Get a free audiobook

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

A posthumous recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Marion Zimmer Bradley reinvented - and rejuvenated - the King Arthur mythos with her extraordinary Mists of Avalon series. In this epic work, Bradley follows the arc of the timeless tale from the perspective of its previously marginalized female characters: Celtic priestess Morgaine, Gwenhwyfar, and High Priestess Viviane.

©1982 Marion Zimmer Bradley (P)1993 Recorded Books

What the critics say

“[A] monumental reimagining of the Arthurian legends...” ( The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about The Mists of Avalon

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    94
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is my all time favorite

I read this book when I was young and fell in love. To this day it is still my favorite. The magic and beauty in it is breathtaking. I highly recommend both the audible and the book. Take your time with it, it's an adventure. #Audible1

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth the time investment

This book is full of detail and goes on and on with not much happening. It is basically a discourse and examination of organized religion, tolerance of other religions and the mysogynism of the early Christian church. Good female characters but not worth the 50 hour investment.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it from start to finish

First time reading/listening, and I loved this series of books. It is an interesting take on the King Arthur legend, with focus primarily on the women in the story and on the spiritual tensions involved in the shift from the old feminine/Goddess beliefs to the newer Christian religion. I liked how this version looked at the story from the perspective of the older religion - but if you're Christian, or if you like to think of Morgaine/Morgan Le Fay as an evil sorceress, you may not enjoy it. As always, Davina Porter's narration is superb.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So sad when it was over

Just love this book
I absolutely wholeheartedly recommend this
Just download it and love it up!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hooked from the beginning!

Loved this book, glad I could listen to it while walking the dog and doing chores, otherwise I would've lost a lot of sleep reading this fascinating story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected at all.

**Spoilers**




I’ve know of this/these books for decades but never got around to them until now. They were totally not what I was expecting. It’s pretty much 50+ hours of an anti-christian/Catholic diatribe. I wanted to choke Guinevere pretty much ever time she spoke. The slightly homosexual relationship between Arthur and Lancelot was a tad odd too. All in all I didn’t like it - not that I consider myself overly Catholic - but the Christian bashing did get a little tiresome. The performance was great as is the norm for Davina Porter. There really wasn’t anything to the story but the “christians ruined everything” narrative.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I am the wrong gender for this book

this book was more geared towards a female voice. unfortunately as a male I found very little of interest in this

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great long listen.

A story to get wound up in, one that had me simultaneously researching further into the era as I found myself though-ally carried by this entwinement of women’s lives.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Epic!

An amazing story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable as told by the women who were there.

Davina Porter performs incredibly giving a unique voice to each of the vast amount of characters.

I cannot recommend this audiobook enough. This is not to be missed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved everything

Loved the story, loved the narrator, I have no poor comments, words cannot express. I can’t recommend it more.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carolina
  • 2012-07-13

Davina Porter brings an old favorite back to life!

I first read this book more than a quarter century ago as a college student. I had very fond memories of it, but hadn't reread it until I found it on Audible last month. Not only that, it was narrated by Davina Porter, who has become my favorite narrator through her reading of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.

I find Marion Zimmer Bradley's characters to be very real, and their interactions genuine. I love the general sweep of the story, and the elegance of the prose. And Porter's narration brings that depth of character development and storytelling to a new intensity.

One thing, if you are looking at the four-part "series" of this book, note that "The Mists Of Avalon" is the collection of the other four (Mistress Of Magic, The High Queen, The King Stag, and The Prisoner In The Oak). The full book costs one credit, and the parts also cost one credit. Save yourself three credits and buy the complete version at once.

453 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GH
  • 2015-08-08

Outstanding Must Listen Tome

The point of view of this novel comes from the females of the legend. From the first fifteen minutes, I am enthralled. We know the plot, we know the legend, or do we? Bradley offers a credible and interesting perspective that brings many possibilities to light that breathe life into this story.

Davina Porter makes narration a fine art in this story. Her voice brings this tale to life and she is the perfect fit.

This is a rare listen to a fantasy legend. Little is know about the real Arthur. Was he a king or a general? I offer highest praise. Please make room for this on you listening list. It is an investment at 60 hours. Also for you people who listen at 2X, you know who you are, slow down and take it all it a 1X. I give a big thumbs up.

