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Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  13,534 Ratings  ·  513 Reviews
It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

"Taliesin" is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland,
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ebook, 489 pages
Published December 9th 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1987)
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Tandy Brown Yes, I would think so. I read these before I saw the show Merlin and after watching the 5 seasons of Merlin, it is has inspired me to go back and…moreYes, I would think so. I read these before I saw the show Merlin and after watching the 5 seasons of Merlin, it is has inspired me to go back and re-read this series. The first one in the series, Taliesan, is a bit slower than the other 4 but if you can get through it, it sets the stage well for the others. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Krista
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all of the great books I've read around the King Arthur legend, this is my favorite. It is acutally about Merlin's parents, and involves the lost city of Atlantis and it is a beautiful but sad love story. At least that is what I feel when I remember the book; it has been years since I read it. [time passes:] I just looked it up to see if it is still in print, which it is. And what's more interesting is that the description on Amazon talks of a message and symbolism in the story akin to C.S. L ...more
Werner
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian fantasy; Lawhead fans or fantasy fans in general
Recommended to Werner by: It was a common read in one of my groups
Shelves: fantasy
While the above Goodreads description of this book reads like it was a publisher's book-jacket blurb (and it probably was!), the basic description of the premise of this series opener is correct --and aside from its overwrought language, the implied assessment isn't far off the mark, either, as my rating shows. (If I could give half stars, I'd probably have added one.)

That isn't to say that there aren't eye-rolling flaws here. Atlantis, according to Plato (who apparently created the legend out o
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Leila Bowers
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This five-book series is entitled The Pendragon Cycle, and I will review them all here. I have now taken and taught classes on King Arthur, and this stands as my favorite treatment of the legend. Lawhead is one of my favorite authors anyway, and he does his homework. His writing reflects the oddity of the many Arthurian source texts - Merlin is always problematic, the hugely variable character of Arthur, Guinevere's choices and actions,etc.

Considering if Arthur existed he likely lived around 400
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Shiloh
Dec 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Lawhead's Pendragon cycle gets off to a rocky start with Taliesin. Perhaps it's that I set the bar too high, expecting great things from such a renowned author, or perhaps it's that I'm reading the cycle for my dissertation and hence got overly critical, but either way, the book suffers from poor writing, poor plotting, and a few major historical inaccuracies that ruined it for me.

The writing: passive voice abounds. The dialogue is stilted. The characters are two-dimensional and hardly have any
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Joe
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first review here so I thought I would start with one that has meant the most to me. I was blown away from the very start. Stephen Lawhead writes with such a passion for his characters in this book frankly I was surprised. He has taken something that is so familiar and, judging by the many other adaptaions of the Arthurian legend, breathed wonderful new life into it. Taliesin is the seldom told story of the Druid singer Taliesin. Forebear of Merlin who later became teacher, advisor a ...more
Jonathan
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Porius reminded me how much I liked this book when I was 12 or 13 and got it from a little bookshop in North Wales. I figure if it stayed with me this long, it must be worth 4 stars at least.
Paul Schulzetenberg
Two stars is a bit harsh for this book, as Lawhead deftly weaves together two separate storylines for much of the book. Charis, our female protagonist in Atlantis, lives some interesting family drama. Meanwhile, Taliesin, our male counterpart, is growing up in Britain as a wunderkind with destiny written all over him. As the cover so coyly tells us, there is a love story coming, and we the readers are left with a surprising amount of tension as we are attempting to figure out how, exactly, these ...more
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Begin your Lawhead reading here. In my humble opinion this is Lawhead's best, least cyclical work of the Pendragon series. From reading the other reviews you probably have a plot summary of what's going on. Thus, I won't bore you with them.

THE GOOD ASPECTS OF THE BOOK (and the first few books in the series)
Since no one rightly knows what, if anything, happened to the City of Atlantis, mankind is free to speculate and write fiction about it. The author is to be commended for his retelling of the
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Richard Derus
Rating: 2* of five

The Publisher Says: It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for two thousand years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis.

