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The Paradise War (Song of Albion, #1)
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The Paradise War (The Song of Albion #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  8,293 Ratings  ·  417 Reviews
In the Song of Albion saga, a breach has opened between the worlds. Wolves prowl the streets of Oxford. A mysterious Green Man haunts the Highlands. And a catastrophe threatens to devastate two universes.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Harper Voyager (first published 1991)
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

As an avid fantasy reader, I was reluctant to try this trilogy because Lawhead is not one of the best known fantasy writers. My husband bought me the book because Lawhead is a Christian and he thought I should try it.

I was very pleasantly surprised! The writing is excellent. The story is interesting, meaningful, and epic in scope while still progressing rapidly enough to finish in three books.

It contains all of the elements I look for in a fantasy: vivid d
Feb 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who don't mind violence
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
This is the first book of a trilogy; and like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books (which he originally didn't want to separate into three volumes --that was the publisher's idea), the Song of Albion books basically form a unit that should be read and considered together. An evangelical, Lawhead displays the influence of C. S. Lewis in places in his writing; the Christian symbolism in the last volume, The Endless Knot, is particularly clear. But his fantasy vision is his own, heavily influenced as ...more
Luke Taylor
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So what is The Paradise War?

Epic then, epic now, it is one of the first things I remember my mother reading to me when I was young, allowing me to visualize the might and magic of this well-woven portal into Celtic adventure and Otherwordly feats. Beleaguered by the shift from Oxford academia and the more intellectual-style of prose such dictates, Stephen R. Lawhead's first book in The Song of Albion Trilogy finds its legs firmly rooted in grit and gore and snow and song, reminding me that anyon
Lindsey Rey
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
I really liked the first 150 pages or so and thought the last 300 pages were pretty boring. Basically I didn't like the actual portal fantasy section. I think I would enjoy it if Stephen Lawhead wrote a contemporary novel, like a psychological thriller or literary fiction or something along those lines, but this wasn't for me.
Sara Price.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid 4 stars, great read! Can't wait to pick up the next one!
Jul 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
I had high hopes for this book, and found the story line very intriguing. The Otherworld is leaking into our world and vice versa. Random things are appearing in our world and people are disappearing.

How disappointed I was when I cracked into this! There were excessive details where none were needed and not enough detail when I had no clue what was going on.

About 40 pages in, I started to think the author hated his main character. Lewis, while smart and learned in Celtic history, seemed to alwa
Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words)
4.5 stars. Really enjoyable.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Although I truly admire the language and prose Stephen Lawhead uses in his novel, the book totally lacked all elements of a good story. There was no plausible plotline or storyline of events that I could follow. All the events were seamlessly unrelated, random and discordant. There was no greater plot, no quest or manner in which the characters followed. There was no goal, no objective, hardly a conflict or an antagonist to defeat. Lord Nudd who I suppose was supposed to be the "villain" of the ...more
Margaret Chind
Well. I must admit I did return this to the library without finishing it. I kept reading and reading, almost to halfway through it just hoping for something to pick up and excite me. But it didn't... even when I got to the Otherworld. Steven Lawhead just did so much better with Hood. With Hood I was enraptured and in love with all the characters and events and could not read fast enough to get what was coming next. But perhaps it is because Hood was from last year (2006) where The Paradise War i ...more
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
Lewis is an American student going to school in Oxford. When his roomate discovers a newspaper article about a legendary beast (an aurochs) that was sighted, they both go on a weekend adventure to try and see it. What they discover however, is a cairn that transports them into another world-the world of Albion.

This book was seriously amazing. I picked it up in the store because the cover caught my eye, but I didn't expect to get swept up in it like I did. It is an amazing fantasy story, with wri
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
I prefer fantasy worlds filled with lots of fantastical elements. Magic, talking creatures, elves, dwarves, fairies, etc. In this book, the Otherworld was fairly realistic (at least historically) for most of the story. That was pretty disappointing. The characters were also rather dull. The ending was decent, and some characters are starting to develop a bit.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eyebright by: Georgie Penn
The first in a trilogy, The Paradise War follows the amazing and fantastic adventure of a young college student by the name of Lewis Gillies. When he follows his friend on an sudden and unlikely urge to explore the strange appearance of a long extinct beast in Scotland, he is shocked when his friend disappears inside a cairn and does not return. It is only when he attempts to follow Simon that he understands why.

