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The Winter Prince

(The Lion Hunters #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,431 ratings  ·  232 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
Paperback, 216 pages
Published April 14th 2003 by Firebird/Penguin Putnam (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  1,431 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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Emily May
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Chachic, Estara
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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). ...more
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).
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.
I do not know what to think of this book except that the writing is brilliant. The plot and characters are compelling but odd. None of the characters are particularly admiral, and I like being able to admire fictional characters. Even so, I can't wait to continue the series!
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
Leah Cossette

I guess I was expecting something more.

The Winter Prince: A summary

Medraut: I am the emo bastard son of you'll-never-guess-who...

Lleu: I'm the crown prince, and I'm beeuutifyl and smart and talented and the best at everything! I just can't wait to be king!

Geowin: Psh, I'd make a way better ruler. Not only am I your older sister, I also have a backbone.

Medraut: And I have woe. No one understands my troubles, to ba bastard born of incest raised in the lap of luxury. Woe is me.

Lleu: Don't hav
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
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
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
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
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.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so intense and atmospheric, I really enjoyed it. There was this air of mystery over everything and I was never entirely sure where I stood, but in a good way. I liked how Meudreut was so unpredictable to the reader, but as the same time you get this sense that no matter how unexpected his actions, it all makes complete sense to him. I would have liked it to have been a little longer; to have allowed more space to see how things would go between Meudret and his little prince. Knowing thi ...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.
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...
So unlike a lot of the YA that drives me nuts. I would have loved this as a kid.
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
Jackie White
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, angst-tbr, ya, top-2018, ku
A quick enjoyable read.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein 1 25 Jan 18, 2009 01:56PM  

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Other books in the series

The Lion Hunters (6 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)
  • The Lion Hunters Novels: The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter, and The Empty Kingdom

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