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Summary

She was Eilan, the daughter of a Druidic warleader and gifted with visions. In a land struggling to survive both Roman conquerors and her own people's enemies, surely fate had marked her to become a priestess of the Forest House.

But first Eilan had chosen a different, forbidden path - to love Gaius, a soldier of mixed blood among the legions sent to subdue her country. So she must hide a terrible secret when she is anointed as the new High Priestess. With mighty enemies poised to usurp the wealth of magic the Forest House sheltered, Eilan could only trust in the power of the great Goddess to find her destiny amidst the treacherous labyrinth in which fate had placed her.

©1994 Marion Zimmer Bradley (P)2010 Tantor

Critic reviews

"With the sure touch of one at ease in sketching out mystic travels.... Bradley writes with an unhurried pace and uncluttered staging." ( Kirkus Review)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enthralling

Great story of the Romans and the Britons and how the Pagans. A very good read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Prequel to Mists of Avalon

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I found the narrator's male voices irritating because they all sounded pompous and old. You don't have to try and sound like a man if you're reading a male character's speech.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Sentoni
  • 26-10-10

Re-recorded and highly effective

This is not a reissue/transfer of the unabridged cassette tapes that were originally produced. Everything about this new recording is outstanding. Rosalyn Landor is an absolutely, perfectly beautiful interpreter of these characters and words. In fact, she's so wonderful, I wish she had also been engaged to rerecord The Mists of Avalon as well; she is really *that* good! This story, though slighter than Mists, is a wonderful tale and forerunner to the main novel of the saga. If you've heard the cassettes and haven't really cared for them, I urge to you get this new recording and hear this beautiful story for the "first time."

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marion M Miller
  • 08-01-14

Good story, stay with it and you will enjoy it

Would you listen to The Forest House again? Why?

Yes, it is a large book and has a lot of details to get through in the first 5 chapters. If Rosalyn Landor had not made it so easy to stay with it, I may not have finished it. But after those first 5 chapters you have a great understanding of what is happening, time frame, and the lead people in the book. Then it gets good and I am going to read the next one of these books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Forest House?

Beltane Fires

What does Rosalyn Landor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a rich and engaging way of sharing a story that makes you feel like you are experiencing it. Very easy to listen to and like I stated above, without her reading this story I would have put it down.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Beltane, The Lady

Any additional comments?

Problem I have is finding out which is the next real book in this as there are two with Avalon that could be the next one. It is important with this novel to stay with the time frame so if you could make that happen it would be a great improvement. You have the series which are numbered, but the confusion is with the Lady of Avalon and the final book as the producer's information doesn't tell you where in the timeline they fall.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • alison
  • 27-07-14

Enjoyable book

What did you like best about The Forest House? What did you like least?

Good story, a little slow in places, but still held interest.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Good ending, and leads you into the next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer S Lewis
  • 21-12-15

Could only stand it for 20 minutes

Any additional comments?

The narrator was so annoying I just couldn't take it. The women's lines sound like men, and men's lines sound like old nuns. egad.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • C. Budden
  • 20-08-15

Fully Enjoyable

The Forest House was excellent. One can see within this story the culmination of that which will be the Mists of Avalon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kari Aspenes
  • 19-04-15

Bad narrator.

All the male caracters sound old and pompous regardless of age. A big big negative!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Erin Ainsworth
  • 22-09-18

Enigmatic

I’m not sure how to start this review. This book was.....enigmatic. I had to really struggle to get through chapters that felt either unnecessary or just plain boring. I did feel that the narration had a lot to do with my dislike. She did character voices wonderfully. They were full of emotion, they were succinct. Excellently done! However, the narration did my head in. There was zero intensity in the intense parts, and no angst unless someone was speaking. There was no build up, barely any climax, and I realized I probably would feel differently about the book if I had been able to read it. Sometimes you get that with audiobooks.

The author dwelt a lot on things that were introduced in other books, but never really reiterated in this one. The story felt disjointed, for that reason, because I kept wondering why I needed to know this stuff. For example, all of Gaius’ experiences in Rome and all the conversations he had with people who died shortly thereafter. It felt like one author wanted to dwell on Roman/Britain politics, conquest and conflicts; and the other wanted to dive into the Pagan lifestyle and festivals. I’m assuming A LOT of that stuff was to setup another book, cause it didn’t have a place in this one. But that feels like the authors weren’t very interested in writing this one, just setting stuff up for other books. As though they really wanted to write a long epic series, so they contrived one. This book could’ve been a lot more streamlined and engaging.

Also, mentioning how the druids influenced everything the Oracle said, and the obvious lordship men had over women in general, I was waiting for that conflict to come to a head, but it never did. It lacked resolution until they all died. If I had read the previous book, their deaths would’ve been so disappointing and anti-climatic considering the conflict and angst surrounding them. I refer primarily to Lhiannon and Ardonos.
In addition, why didn’t Elian take authority from her father at the end? She thought about it, she had the authority from the goddess, she wasn’t helpless, but she just took it. For a STRONGLY feminist book, these women were quite pathetic. The only one with any strength of character and backbone was Caillean.

I’m glad I’m done, I doubt I will be listening again any time soon. I think having multiple authors creates chaos in a book, and I may avoid those situations in the future. The source material is engaging, but truthfully, I didn’t care about these characters at all. I didn’t even talk or yell at the audiobook like I’ve done in the past. I just wanted it to be over, and didnt care that they died. That doesn’t strike me as a good thing. I’ve also read Mists of Avalon, and it’s better than this. Easy to be though because it’s the source material for all these books, as they lead up to it. Also, Bradley wrote that herself and you can tell the difference. I bought Priestess of Avalon, and I’m hoping that it’s better. Fingers crossed!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kdmd
  • 17-08-18

Noooooooo!!!

After Mists of Avalon this book pales by comparison!
It just seemed like a soap opera/romance for Romans, Druids and Priestesses! Had to skip chapters just to get to the end! Don’t think I can take the other books in this series! I’ll just listen to MofA again when I need a fix!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MikelMask
  • 17-08-18

Wondered

I cannot recommend this audio book any more highly. The story kept me enthralled and the narrator was fantastic. I liked it so much that I have already purchased the next two books in the series that are performed by the same narrator.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-06-18

Narration is awful. I have tried twice

I just cannot abide this narrator. Overly enunciated like an English Lit teacher reading from a textbook.