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Child of the Phoenix
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Child of the Phoenix

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,845 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Born in a burning castle in 1218, Princess Eleyne is brought up to support the Celtic cause against the English. She is taught to worship the old gods and to "scry" into the future and the past. Eleyne's second sight, however, involves her in the destinies of England, Scotland and Wales.
Mass Market Paperback, 1086 pages
Published November 11th 1996 by HarperCollins (first published 1992)
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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,845 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Erskine's best that I've read -- when she gets it right, she's GOOD!!!! The strength of this book for me, besides a page-turning, compelling plot, was that she set it entirely in the 13th century, (rather than a time-slip story as some of her other novels are) and nobody can recreate the past like Erskine. She can weave a magical spell and tell a tale of the old gods and ancient beliefs and blend it with bits and pieces of history that makes you feel as if you've been transported to anoth ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Awesome piece of Fiction! And fiction it is, based upon historical characters and NOT historical fiction. The main character, Elyne, is (according to the author's notes at the end) a composite of two characters, one of them being Ellen, the daughter of Llewellyn the Great and Joanna. I admit to being a bit put off at the first part of the book at the characterizations of some of the Welsh court, particularly Joanna. Having read SKP's Here Be Dragons, and having adored Joanna and Llewlleyn and th ...more
Fatima Zadjali
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This would perhaps be one of my favorite novels ever, recommended by a friend I wasn't sure I would love it- but it was amazing!
The description the author uses is easy to relate to and as a reader makes it easy to live within the story and imagine what it was like to live in that era.
The authors description of places was beautiful and brief also (the reader doesn't get bored) plus I personally loved the detail the author used with the outfits and the minor details of embroidery and color vs tex
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1990s, 2010, historical
Initially, 'Child of the Phoenix' was a fairly solid example of the historical fiction genre. It’s a bit cliched (can we say beautiful and willful heroine?) and nothing spectacular, but the story races along quite well and I found it an engaging and quick read despite its size. Characterisation is patchy and inconsistent: Eleyne is described throughout as an independent, opinionated, fiery woman and yet she submits without question when her first husband beats her to punish her for her actions, ...more
Rosemary Morris
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it

Barbara Erskine’s ancestress, The Child of the Phoenix, is Eleyne of Mar, daughter of Prince Lewellyn and King John’s illegitimate daughter, Joanna.

In this epic novel of requited and unrequited love, happy and unhappy marriage, the author uses a blend of fact, fiction and fantasy to create Eleyne, the Welsh princess gifted with second sight. The love of her life is Alexander II of Scotland whose love for her transcends the grave.

I believe in reincarnation but I found the concept of sexual encou
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finishing Child of the Phoenix meant that I have now read all of Barbara Erskine's novels (even if I was too chicken to finish Hiding from the Light). If you track her literary style during her career as a published author, there are definant similarities between all her novels. She writes about head-strong women and their interactions with the paranormal. Many of these books are ghost stories of sorts.

However, Child of the Phoenix is different in that it is the only one of Barbara Erskine's nov
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Took me some time to read as I felt it was very involved but it's an excellent story
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My mum owns both Lady of Hay and Kingdom of Shadows and last year she showed them to me properly and said they were books she had really loved when she was younger (and of course still loves them) and she thought I would like them, which I did. Since then I've been looking in libraries in suburbs surrounding me and I've found most of the books Barbara Erskine has written. Child of the Phoenix was the first I read out of two I borrowed and I'm glad I did because I got to revisit characters from b ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my absolute favorite books! It's a sweeping saga that takes you from Wales, to England to Scotland. Set in the 13th century with Christianity and Druidism as backdrops to the political dealings between all three countries centered around Eleyne, a girl/woman of noble birth and whose destiny is linked to three crowns. Birth, life, death, fire, prophecy and psychic abilities are all connected in a story that is a page turner you are unable to put down. I've read and reread this book ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Slightly different from my other two favourite books of hers - Child Of The Phoenix is based around Eleyne and whilst not historical accurate meaning the Ellen who was the grandmother of the Royal House of Stewarts was probably not the Eleyne in the book having been born about 15yrs too late its a great read....
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were aspects of this book that I loved, but equally, there were parts that I found grating, frustrated and in some parts tired.

