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Kingdom of the Grail
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Kingdom of the Grail

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Historical fact and fantastic legend clash when Merlin's descendant Roland takes up the Quest for the Grail against Arthur's ancient enemy. Tarr spins an entertaining and often enlightening tale.--Washington Post.
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Roc Trade (first published 2000)
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Kristyn Jensen
At first I wasn't into the book, but after the first couple chapters it got to be pretty good. About half way through there's a twist and it's because of that twist that I really liked this book. It was a reminder of how talented Tarr is and why I just can't get enough of her writing.
To some extent, this is pretty standard fantasy. The dark vs. the light, and let's throw in the grail to spice things up a bit, and hey, have some battles and a pretty lady. Hell. Let's have nine pretty ladies. And some sex. To spice up our hero, he can do magic and he has yellow eyes!

On the other hand, there's something unique about this because it actually draws on a lot of medieval myth. Using Arthurian myth isn't all that startling, but I've never seen any of that which also draws on The Son
I loved this book, nice fantasy world to step into. (Helped with my Harry Potter withdraw:) I have always loved the stories around Merlin and Camelot.

"Centuries after the fall of Camelot and the disappearance of King Arthur,the wizard Merlin remained a prisoner in a enchanted forest.Then an ardent youth named Roland came and vowed to free him, unaware of the consequences such an oath carried..."
Sandy Walker
Very enchanting story - so many of the elements in this story "ring true", especially the spiritual stuff. Wow - what a great storyteller! I found this at the library and loved the book so much, I purchased a copy. It lifted me up whenever I felt cut off from my true self - that is a rare gift. Thanks, Judith Tarr.
Ashley Tebbenhoff
If there is anything I expect from a book, this one lives up to all expectations. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and historical fiction. Based on the epic poem of Roland along with heavy influence of the Grail ...and Merlin.
James Oden
It proved to be a very entertaining story with several unexpected twists. Granted it was clearly a variation on the old story of a brilliant somewhat magical knight meets the unexpected gorgeous priestess falls in love with her after fighting it for a while (the fight being mutual) and going on some magical/spiritual journey that ends get the idea, but it still had enough twists to lift it above cliche status. Also, Judith Tarr writes in my opinion brilliant straight forward prose that ...more
[3 and 1/2 stars]
Based on the "Song of Roland" (and throwing some Arthurian stuff into the mix for good measure), this is a very solid effort from Tarr. I think that her medieval fantasies tend to be the best of all her historical fantasies, so that aspect was a pleasure to read (I certainly found the parts that were more solidly rooted in history to be more interesting than the later parts where the action transferred elsewhere and the story became straight-out fantasy.) Still, she displays her
Tyler Jacobs

This is an excellent book. A story of light versus dark, woven with beautifully scripted battles, and joyous love scenes. This book lays a land before the reader and guides them on an adventure that they won't be able to turn away from. I recommend this to any and all who wish to get lost in a fantastic book.
I really loved this book because it was fantasy and about Arthurian legend. Fantasy is my favorite genre and this book totally fit the bill. I loved the way the book followed the story of Roland and the quest for the grail, but also had a romantic twist in it, too. I would totally recommend this for anyone who is a fan of Arthurian legend and/or fantasy. And... since I loved this novel so much, I went out and bought another Tarr book; The Pride of Kings. I can't wait to read it!
While not a straight-forward historical narrative like Ars Magica, and not entirely realistic speculative writing like Pillar of Fire, Kingdom of the Grail is doing a fantastic job at writing the bridge between early Christianity, Arthurian Legends, and the life of Charlemagne (and the Song of Roland) without skimping on facts, and filling in the gaps with fantasy that doesn't need a full suspension of disbelief.
I like the premise of combining the Song of Roland with the grail legend. But in practice, it comes off sounding forced with too little character development. Too much contrived magic, not enough realistic historical description. Too much Roland, not enough Merlin (Why did that dude disappear after the first 10 pages?). In all honesty, there is too much good fantasy out there to make this a worth while read.
This appeals to the 'player of World of Warcraft' in me. The story is about the son of Merlin, Roland and his quest to free Merlin from the enchanted forest. Interesting facts about the round table and the "real" story behind Merlin and where he came from and why he was imprisioned. Interesting
I only give five stars to books that I a)like a LOT b)am willing to give shelf space to/actually own c)want to re-read many times - this one meets all three. It is one of the best alternate-Song of Roland stories I've ever read.
Interesting and beautifully written story of Merlin and what happened after Camelot. Missed most of the allegorical and mythological (not the right word exactly but hey) references but still a nice tale.
Steven Raszewski
Another great Arthurian tale. Love my King Arthur.
Another excellent story from Judith Tarr, she has a true gift for description. Makes me feel like I'm almost there.
This book was a little slow in building up to things, and I just couldn't really get into it.
superb! Roland, Merlin, Sarissa. Goddess& God & Grail
I love Merlin stories - this is a good one, enjoyable read.
Very well written and a great heroic tale.
Lynn Calvin
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AKA Caitlin Brennan, Kathleen Bryan.

Judith Tarr (born 1955) is an American author, best known for her fantasy books. She received her B.A. in Latin and English from Mount Holyoke College in 1976, and has an M.A. in Classics from Cambridge University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University. She taught Latin and writing at Wesleyan University from 1988-1992, and taught at the
More about Judith Tarr...
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