159 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • 2018-12-19

Reimagining Arthur in a Syncretic Context

Today we remake Spiderman every couple of years. For much of the millennium before that – extending to today – we’ve remade the legends of Arthur and the Round Table. It’s generally the same story, at least in its outlines, but the challenge is to emphasize one or another element, to take material that belongs to all of us and to reframe it with a particular perspective.

When you come to Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, it helps to know the story already. Spoiler, but Guinevere can’t deny her love for Lancelot and that means trouble all around. And the part about the quest for the Holy Grail that destroys the companionship of the knights? Yeah, there’s no avoiding it either.

Traditional authors of the story have done all sorts of things with it, of course. Malory applied it to developing and codifying a code of chivalry which, while it has its virtues, helped lay the foundation for a sexist and puritanical Britain two or three centuries later. T.H. White (with Disney following) emphasized the wonder of the story, turning it into one stream of fantasy that paved the way for the reception of (if not so much the creation of) Tolkien’s world.

Bradley turns out to be powerfully ambitious here. She inserts a clear feminist take on the legends – here, Morgaine (Morgan le Fey) is not evil, but rather the most important representative of the druidical religion that Christianity is displacing. This is not “merely” feminism, though. Instead, it’s a claim for what I’d call syncretism, for the argument that the “enemy” isn’t some form of Satan but rather intolerance of what we cannot understand in our limited human perspective. We get lots of quotes exonerating Christ from the work of extirpating the traditional religion, with the blame going instead to “His priests.” (As such, St. Patrick, here as Patricius, is much more the ‘bad guy’ than Morgaine herself.)

The idea for Bradley, that is, is that we find the best in ourselves as humans when we embrace the good wherever we find it. She’s hardly anti-Christian, yet she embraces the sense that the nature-worshipping druids had important virtues as well. The challenge is always to find a balance, to accept that catechism – the mindless listing of what we ought to believe and how we ought to conduct ourselves – is the enemy of real faith. That’s as true for seeing the power within women as it is in the context of faith.

In a way, then, she offers what may be the most important theological take on the fantastic in the interval between Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. Tolkien (and C.S. Lewis, of course) used fantasy to explore a clear vision of a benign, monotheistic space where evil nonetheless existed. At the other end, Martin has unveiled a world where there is no “true north” of faith, a world where the supernatural is present but a range of god-like figures vie with one another for amoral victory.

It’s fascinating, then, to see Bradley as a middle-ground, as someone intent on using the genre to imagine a space between catechism and amorality. At its best, that’s precisely what her exhaustive take on these legends accomplishes. The Grail of her account, for instance, may or may not be the cup of Christ, but it is clearly something long used in druidical worship that Merlin, that traitor to the druidical cause, has stolen for Christian purposes. It’s not an angel that the knights see holding it but rather Morgaine herself, channeling the powers of the goddess for a brief moment, who sets them off to discover a vision of the holy that they can imagine only within a Christian vocabulary.

As a concept, as a motive for revisiting stories most of us know in one form or another, I love all that. And parts of this, especially the opening pages, are wonderfully done. There’s a reason this was a best-seller when it came out, and there’s a reason it lingers around the edges of the genre’s canon even as Bradley has come to be held to account for a lot of disturbing things from her lifetime.

All that said, though, this can’t entirely escape what seems the original sin of the genre. This is simply too long by at least a third. What works in the first few hundred pages – the scene-setting, tension-building, character-developing work – becomes tedious by the end. We all know what’s going to happen; I’d like to see her get to the parts that matter to her sooner: the collapse of the Round Table as a sign of the failure of syncretism, the trapping of Merlin as simultaneously a feminist reclamation of the goddess and a pyrrhic victory for the druidical cult, and the final vision of Arthur as representing a “Camelot” moment that we can look to for inspiration even as we cannot recreate it.

I’m glad I read this – it came in handy as the semester wound down and I needed something thoughtful and distracting to listen to as I drove to work and walked the dogs – but I’m glad to be finished as well.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann
  • 2012-09-05

Still a favorite

Where does The Mists of Avalon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the better audiobooks since it is an old favorite.

What did you like best about this story?

The reader, Davina Porter. She is one of my favorites.