Growing up, I remember my mother always loved Barbara Erskine, and she had always told me to try her novels. Lady of Hay, her most famous was the most obvious choice, but I've never been a big fan of time travel/or split time novels, so I thought I would try Child of the Phoenix, a straight historical fiction, especially as I had recently finished Sharon Kay Penma
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall this book was great, I would have given it 5 stars if not for that part near the end (view spoiler) ...more
Angel Bunny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of a Welsh princess Eleyne of Mar who was born in a burning hall and rescued from the flames. Like a phoenix she is touched by destiny from the ancient Gods and druids of of her home country to be the mother of a line of kings. She goes through four husbands, produces around 9 children and lives to an old age. Her character is akin to Eleanor of Aquitaine in that she is tough, but more spiritual and has premonitions of the future and past. Her lineage produces the Scottish Stuart dynas ...more
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I like her books, great detailed historical novels. Most of them jump back and forth from the present to the past but this keeps to the past only and tells the story of Eleyne who is a daughter of one of the princes of Wales in the 13th century. She marries four times to four very different men and falls in love with a king, a man who won't let her go even after he's dead. She's got a mad woman for a nurse and though she has the Sight, she can't stop things from happening and can't see her own f ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read "Lady of Hay" years ago and liked it, and recently finished "Kingdom of Shadows." Little did I know this was the middle book of a very loose trilogy. I certainly wish I had read it before "Kingdom" just for historical continuity. "Kingdom" takes up in history where this book ends.
It's the tale of strong woman who survives 5 husbands, nine children, and a lot of intrigue, believing she will give birth to a king.
She's Welsh, four hubbies were Scots, one an Englishman.
This is purely historic
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No time travel in this book, which makes it my favorite of Barbara Erskine's. The plot is far-reaching and well researched within 13th century Wales and Scotland. Paranormal elements are mild and do not overwhelm the storyline. All in all, a very compelling read told from the viewpoint of a thoroughly likeable, but convincing and well-rounded female protagonist.
I have re-read this several times and continue to love this book. It also has inspired in me a thorough interest in this period of Scott
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a purely historical novel from Erskine, and despite the long and complicated life the heroine goes through it's definitely the best I've read so far.

There is real history here and you can see the results of the actions of this book in the present day just by following the family tree in the book. Be warned that the heroine goes through numerous marriages and love affairs and terrible things happen to her and her children.

But there is a legacy here and that is fascinating. As is the Welsh
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have loved all Barbara Erskine's book. I love the way her characters continues to live book after book even though none of them are a sequel. In this book, you could see what had happened to the characters from the authors first book, and second.

I'm also a great fan of historic novels and this book made me really believe that it all had happened in real life. Some of it has, but not all.

I cried a few times because of the destinies of some of the characters, but that just shows how great the bo
Lynn S.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
As wonderful as her other book that I've read, Lady of Hay, well researched, a little slow towards the end, but a good book. Has supernatural elements that blend in well with the history. This book is more about the main women characters than about the history, so if you're looking for a Bernard Cornwell, this book isn't for you. If you're looking for a Sharon Kay Penman, this is more the book for you.
Annette Summerfield
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me goose bumps...
The names are tough though, long names....I had to visualize short forms of the names.
I loved this book.
I have two more books here by Barbara Erskine that I haven't started to read yet. I had two by her earlier books and I didn't care for them as much as Child of The Phoenix...but I'm still hopeful and will try these other two when I get the time.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book is really well written and draws you right into the story and the characters lives. There is the right balance of love, violence, passion, tragedy and intrigue to make it a gripping read. Its the second time that I've read this book and even though I knew what was going to happen I still thoroughly enjoyed it and found it very difficult to put down.
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book enough to read it twice. It's pure entertainment which keeps you hooked from beginning to end. Set in the middle ages it is a historical romance with villains and heroes, love and tragedy, loosely based and woven into historical events. If you enjoy it try the Here be Dragons trilogy by Sharron Penman.
Oct 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction, Diana Gabaldon or Phillipa Gregory
I would actually give this 4.5 stars if I could. It was impossible to put down once i got into it...pure escapist historical fiction. The only downside is that I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of who everyone was. The book spans several generations and it seems like everyone is named Duncan, Robert or Alexander. The women were a little easier, but still. Overall, I loved it!
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal
Easy and very interesting reading. I have all Barbara's novels over the years, but I read this one again for the third time on Kindle. Both this one and 'The Lady of Hay' are my two favourites of them all.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed, however the ending was in my opinion very rushed.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tale of love, loss and anguish

Prepare yourself for a long haul when reading ‘Child of the Phoenix’. Just short of 1100 pages, you are probably going to be reading this for quite a while. But the reward is a rich, intriguing story that draws you in and leaves you sharing the protagonist’s love, loss and anguish.

The novel follows Eleyne throughout her lifetime, and it is a pretty eventful life at that. Fiery, rebellious and strong-willed, you can’t help but support Eleyne through all her campaig
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Possibly the longest book I've read second to Micheal's Conelley's Meaning of night which was about 700 pages. I think COP could have been a little edited since certain scenes were played over and over and Rhonwen got on my nerves. I hate sounding negative. It was a four star because of those things. It was an enjoyable read and Barbara Erksine is starting to become my favorite author. After I DNF Lady of Hay this was a real treat.
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An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of six bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus two collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty different languages. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester, and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.