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Sep 14, 2010

Book Review: Dark Moon of Avalon by Anna Elliott

 Happy Release Day to Anna!

Dark Moon of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan and Isolde by Anna Elliott
(Book #2 in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy series, Twilight of Avalon: Book One released May 5, 2009)
Touchstone Simon and Schuster, September 14, 2010
Review copy generously provided by the author, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:Big 4 stars!
She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. She has fought to preserve Britain's throne. Now she faces her greatest challenge in turning bitter enemies into allies, saving the life of the man she loves . . . and mending her own wounded heart.

The young former High Queen, Isolde, and her friend and protector, Trystan, are reunited in a new and dangerous quest to keep the usurper, Lord Marche, and his Saxon allies from the throne of Britain. Using Isolde's cunning wit and talent for healing and Trystan's strength and bravery, they must act as diplomats, persuading the rulers of the smaller kingdoms, from Ireland to Cornwall, that their allegiance to the High King is needed to keep Britain from a despot's hands.

Their admissions of love hang in the air, but neither wants to put the other at risk by openly declaring a deeper alliance. When their situation is at its most desperate, Trystan and Isolde must finally confront their true feelings toward each other, in time for a battle that will test the strength of their will and their love.

Steeped in the magic and lore of Arthurian legend, Elliott paints a moving portrait of a timeless romance, fraught with danger, yet with the power to inspire heroism and transcend even the darkest age.

In May of 2009, I read Anna Elliott's debut novel (which was a favorite of the year for me) Twilight of Avalon and I found myself immersed in Arthurian legend that was told with intoxicating ease that drew me into Dark Ages Britain. I was eager to read book two, Dark Moon of Avalon, but once I finally received it I had to put it aside in the priorities list. Which was unfortunate because upon opening Dark Moon I was struggling to see where we were in the time line, as over a year had passed since I read the first book in the trilogy (review is here). Soon enough I was beguiled by the storytelling and I was once again falling in love with Anna Elliott's story of the two star-crossed lovers. Anna's writing is deeply and thickly rooted within its story that you have to pace yourself with her writing so that you do not miss anything. This is not the love story you would think it would be at first glance, it is the author's reimagined history of a very early Britain as it struggles to become the kingdom that its leaders know it can be.


Dark Moon of Avalon begins as Isolde is asked by King Madoc to go to the council meeting to visit with the Irish King Goram, with hopes of uniting certain leaders with those that would be beneficial for the salvation of Britain. What follows is a long journey to meet with these leaders which is fraught with peril along the path. Lord Marche is the enemy that Isolde was once married to from Book one who now haunts her dreams with visions of Marche and Trystan locked in a fierce sword fight.  Isolde is lucky to have trustworthy allies at her side as she makes her journey, and she finally meets up with Trystan who agrees to guide her towards a meeting King Cerdic, someone who is of doubtful character, but can help turn the tide of war in a positive turn for Britain if he agrees to her courageous plan.

Not a story that is told to be an action-packed adventure, this is a character-driven heroic tale of good vs. evil, with strong tones of true love and honor. Enchanting, intriguing and powerful writing makes this a story to be savored as we get into Isolde's head and heart along her journey, making us thoroughly respect and admire Isolde's strength of character and bravery. We witness Isolde struggling with romantic feelings for her childhood friend as she keeps the distance between them just enough to be laced with tension. The reader is treated to the author's reimagined Dark Ages setting that evokes the magical Arthurian theme but also offers a whole new twist to the traditional Tristan and Iseult tale. Anna Elliott's love story of Trystan and Isolde is virtuous and sweet,with the wonderful ending in book two which leaves us on tenterhooks awaiting the final installment in the trilogy.

For those of you who read Book one and remember Dera from the story, Anna has shared with her readers a free short story titled The Witch Queen's Secret which can be found here. And coming soon is Morgan & Merlin—The Beginning, another short story offered as a free download from the author; and this is a prequel to book one that looks incredibly amazing!