Albion is where he finds himself. It is the Otherworld, and he is thrust into it so
Zzz. Boring! This is only book one of a trilogy, so I guess this book has some excuse for having a LOT of tedious back story, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. It seemed like the entire first 60% of The Paradise War was blah, blah, blah back story. And then. AND THEN. We get to the so-called "good stuff," and still NOTHING HAPPENS.

The main character whines some more, his obnoxious and arrogant sidekick goes on and does some more obnoxious and arrogant things. There's a kiss. And then... t
Aug 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A good, easy-to-follow story, well-told, but it didn't quite live up to expectations. The opening scenes included an aurochs and a green giant, then nothing—other than the obligatory portal experiences—really "Other" for 300 pages. Oh, there's lots of "other"--good ancient Celtic words and culture, but little of Fairie.

In fact, if there's a flaw to Lawhead's approach is that he treats even his spiritual beings as super strong, super evil, etc., but they lack the "feel" of Other.

A quibble. Lawhe
Courtney Nicole
•Typically I reserve 1 star ratings for books that I loath or gave up on. The only reason I didn't give up on this one was just because I didn't want to give up on another book right now.
•My biggest problem with this book was that I was just so bored with it pretty much the entire time I was reading it. I got stuck in the first 40 pages for almost 2 months, at that point I bought the audio book to help push me through it.
•It seems, after attempting two different series written by Lawhead, that
Kelly Venechanos
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read any later works in the series yet. So, I can only comment on this first title directly. I really enjoyed it. Lawhead either did his research on Celtic culture or managed to bluff very convincingly. Personally, I believe it was the former. Still, it was not paradigm altering. It seemed a pretty standard tale of boy goes to mythical "Otherworld", encounters amazing magical adventure and comes back. (Or does he?) it also reminded me a bit of Tolkien and Lewis's works. It certainly se ...more
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
*This review contains things that are probably spoilers, or at least things that are really close to spoilers, though shouldn't give away anything you don't learn in the first 1/3 of the book... so no major spoilers?*

So, the beginning is way different than the rest of the book. The feeling was different. I liked the first feeling better. Not that the second was bad, it was just really not what I was expecting. But it was a good read and I'm glad I own it and will be happy to dig into the next bo
Nov 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christian fantasy readers, late teens, new to fantasy
Three Stars is my perfect rating for this book - no more and no less. It was not by any means a bad book, but was also not something that stood out or grabbed me. While the scenery, history, and lore shines through and is very well written, and I did very much enjoy the vocabulary in this novel, I felt the plot and pace rather systematic and predictable. The depth of most of the characters was mediocre, having a sampling of surface personalities you would find in any medieval story involving a k ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This story is based heavily on celtic mythology. The main character knows almost nothing about the celts and has to have everything explained to him. He is a grad student. His major is celtic studies. How does that even make sense!?

I didn't end up finishing the book, got about halfway through and skimmed the rest. In the hands of a better writer the story might have been decent. The characters however were too weak and lacking in personality to carry the plot. As it is, if I could have given it
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tricky for me to rate this book. I read through sections quickly, but felt that not much was happening. Then I would put the book aside, take a break from it, and then try again. Since this is the first of a series I suspect that much of the action is coming in the next book. I'm just not sure I will continue. I really like it when I get caught up in a story and I feel as if I am in the story. When I feel connected to the characters, and can't wait to see what happens. I just didn't feel that wa ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celtic, fantasy, mythology
I was first lured in by the premise of Celtic lore and fantasy and soon found myself securely held by the nonstop, vivid imagery Stephen R. Lawhead crafted. The book seems to blend equal parts Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials on two intertwined worlds on the verge of apocalyptic ruin.