Taliesin is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the Atlantean princess who escaped the terrible devastation of her homeland, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is t
...more
Maggie K
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthurian
I wish I liked this book more than I did. I should have liked it, it has a lot of stuff I like in it.
But it just seemed to go on and on about things that werent pertinent, and then just gloss over things that it seemed should have got more attention.
In the end, I didnt care enough when main characters died, because I really wasnt understanding their purpose in this world....
I did like the writing, and I get that this novel is mostly just set up for the rest of the series, but i really wanted to
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Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One of the best adaptions of the Aurthorian legend (this is the first step in said legend).

And believe me I'm sick to death of all the adaptions. Enough already King Arthur is a great character but let him rest.

Still this is a good series of books.
Emelia (Her Pinkyness) Mccord
I have begun a game with myself where I go to the library and pick books from the free shelf, you know books with "those" dust jackets, the ones you would normally never read because of the cover and because of the synopsis written on the inside by some bored reviewer that doesn't do the book justice. I am discovering small gems on the free shelf and so it is with "Taliesin".

"I will weep no more for the lost, asleep in their water graves......" is how the book begins. Stephen R. Lawhead has mana
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Amanda
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
This was quite an engaging read. I love how Atlantis is worked into the early beginnings of a King Arthur tale. Can't wait to see how the story continues with the next book: Merlin!
Erika
Mar 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at: http://jawasreadtoo.wordpress.com/201...

Charis is an Atlantean Princess living in a seaside paradise, but too young to understand that Atlantis is on the brink of war. When her family is betrayed and her mother killed, Avallach takes his daughter and their remaining servants into the safety of their stone walled home. Or at least he tries to. Charis is too overwrought with the guilt he places on her over the loss of her mother and joins a religious band of performers, the b
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Melissa
I really like Arthurian legends. And this one was supposed to be a good one. In some ways it was, and in other ways I did not enjoy the book at all.

This goes way back in the Arthurian legends to tell the tale of Merlin's parents. The beautiful strong Charis of Atlantis. And Taliesin, the enchanting druid bard who is son of a king. The book divides its time between the two and their families, telling of their early years. For Charis, this is the start of a war for her nation, her time spent as a
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Tim
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about two characters. I loved one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have much use for the other.

Lawhead's prose is never brilliant, but sometimes in simplicity he finds a certain elegance nonetheless, particularly when dealing with characters. Call me a sucker for a tough girl, but I adored the character of Charis. I loved her as a child, I loved her even more as an adult. I loved her as a brash, dangerous, wounded person, living on the edge and excelling. It's all very romanticized
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John
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was anxious to read this when I heard Peter Enns (a contemporary theologian) cite the Pendragon Cycle as having made a strong impression on him. After two pages the writing seemed solid enough. But after two chapters it somehow didn't translate into a gripping narrative. A lot of scale running with no real movement. I was never able to situate comfortably into whatever tale Lawhead was trying to tell me. His efforts at building suspense were completely lost on me and I never once developed an ...more
Adman
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just wow. I don't think there's much more I can say. It was an amazing read. Best ever Arthurian retelling.

There is so much to love about Taliesin starting with the names. They're all so pretty and lilting and beautiful, and I wish people had names like that nowdays.

Every single one of the characters is real and so 3-D. Charis and Taliesin, and all the rest were real and I completely lived the story through their experience. The struggles and thoughts they had were all so believable and rel
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Smilingplatypus
I wanted to love this book. Truly, I did. It's supposed to be a re-imagining of the Arthurian saga, and since I'm a King Arthur geek, I was excited about starting Taliesin. But I just couldn't get into it. I didn't care about the characters, the plot didn't really accomplish much, and the first half of the book seemed to have almost nothing to do with the second half.

I'm not going to lie, though -- I got a bit of a kick out of fact that the sections were copied directly from the Mabinogion. And
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Catherine Thompson
I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book... maybe something that pertained to the Arthur legend? The idea that Atlantis sank in the 4th century is pure bollocks, since anyone who's read a bit of the Classics knows that Plato wrote about it sinking. Lawhead also doesn't know a great deal about Celtic myth, since he called the Dagda--the father-god of the Celts--a *goddess*. Hmf.

This book could have used a good edit, as well. Redundancies left and right, and don't get me started
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Wanda Hartzenberg
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
What an astoundingly good epic read.

As a prospective writer I found this book amazing for resting and relaxing as well as a how to guide of how to write time lapses, logically and coherently in about 50 different ways.

