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 series:

The Dragon and the Unicorn, The Eagle and the Sword, The Wolf and the Crown, The Serpent and the Grail.

My ratings:

Want to know what my ratings mean? Review them here: My Rating System.

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About Geeky Book Snob

Learning stuff since birth. Happy introvert who likes socializing when she's not busy being an introvert who likes to read.

Posted on August 6, 2012, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Creative writing forces us to be our own absence, whether reading or writing. To meet The Perilous Order of Camelot in your review and see this series received as a spiritual journey affirms all the hopes I cherished for this epic when I disappeared into the writing. Thank you for reflecting on the merit of these books — and for expressing that so eloquently in the public intimacy of your website.

  2. Thank you for taking a moment as well, it’s an honour that you would stop by. I read this books once a year now and every time I pick them up I wonder: “What will Merlin teach me this time?” “What new, wonderful thing will I see through Ygrane’s eyes?” I have recommended this book as a spiritual guide many times over. The beautiful thing is that my husband, who does not enjoy reading at all, read this series and loved it. His brain is a brain of physics, spirituality and the unknown he doesn’t want to read, he wants action and experimentation. The fact that your series kept him captivated enough to speed through each book speaks to the magic that these stories hold. Thank you.

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