What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

She is able to mix and match the voices without making all the men sound like idiots.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I guess my strongest reaction is just a real comfort with the story - I strongly associate with the crossover elements to other literature on the Arthurian legends.

Any additional comments?

Highly, highly recommend.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-08-31

A Long Slog, But The Ending is GORGEOUS

At close to 900 pages and 51 hours, this book is something of a daunting endeavor, but I can assure you the ending makes it worth it. Indeed, the ending has as much power as it does BECAUSE so much time and space is devoting to constructing Arthur's Britain. I highly recommend this book. Truly a seminal piece of work in feminist fantasy, but also in Arthurian adaptions.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon Rigsby
  • 2015-11-18

Fantastic Narration by Davina Porter!

What did you love best about The Mists of Avalon?

What I loved the best was the whole atmosphere that continues throughout the book. It's calm and serene, even in the most tumultuous parts. You can feel from the very beginning, the mysticism of the place and people. Davina Porter's voice is perfect for that calmness. Her character voices are superb, and you can sometimes forget that you're listening to just one person!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, of course, my favorite character was Morgaine because she is the one that you are right there with throughout the book. We hear her innermost thoughts, and so we cannot help but be on her side! She is mystical and powerful, even in the times she thinks she is not. Now, on the other side of things, the character I loved to hate was Guinevere! She was so bratty, selfish, and shallow! Everytime we heard things from her point of view, I really wished someone would just push her off a cliff.

Which scene was your favorite?

The parts of the book that really stuck with me for some reason were the very first two paragraphs, when Morgaine says,

"In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, wise-woman, queen."

All the way through to,

"And now, when the world has changed and Arthur - my brother, my lover, king who was, and king who shall be - lies dead (the common folk say sleeping) in the Holy Isle of Avalon, the tale should be told as it was before the priests of the White Christ came to cover it all with their saints and legends."

I think it completely sets the tone for the entire book, and Davina Porter's voice really brings it to life.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't have any extreme reactions to this book, mostly because even the sad parts were cloaked in mystery and sereneness. You sort of glide through from beginning to end in an enchanted haze. It was different!

Any additional comments?

Before listening to this book, I had already listened to the entire Outlander series, which Davina Porter also narrated. Each audiobook is very long, so in total, I'd listened to about 326 hours of Davina telling the Outlander tale. I was craving more of Outlander after that, so I looked at what else she had narrated. The Mists of Avalon caught my eye, and even though I was hoping the narration would remind me of Outlander, it didn't! Her voice wasn't that different, but I found that I never thought about Outlander while listening to this book! That, to me, was an impressive thing! I was sucked in by the story, and not just the voice.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • katherine hammond
  • 2018-08-08

less magic, more soap opera and a legacy of abuse

turns out the author was a child abuser. something seemed off... look it up yourself.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leila
  • 2013-08-26

The Mists of Avalon Unabridged includes all 4 bks

What did you love best about The Mists of Avalon?

I absolutely loved Davina Porter's reading of this series. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I purchased the Unabridged version of "The Mists of Avalon," I had purchased all four books of the series using just 1 credit. Other reviewers had not commented on this, so I thought I would share and suggest that you do the same as the rest of the books are interesting. The story comes to life in this reading and it is well-researched. Zimmer Bradley conducts a fantastic feminist reading of the Arthurian legends.The production is equally fantastic- featuring Davina Porter who is one of the best audiobook readers.

What other book might you compare The Mists of Avalon to and why?

If you are interested in Porter's reading of this, you might also enjoy her reading of the Outlander Series (though a completely different type of historically-based drama).

Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?

She particularly excels in her Scottish accents.

112 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 2012-10-15

Don't want it to end...

I am in love with anything Davina Porter narrates, but in the Mists of Avalon, I am also re-captivated by the story of Camelot as told through the eyes of the key women. It is refreshing and thought-provoking in ways I would not have expected; an aspect that only adds to my enjoyment!

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Olle
  • 2016-09-21

An ok fantasy, with loads of sex and politics.

Like game of thrones, but with less murder and more incest. I kinda like it.

12 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-07-06

Good Read

I have the read enjoyable and was engaged in the narration. Thank you for this dive into an interesting sets of dilemmas and complexities.