The characters show real growth and in such an epic read it is a continual growth process not a onetime thing.

This is really one of the best ever epic fantasy books I have read in a very long list of books in this genre, I will most assuredly recommend this to all fantasy genre
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Jeff Miller
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the last year I had seen this book referenced a couple of times regarding the superversive literary movement.

I totally enjoyed this as a blending of the myth of Atlantis and King Arthurs Court. Just brilliantly done. I also liked how the story of the historical Taliesin was used to blend these stories giving it a historical fantasy flavor. Plus as any good historical look at the King Arthur story, Christianity should not be left out and it is part of the story here.
Laura
This book tells simultaneously the story of the fall of Atlantis, the subsequent travel of Princess Charis and her family to Ynys Prydein (Britain), and the discovery and training of Taliesin as a druid-bard. The two eventually meet, marry, and Myrddin (Merlin) is born, just weeks before a tragedy brought about by Charis' jealous half-sister, Morgian.
Laura
Nov 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK. It was quite boring. The only good part was this quote, "Talking to you is like talking to a cloud."
Ron
Okay, a series on King Arthur opens in Atlantis? Atlantis! It's kind of downhill from there.

It was well done, and a fun read, but I expected better from Lawhead.
Lucie Müller
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich bin so happy, dass ich für dieses Buch immer noch 5 von Herzen kommende Sterne vergeben kann.
Das ist ja längst nicht mit allen Büchern aus meiner Jugendzeit so. Aber Taliesin hat mich wieder gepackt und immer noch meine liebste Merlin-Artus-Saga.
Den Twist, Atlantis mit in die Geschichte zu packen, finde ich genial und ist überaus geschickt gemacht.
Die Charakter haben Tiefe, Ecken und Kanten. Insbesondere Charis, die weibliche Protagonistin macht eine immense Entwicklung durch. Am Anfang ist
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Diana Laura
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¿Como es que una se encuentra buenos libros en la sección del 3x1? La verdad es que tuve mucha suerte porque de verdad disfrute la historia, muchas de las cosas narradas son ficción obviamente y al no tener conocimientos de la historia del pueblo Gales no puedo opinar al respecto pero lo que si puedo decir es que me ha encantado mas de lo que esperaba.
Laura
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper, arturics, 2007, 2016



Ja fa gairebé 9 anys que havia llegit aquest llibre, però en recordava poc. Quan em vaig decidir a re-emprendre la saga, vaig decidir tornar-lo a llegir, i no me n'he penedit. D'una banda, perquè recordava poca cosa i no hagués entès res si hagués agafat Merlí directament. I, de l'altra, perquè m'ha agradat molt :-)

Recordava una mica la història de la Charis, però no gaire. Recordava la seva etapa com a ballarina, i sobretot recordava la destrucció de l'Atlàntida. No triga gaire, però crec que e
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Joe Favini
I was really enjoying this for the first two parts, but all the Jesus shit in book three ruined it. I loved the world-building in the Atlantis chapters, and a lot of the characters were great, and I was really invested in where the story was going, but then those two monks showed up and all anyone could talk about was how fabulous this new Christianity thing is. Now, I'm not a believer, but I'm not against Christianity finding its way into my reading as long as it's done well. I'm a huge fan of ...more
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The Challenge Fac...: Maya & Krissy - Taliesin 5 10 Jul 01, 2016 05:03PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Nov 2013 - Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead 6 37 Dec 06, 2013 02:04PM  
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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:
http://www.myspace.com/stephenlawhead...

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

Other Books in the Series

The Pendragon Cycle (6 books)
  • Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, #2)
  • Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #3)
  • Pendragon (The Pendragon Cycle, #4)
  • Grail (The Pendragon Cycle, #5)
  • Avalon: The Return of King Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #6)

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“...tell me the word that will win you, and I will speak it. I will speak the stars of heaven into a crown for your head; I will speak the flowers of the field into a cloak; I will speak the racing stream into a melody for your ears and the voices of a thousand larks to sing it; I will speak the softness of night for your bed and the warmth of summer for your coverlet; I will speak the brightness of flame to light your way and the luster of gold to shine in your smile; I will speak until the hardness in you melts away and your heart is free...” 78 likes
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