This bestselling classic of high fantasy is a retelling of the King Arthur legend with an ingenious twist. The tale is told entirely from the POV of the women characters, Queen Guinevere, the Druid witch Morgan La Fay, and so on. The backdrop is the conflict between paganism and encroaching Christianity, an epic struggle for the hearts, minds, souls of the people, which paganism was doomed to lose.

MZB worked intensively on the book for ten years, immersing herself in The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion by Sir James George Frazer, an Oxford scholar who wrote the definitive treatise on paganism and its symbols. She remains faithful to the classic love triangle between Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Guinevere, Guinevere’s tragic inability to bear children, and the twists and turns between Arthur and his half-sister, Morgan La Fay.

MBZ, a scholar of medieval life, vividly depicts the issues affecting women in particular. When a pregnant woman, for example, went into labor, she needed to summon a posse of female friends and relatives to keep her upright and walking so gravity could work its power. (It’s a wonder medieval midwives aren’t credited with discovering gravity, instead of Sir Isaac Newton getting conked on the head with an apple. Then again, medieval midwives couldn’t write about their observations. They were illiterate.)

MBZ vividly depicts medieval tourneys, a masked pagan fertility ritual resulting in an inadvertent incestuous coupling with disastrous consequences, and those mysterious mists, which part to reveal a magical alternate reality.

I confess I’m not a fan of high fantasy or medieval life. I’m a thoroughly modern American. I believe in meritocracy, not inherited rank, women as scholars and leaders, not breeders and chattel. Also, MBZ’s prose is slow and stately, almost Victorian, and the opening pages are glacial. I confess I tried to get into the book three or four times before I could commit to 1,000 pages.

A journalist friend interviewed MBZ toward the end of her life. She’d written the Darkover Series, another feminist fantasy, and many other lesser works. When my friend asked her about Mists, she snapped, “If I knew that book was going to make me famous, I never would have written it.”

MBZ was something of a female curmudgeon at the time.

Sigh. Every author should have a bestselling classic that, in retrospect, she hates.

So there you have it, my friend. If you’re seeking a classic of high fantasy, a unique take on the King Arthur legend, or a title to add to your required fantasy reading list, this book is for you.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, screenplays, forthcoming projects, and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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Thank you for your readership!