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Pendragon Cycle Books In Order

Publication Order of Pendragon Cycle Books

Taliesin (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Merlin (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Arthur (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pendragon (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Grail (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Avalon: The Return of King Arthur (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The “Pendragon Cycle” series by Stephen R. Lawhead is a retelling of the Arthur and Merlin legend and reimagines things so that Merlin’s mother comes from Atlantis. The novels take place in both the fifth and sixth centuries, and bases these stories on different historical texts and mythological ones. (like History of the Kings of Britain, Mabinogion, and some works by Geoffrey of Monmouth, plus some other ones too) The series has gotten acclaim for how creative it was in telling the Arthur legend and being historically credible.

Originally, Stephen R. Lawhead only planned on doing three novels for this series, but due to certain story lines and plots that were still left on the table, he felt he could get two more novels out of the series. Lawhead also felt that the third novel in the series “Arthur” ended a little suddenly and wanted to give his readers more closure from these characters. He wound up writing a total of six novels for the series. Although the sixth and final novel is simply related to the full story and actually a stand alone work or a semi-sequel.

The research that Lawhead did for the novel made him more interested in the culture and history of the Celtics and even the religion of Celtic Christianity and influenced his later work. To do some of the research for the novels, he had to move to Oxford, England with his wife and kids.

The series narrated by different people in different novels and four are told from the first person perspective (all but “Taliesin” and “Avalon”). Lawhead shifts narrators in “Arthur”, and “Grail”, although “Grail” only has Morgian narrate a little at the beginning of most of the chapters.

The novels in the series do not just go from beginning to middle to end. Instead, some of the books take place at different times and there will some overlap. Like some of the events “Arthur” and “Pendragon” happen before and after each other. For example, “Pendragon” book one comes before books one and two of “Arthur”. Next comes the second, third, and fourth books of “Pendragon”. Then it is “Grail”, and so on.

“Pendragon” by Stephen R. Lawhead is the fourth book in the “Pendragon Cycle” which was released in 1994. Throughout the Isle of the Mighty, treachery is running wild at the beginning of Arthur’s reign as king. There are different evils descending upon the British shores wearing different disguises. Certain alliances are on the brink of being ruined, threatening all that has been built. Merlin, or as he will come to be called is to go on an epic journey throughout his past. Arthur must stand alone against a great and powerful enemy, while a plague and pestilence attacks everyone that it can.

Fans of the novel enjoyed the novel and were entertained while reading. Some enjoyed reading the novel, as it was narrated by Merlin, who Lawhead seems to really know his mind very well and does some great work while writing from Merlin’s perspective. It also shows Arthur as a great leader very well and how much courage and strength he has. They even liked the warrior queen Guinevere who was a strong female character. Some found that this novel was something to take your time with and enjoy and not just speed your way through the thing and get done as quickly as possible. Fans enjoyed all the adventure and battling going on in the novel, finding it really kept things moving for them.

Some did not like the way the early part of the novel as it seemed to just sum things up about Arthur, something that readers should have already have known from reading previous books in the series. This turned some readers off and almost made them read something else. Some wished that Lawhead would not have included so much about Christian piety, and feel that one thing this book does well is set up the fifth book in the series. Some felt that the novel felt forced and did not come freely, and dragged in places as a result of this.

“Grail” by Stephen R. Lawhead is the fifth book in the “Pendragon Cycle” which was released in 1997. Arthur is horribly injured, the Isle of the Mighty is battered due to war, plague, and a drought. All until a Holy Grail is brought to him to heal all of his wounds to make him whole and renew his spirits. A beautiful maiden comes to the royal court, but she is not what she seems and is evil; she has the ability to seduce the King’s loyal champion and confuse the prophet Merlin. She also does something to the Grail and Arthur’s much loved Queen.

Fans of the novel liked the novel’s ending and found that it was very exciting and a little scary, with no way to know what was coming next. Some said that this novel was way different from other Grail quests and was able to bring something new to the table. The author writes his characters to be fully developed and color and seem to be like real people. They also find that Lawhead’s battle scenes are violent and graphic, but that seems to hold true to what went on in that day and age. Fans found that this novel was their favorite of all the novels in the series and that they could not put the thing down. Instead they had to keep reading to find out what would happen next.

Some did not like how muddled and convoluted this novel is out of the six novels in the series. They found it to be a great premise, with a Grail quest, but the execution does not hold up to the potential of what the novel could have been. Some felt that the novel ends on a cliffhanger, even though this is supposed to be the final novel in the series. This novel, for some, did not hold up to what the previous novel in the series was able to do.

The first book in the series, “Taliesin” won the Gold Medallion Award for Fiction in the late eighties from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

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