This first book in Miles's new Tristan and Isolde trilogy is a fantastical riff on the classic account of passionate star-crossed lovers. The young Isolde is the beautiful Princess of Ireland, the Western Isle. Blessed with the gift of healing, she is also cursed with a wildly passionate mother, the Queen, ruled by her desire for men rather than concern for her people. While the Queen is more caricature than character, the feminist Miles presents a fully realized woman in Isolde: sexual, spiritual, tormented and impassioned. Tristan is nearly as well crafted, first appearing to Isolde as a nameless, wounded pilgrim whom she must nurse back to health, then revealing himself as a glorious young prince. The story line follows the traditional tale, wherein Isolde is betrothed to Tristan's uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, here a bumbling, effete antihero. Rounding out the cast are characters from Arthurian legend: an aging, wise Merlin; the dashing Arthur; his beloved Guenevere, Isolde's friend and former schoolmate. Miles's fantasy-reading audience will welcome her richly worded return to old England.
Scholar-historian Miles, author of the popular Guenevere trilogy (Queen of the Summer Country; The Knight of the Sacred Lake; The Child of the Holy Grail), returns to the Arthurian-era British Isles to weave an ornate tapestry of pride, mysticism and love.