Lawhead opens this trilogy with the main character, Lewis, taking a seemingly inconsequential stroll to the Scottish countryside to investigate the curious appearance of a prehistoric beast with his privile
Alex Telander
Originally published in the early nineties, Stephen R. Lawhead’s bestselling Song of Albion Trilogy has now been released in a gorgeous hardcover edition that immediately catches one’s eye. The first in the series is The Paradise War, followed by The Silver Hand and The Endless Knot. Lawhead pulls from Celtic myths and legends and ancient texts to create story set in modern day of a most unique world.

Lewis Gillies is an American graduate student studying at the eminent Oxford University, specifi
Rebecca L. Snowe
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2015-reads
It's rare that I read books from a man's point of view, mainly because I'm not a man and I don't feel I can connect with the character a whole lot, but partly because I like reading about girls better because I AM a girl. That said this book was an excellent read! It follows a young London collage man and his friend as they go to Scotland to see a reported sighting of a Aurochs, explore a Celtic cairn, go into the Celtic Otherworld of Albion and go on many great adventures including saving Albio ...more
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm... What to say...

This book was not particularly engaging. I wanted to know how it ended, but I didn't necessarily need to know. I never found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it, and if I was interrupted while reading, it didn't concern me. It ended with a bit of a cliffhanger for the next book, but it didn't make me want to immediately run out to get it. I don't think I am likely to even bother with the next one.

The characters weren't particularly interesting, and I didn't g
Well ... I really tried to like this book. In fact, I thought that would love it, but it was not quite what happened.
Although the premise is interesting and there being an extraordinary effort in including Celtic culture in the story, I found the book boring. The constant and thorough descriptions of the environment and culture, the one-dimensional characters and the detail of death scenes made me lose interest.
I also wanted to point out that there are changes in characters and scenes that did
Miguel Melo
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book all around, though I preferred the current-age bits. An American student in Oxford finds a way into the land of Albion, an ancient mythical version of Great Britain, where he is confronted with a rising battle between Good and and an ancient Evil.

While the crux of the story is made up of pretty good light-fantasy gravitating around the Celtic folklore with occasional light Christian archetype overtones, surprisingly I actually preferred the earlier part of the book before Lewis (and hi
Sara Diane
I previewed this for NetGalley.

After reading (or attempting to read) several very poorly written fantasy stories, this one was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the "modern to myth" part of the story, and the only thing I had a bit of trouble with was that our characters stay there for YEARS yet still claim they are trying to get back "home" (at least, one of them does). I felt that at some point in his years of training he would have either realized that he wanted to stay or he would have tried
Simeon Brazzell
It was very interesting as far as the Celtic lore aspect of the book goes. Story was good as well. But it lost me somewhere in the middle. A little too bogged down with detail. If you don't have some pre-understanding of Celtic lore then you can get very slowed by words you don't understand that aren't explained. Most of those words are not found in the Oxford dictionary either because they are Celtic.

That being said I do appreciate the immense amount of study that must have gone into this book
Joey Woolfardis
The storyline and premise was interesting to begin with: an extinct animal found in Scotland to the delight of a bored, young privileged man at Oxford and then a meeting with the Green Man. However delightful the story may seem, however, the writing must carry it almost singularly, and it certainly did not. There was too much Wilde-esque whinging from the Brit, too much 'meh' and slowness from the Yank and nothing particularly happening.
Stacey Richardson
Filled with (perhaps overly) enthusiastic descriptions of the beauty of the other world and the nobility of it's people. Wasn't sure of the nature of some characters' motivations. Haven't figured out why the skeptical outsider has become the "chosen one". Still, I stuck with it for 400+ pages, and the ending left unanswered questions. I'll read the rest of the story someday, I think.
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Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium, Patrick, and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion.

Also see his fanpage at Myspace:

Stephen was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. Most of his early life was spent in America where he earned
More about Stephen R. Lawhead...

Other Books in the Series

The Song of Albion (3 books)
  • The Silver Hand (The Song of Albion, #2)
  • The Endless Knot (The Song of Albion, #3)
“Knowledge is a burden--once taken up, it can never be discarded.” 21 likes
“To friends! Life belongs to those who love, and where love reigns is man truly king!” 13 likes
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