The Winter Prince (The Lion Hunters, #1)
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The Winter Prince (The Lion Hunters #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  718 ratings  ·  129 reviews
The story of Medraut - strong, skilled, daring, and never to be king...

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, is chosen to be prince of Britain. Lleu is fragile, often ill, unskilled in weaponry and statesmanship, and childishly afraid of the dark. Ev...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird/Penguin Putnam (first published January 1st 1993)
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Emily May
Mar 30, 2012 Emily May rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
[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...more
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
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...more
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).
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).
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
Tiffany Reisz
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).
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
Hazel West
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...more
Althea Ann
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Mar 03, 2013 Deirdre rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
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
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
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 Gawai...more
This book is perfect.
I got this for Christmas once and it was one of the best presents ever. The story is heartbreaking and beautifully described, the characters are interesting and well developed and the plot itself just convinced me.

Let's say that this book is not an easy one. It's deep, it's moving and you probably have to read it twice or more to fully understand it. It's not a book you just read and put away, you'll probably think about the characters and their relationships after you've f...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...more
Sherwood Smith
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.
Neill Smith
In this first volume of a trilogy Medraut, illegitimate son of King Arthur becomes a reluctant mentor to Lleu and Goewin, trueborn twins of his father. As Medraut tries to overcome his inner turmoil to do this job, his family comes to make demands that would utterly change his life’s pattern.
This was recommended to me by goodreads.

What a gorgeous and well written prologue. The description and characterisation drew me straight in. It was like reading velvet. I wish the rest of the story had done the same for me.

The story is based around the legend of king Arthur (obviously I don't know enough in that department, because I didn't make much connection myself) - and stuck strongly to its setting. Medraut, illegitimate son of the king, is the main character, who has been mentally, physic...more
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

After adoring Wein's Code Name Verity (my favorite 2012 release and still highly recommended), I was thrilled to see this older release from her. My excitement only grew after reading Liviania from In Bed With Books' enthusiastic review!

Unfortunately I ended up strongly disliking this book, I think largely because of my expectations. The Arthurian legends I am most familiar with are ones involving Merlin or are light like D...more
Jan 12, 2013 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens, arthurian legend enthusiasts
Shelves: arthurian, teens
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Oftentimes, renditions of the Arthurian legend aimed at teens or younger audiences are whitewashed or simplified, and if you just read the summary for this book, you might think that this would be the case with this version. However, Wein surprised me with her thoughtful portrayal of Medraut, showing him to be far more complex than many versions make him out to be.

(view spoiler)...more
Electronic copy provided by NetGalley

I am surprised that I never came across this series when I was younger, I went through a huge Arthurian phase and I think that I would have loved these books back then. Reading The Winter Prince now was still a good experience, but I couldn't help feeling as if I would have loved it more had I discovered it earlier.

The Winter Prince features the same good writing and strong complicated character relationships that are such a feature of Elizabeth Wein's novel...more
Sep 11, 2012 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Originally reviewed on RED Book Reviews.

Story: A re-telling, of sorts, of the later King Arthur stories. Medraut is the illegitimate son of the Artos, the high king of Britain. Conflicted and damaged by evil done to him in his past, he struggles with his hatred and envy of his younger--but legitimate--brother.

Thoughts: A dark and tragic story, with a small ray of sunshine at the end which is blotted out almost completely by the preview for the next book at the end. (Why did they have to stick th...more
Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, but he will not inherit the High King’s title, lands, or power. For he is the illegitimate son of the king. And more than that, the result of incest. Medraut’s mother is Artos’ sister, Morgause. In this adaptation of the Arthurian legend Artos, or Arthur, has two more children. Twins, Lleu a son, and Geowin, a daughter. Much younger then Medraut, it is Lleu who will inherit everything. It is Lleu who receives all his father’s love while Medraut has to live und...more
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The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein 1 20 Jan 18, 2009 01:56PM  
  • The Idylls of the Queen: A Tale of Queen Guenevere
  • Sword at Sunset
  • Queen of the Summer Stars (Guinevere, #2)
  • I Am Mordred
  • Arthur Rex
  • In the Shadow of the Oak King (Dragon's Heirs, #1)
  • Grail Prince
  • Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur
  • The Book of Mordred
  • The King's Name (Tir Tanagiri, #2)
  • Guinevere (Guinevere, #1)
  • The Tricksters
  • Kingdom of Summer
  • Sword of the Rightful King
  • In Camelot's Shadow (The Paths to Camelot, #1)
  • The Road to Avalon (Dark Ages of Britain, #1)
  • Firelord (Firelord, #1)
  • The White Raven

Code Name Verity is my sixth novel.
More about Elizabeth Wein...
Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1) Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity, #2) A Coalition of Lions (The Lion Hunters, #2) The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3) The Lion Hunter (The Lion Hunters, #4)

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