The Perilous Order of Camelot
I rarely re-read a book once I am done with it but there have been the few books that I’ve turned to again and again. My unwillingness is just simply that it’s not new anymore. I’ve read it. I know the story and I’ve either loved it, hated it or thought – meh. End of story.
But there is one book, or one series of books that I have now re-read about a dozen times: the Perilous Order of Camelot by A.A. Attanasio. I remember coming across the books over 10 years ago as the covers caught my eye (and yes, I do judge book covers – will get into that in another post).
The first book is called The Dragon and the Unicorn and it was a triple whammy that called to me; the cover, the fact that I love stories with dragons in them and that it was a new telling of King Arthur (and I have always loved reading different imaginings of this legend).
I don’t want to write a long post about each book so all I want to say is that I came across this series at a time of my spiritual awakening. I was considering things that until then were strange and void to me, that couldn’t possibly hold any ground in the “real” world of which we lived. And then I read this series and shit, I hardly understood any of it! But it called to me, from the first line to the last, my spirit recognized itself in this story. Eventually I came to understand so much of what was being said. It was the first time I read of the concept of Yggdrasil, the sacred and world tree (and Attanasio’s description of it when young Ygrane first enters it at her peril is imagery at it’s finest). The lessons Merlin gives on Quantum Physics were so unknown to me at that time but it left me breathless and wanting more. It put me on a path of thought that has led me to a place where I am now thrilled to be. It was the first time I read a version of Uther that wasn’t based on him being a pig or cruel. And Attanasio’s imagining of Ygrane? Goddess bless him, he built a fine, strong warrior queen, a commanding feminine presence that was sorely lacking in most of the fantasy books I had been reading at that time. I could go on and on about this series. It’s conceptions, theories, lessons and the beauty of each character (how Attanasio presents the dragon and the fire lords is still so wonderous to me) are pieces that, without each other, would not have the impact on me that it did. This isn’t just story – it is a spiritual journey. You will feel the power of Merlin, the human man who used to be a demon and you will both hate him and love him for how human he is.
When I first started reading fantasy, I wasn’t the huge fan that I am now. This series converted me. The downside at times is that it is hard to find a series that comes close (though a few have) and I can never read another re-telling of the Arthur legend again. Attanasio’s version of events is the epitome for me.
Beautiful language, vivid imagery, flawed and powerful characters and, a perspective that is both so otherworldy, yet strangely familiar make this series an experience, not just a read.
The Dragon and the Unicorn, The Eagle and the Sword, The Wolf and the Crown, The Serpent and the Grail.
Want to know what my ratings mean? Review them here: My Rating System.
Posted on August 6, 2012, in Book Reviews and tagged AA Attanasio, book review, books, fantasy, The Dragon and the Unicorn, The Eagle and the Sword, The Serpent and the Grail, the Wolf and the Crown. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.