Last Enchantment and The Wicked Day. As always, she has used Mallory's Morte d'Artur as well as historical sources as the germ of her story with delightful results. For those like me who find great pleasure in re-tellings and amplifications of the Arthurian tales, this is well worth reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This was a fairly simplistic type of story that was quite enjoyable. It ties in nicely with her earlier series that starts with the Crystal Cave. It seemed that maybe it was a fleshed out version of an old story. It is at least a bit based on Malory's "Alice la Beale Pilgrim and Alisander le Orphelin". It had a lovely nice ending. If you're looking for tense drama and dark endings...check out Sara Douglass...if you want a nice fairy tale, this is a good option.
Andrea O'Brien
A thoroughly enjoyable twist on an old legend. I have read Mary Stewart before, primarily her Arthur series, and was delighted to find a book that took place within the same time period. Stewart writes this age with ease and her characters are always lively enough to be enjoyed the reader without being bogged down with copious detail. This was a nice easy historical fiction, heavy on the fiction, based a not-as-well-known legend.
Rachel Nouvelle
I must agree with all the other reviewers. This book didn't have spark and vitality. These words here describe the ending of this book best: "...and they lived happily ever after...." so very simple. Not very dramatic. There was much to be done with this. It may have been best to arrange this into a series, instead of wrapping everything into one undescriptive book.
I loved the Merlin series, read them when I in high school. This is the first Mary Stewart I have read since them. I liked it for the most part, but about three quarters through I got a bored and skipped a few chapters. I liked the ending though. I won't give up yet though. I will try a few of her books first, or maybe just reread some of my old favorites.
Amadee Tous
I was so disappointed with this book, it certainly was not up to Mary Stewart's high standards. Her characters had no depth, the story telling was lack lustre and I often had the feeling I was reading someone elses work. I completed reading it only in deference to her earlier works to be honest.
The mix of legend and history just didn't work for me in this book. It did spark my interest in learning more about the Frankish Merovingian kings, though. (Predecessors to Charlemagne.) I'm going to read The Crystal Cave next, to see if it still measures up to my 5 star rating from my youth!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
More about Mary Stewart...

Other Books in the Series

Arthurian Saga (5 books)
  • The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1)
  • The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2)
  • The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3)
  • The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1) The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2) The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3) The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4) Nine Coaches Waiting

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