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The Winter Prince

(The Lion Hunters #1)

by
3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,330 ratings  ·  212 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
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Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird/Penguin Putnam (first published January 1st 1993)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,330 ratings  ·  212 reviews


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Emily May
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) by: Chachic
[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
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Nikki
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
Liviania
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Hallie
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
Simon
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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).
jo
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spec-fantasy-sf
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).
kari
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought it on a whim from a secondhand bookshop, and it's been one of my best whimsical buys. The story seems slow, but even though it may seem as not much is happening, the tension between characters is irresistible. And when in the end all pieces of the puzzle come together - when you already know what happened, and why, and who was in conflict with whom - it's so, so satisfying. I'm still amazed how much there is in this tiny book.
Hazel West
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Mary
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wavering between four and five stars on this one, but giving it five because of the excellence of the writing and the depth of the characterizations (with one possible exception, which I'll get to).

This is a very dark book, about the bonds of love and jealousy within a family. That family, of course, is Arthur's. The main character and narrator is a young man called Medraut. The illegitimate eldest son of the high king, Medraut is bitterly jealous of his younger siblings, especially his younger
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Juny
Wow! Let me just say that the writing in that book is fantastic! But it got quite weird on more than a few occasions. I suggest this book for ages 16+. I personally almost didn't finish it because it soooo weird! But I needed to see goodness prevail, which it did. With this said I probably won't be reading the next one...
The last line of the prologue just gives you this excited knowledge that that is key in this book! And I was right it came up later. If this book had not been well written I wo
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Claire
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Leseparatist
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, young-adult, owned
Edited to add tags because I've finally bought it - it's going for cheap on amazon (kindle edition) for now (12/2016), not sure if that's the regular price or a temporary discount. Either way: this book comes highly recommended, whether you loved Code Name Verity from this author, like Arthurian legends, or neither. As long as you enjoy well-written, emotionally wrenching angst, this is for you. It's beautifully written, gutting and gripping. I think about it in winter every year and I might wel ...more
Sherwood Smith
Jun 24, 2009 added it
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Kim
This whole book is like a case study on the fallout from two terrible parenting styles. One child beaten, sexually abused, and informed that no matter what good and loyal things he does, he will never be allowed to earn any mark of true approbation, even from the "good" parent. The other child spoiled, encouraged in his dictatorial arrogance, but restricted from exploring the world or his interests in any way that might shape him into a mature and compassionate man. The end result of which is a ...more
Lara Donnelly
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was freaking amazing. The plot snuck up on me because the book privileges Medraut's emotional journey over the action of the story--not a bad thing, imo. If you like angsty, slow-burn fanfic this is going to be your thing all over. I blasted through it, and all the sequels. They're short and driving and intense. Like candy, but like...really devastating candy.
Merry
I definitely read this as a teen but can't remember much except the beautiful cover. Also, why did no one tell me this was a series? I don't think any of these except the first were ever translated into German? At least I've never seen them...
Jackie White
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: angst-tbr, fantasy, top-2018, ya, ku
A quick enjoyable read.
Rindis
This isn't quite an Arthurian book in the usual sense. Set in post-Roman Britain, The Winter Prince adapts from the Welsh versions of Arthurian legend, taking the general situation to tell its own story.

The entire story is told by Medraut in first person to his mother Morgause, though exactly when and where is unclear, as she doesn't seem to be present (and a novel makes for a very long letter); perhaps it is really just an inner monologue of Medraut's as part of coming to terms with his mother.
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Keertana
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Channah
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok


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 Gaw
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Genevieve
I don't just love this book; I am imprinted on it. I first read it, far too young to understand anything, when I was in about second grade, which must have been around the time it was originally published. And while I didn't understand it at all then, the image from the prologue, of the boy sitting with his back to the fire, face in shadows, stuck in my mind. When I finally reread it at about 13, it blew me away and became immediately ensconced in my personal pantheon of Favorite Books; along wi ...more
Elisa
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jess
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
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Deirdre
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Liz
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sharla
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
The writing was spectacular. That said, I was not as attached to the characters as I would like to be. The main character is brilliantly written and true to character, but I could not like him or any of the characters to be honest. The story got very weird in places, I would not recommend it for younger kids as some of the content is mature. But it all comes together to a somewhat satisfying ending. I appreciate the quality of writing but the story simply wasn't my favorite.

I loved the rest of t
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Josiphine/Tessa
Wow. Just wow. *orders book two*

I should have known that this would be good--it is E. Wein after all--but for some reason I was just expecting it to be okay. It was not okay. It was amazing. When I finished I had the same mental/emotional washout that I had after reading Queen's Thief. I would have been happy with a little more emphasis on the King Arthur storyline. It's really more about Arthur's children than Arthur himself.

This is one of those few books that just leave me in awe of the craft
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The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein 1 24 Jan 18, 2009 01:56PM  
  • The Idylls of the Queen: A Tale of Queen Guenevere
  • In the Shadow of the Oak King (Dragon's Heirs, #1)
  • Sword at Sunset
  • The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #1)
  • Guinevere (Guinevere, #1)
  • Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn  (Guinevere, #3)
  • I Am Mordred
  • Hawk of May
  • The Book of Mordred
  • Bloodline (Bloodline, #1)
  • Mordred, Bastard Son (The Chronicles of Mordred, #1)
  • Firelord (Firelord, #1)
  • In Camelot's Shadow (The Paths to Camelot, #1)
  • The Book of the Sword (Hallowed Isle, #1)
  • Arthur Rex
  • The Forestwife (Forestwife Saga, #1)
  • Excalibur

Other books in the series

The Lion Hunters (5 books)
  • A Coalition of Lions (The Lion Hunters, #2)
  • The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3)
  • The Lion Hunter (The Lion Hunters, #4)
  • The Empty Kingdom (The Lion Hunters, #5)
“I am like a ruined piece of parchment scrawled over and over again with your name, so many times it has become illegible.” 4 likes
“There is no end,” I said. “Only the beginning of something else.” 4 likes
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