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The Paradise War

(The Song of Albion #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  9,220 ratings  ·  463 reviews
From the dreaming spires of Oxford, Lewis Gillies drives north to seek a mythical creature in a misty glen in Scotland. Expecting little more than a weekend diversion, Lewis finds himself in a mystical place where two worlds meet, in the time-between-times - and in the heart of a battle between good and evil.

The ancient Celts admitted no separation between this
Paperback, 444 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by WestBow Press (first published 1991)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  9,220 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who don't mind violence
Shelves: books-i-own, fantasy
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 well ...more
Luke Taylor
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hall-of-fame
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 m
Lindsey Rey
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, fantasy
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
Solid 4 stars, great read! Can't wait to pick up the next one!
Nov 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words)
4.5 stars. Really enjoyable.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 in
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 is from 1991, may ...more
Aug 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 qu
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
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 sto
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, series-quit
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.
Nicholas Kotar
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is really good stuff.

Only four stars because the second is even better.

But it needs a long and thought-through review.

You can read that, along with thoughts about other things, at this link:
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
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. A
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
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
Milly Jones
May 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
I really really wanted to like this book. I'd read a Stephen Lawhead book about a decade ago, and remembered enjoying it. And this book came with a high recommendation from a friend (5 stars no less!) so I was anticipating a good story, well written.

But I couldn't like it. It was dull, dull dull. The two main characters introduced in The beginning pages were irritating and unengaging. The narrative was unbearably slow and pompous. The main protagonist is supposed to be a grad student
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Apr 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Joey Woolfardis
Feb 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-library-marion
The first part was really cool... and then somehow the fantasy otherworld was really boring.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
How are these books not even on my list, much less missing from my favourites list?

The Song of Albion trilogy is still right up there with the best fantasy I've ever read. It captured my imagination like nothing else I had read before it, and in the same way that Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter managed to (when I read them both years after Lawhead's trilogy).

These are three books I generally try to read every year or so. Amazing. Easily Lawhead's best work, although 'P
Thomas Ray
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Song of Albion:
Part 1 of 3 The Paradise War
Part 2 of 3 The Silver Hand
Part 3 of 3 The Endless Knot
Rondi Olson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot about this book seemed familiar, which, I suppose is what to expect with fantasy that features the hero's journey. Lewis lives a mundane existence in the manifest world, then slips through a mystical portal to find himself in a world brighter, bolder, and more meaningful then the one he left behind. I don't have to tell you what happens, you already know, and that, I found, was the book's greatest weakness. I seemed to know what was going on long before any of the characters, and this was ...more
Katy Burke
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Lawhead's books on/relating to Celtic culture and mythology are what sparked my love of both the topics themselves and also further loving mythology in general. The way he introduces the storyline and makes his somewhat long novels seem like they go by in an instant are so admirable, and i just really love all of his books that i have read (which is nearly all of them). I wouldn't enjoy historical fiction so much if it werent for books like these
Kay Ling
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to confess that I liked the beginning and the ending more so than the middle. I found myself skimming through some of the chapters where Lewis trains to become a warrior and tries to fit in with Albion and its way of life. I liked Lawhead's Bright Empire Series better, but according to his Afterword, many fans prefer this series. I'll finish the rest of the trilogy, but I'll probably read a few other books first.
Ray Almeida
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some Spoilers, obviously.
So I saw this book in a store and thought the design looked interesting and the summary on the back had a potentially interesting set up. So I spent my hard earned money and got it on sale.
When I first started the book, I was actually interested! Not because of the boring protagonist with no personality, but because of his friend Simon who although was obnoxious and weird, had a unique and fresh personality that I wanted to understand. He was the one who wanted to
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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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. Mos

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.” 25 likes
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