Twilight of Avalon

General Fiction

By Anna Elliott

Publisher : Touchstone (Simon&Schuster)

ABOUT Anna Elliott

Anna Elliott
A longtime devotee of historical fiction and Arthurian legend, Anna Elliott was expecting her first child when she woke up from a very vivid dream of telling her mother that she was going to write a book about Modred's daughter, Isolde.  She was very grateful to her daughter for being an  More...



Seven years ago, on the battlefield of Camlann, the great King Arthur was slain by Modred, his traitor son. And in the aftermath of battle, Isolde, daughter of Modred, was married to Arthur's heir, Britain's new high king, in a desperate bid to unite Britain's warring factions. But now Isolde's husband lies dead on another battlefield, and the Saxon tide that Arthur turned back is once more threatening Britain's shores. Only Isolde knows the truth: that her husband was killed, not by the Saxon enemy, but by a powerful nobleman who will stop at nothing to become the next high king. Mistrusted among the king's council for her father's treachery, and branded a witch by many for her skill at the healer's craft, Isolde's only hope for survival is Trystan, a mercenary warrior with a shadowed past. Together Isolde and Trystan must fight to protect the throne from the king's murderer, and expose a treasonous plot that could destroy Britain itself.

For me to say that the idea for my novel Twilight of Avalon came to me in a dream seems almost too fantastic a story to be believed. But it really is true, and it happened this way: It was an afternoon in the early spring of 2006, and I was four months pregnant with my little girl. I'd been writing and trying to get published for a few years, always coming close but never selling a book. I'd just weeks before been dropped by my first agent, who had decided to pursue another career--and that afternoon, I'd gotten my final-nail-in-the-coffin rejection on the book I'd been shopping around. I remember sitting at my computer and thinking that maybe my career as an author wasn't ever going to be. I had my daughter to think about, after all. My husband was in grad school, I was the one planning to stay home with the baby, and maybe this was a sign from the universe that I needed to give up on writing and just focus on being a mother. But at the same time, I did have my daughter to think about. Even though she wasn't born yet. Even though I didn't yet even really know who she was. I was going to be a mother. And I had to ask myself what I wanted my daughter to learn from me, to take from the example I set by my own life. That if your dream doesn't come true easily or right away you just give up on it? Of course not. Any dream worth having is worth fighting for. That was what I wanted my daughter to know. And I decided that afternoon that I was going to write another book--though I didn't yet know what it was going to be. Only that I was going to find a new and completely different story to tell. And that this one was going to be "the one"--the one that made it off my computer, onto the shelves of real, actual bookstores, and into real readers' hands. And a week or so later I had a dream. A very vivid dream that I was telling my mom that I was going to write a novel about the daughter of Modred, great villain of the cycle of King Arthur tales. I'd been an English major in college with a focus on Medieval literature, and had fallen in love with the Arthurian world then. So when I woke up, the idea just wouldn't let me go. And over the next nine months or so--with a brief break for my daughter's birth!--that same idea turned into the manuscript for Twilight of Avalon.

"...Elliott explores and expands on the traditional legends and mythologies of King Arthur and Tristan and Isolde in a unique and delightful way. ... [She] has created a most promising first novel filled with passion, courage, and timeless magic."

-- Jane Henriksen Baird, Library Journal

"Elliott's reworking of a timeworn medieval tale reinvigorates the celebrated romance between Trystan and Isolde...Fans of the many Arthurian cycles will relish this appropriately fantastical offshoot of the Arthurian legend."

-- Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

" a dark vision, inspired by Geoffrey of Monmouth's account of disunity and treachery among the British leaders, and it maintains powerful tension throughout as it exposes the suffering of those affected by their cruelty and shortsightedness. Strongly recommended."

-- Ray Thompson, Historical Novels Review

(Editors' Choice Review)

"From out of the swirling mists of legend and history of 6th century Dark Age Britain, in Twilight of Avalon Anna Elliott has fashioned a worthy addition to the Arthurian and Trystan and Isolde cycles, weaving their stories together with Isolde's personal one. This Isolde steps out from myth to become a living, breathing woman and one whose journey is heroic."

-- Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy

"Anna Elliott takes the aerie-fairy out of the fabled Arthurian tale of Trystan and Isolde, and gives us a very plausible version. Our heroine has the spunk of a woman of our era, and this Isolde is one we can all admire and aspire to."

-- Anne Easter Smith, author of The King's Grace andDaughter of York