by: Stephen Lawhead
by Ciara Grey
To correspond with this issue's
interview with Stephen
Lawhead, I'm going to review his latest release, Avalon.
During my "research" of this novel, I
discovered a couple of things that Lawhead puts to good
use, which are important when writing. The phrase, "write
what you know" came to mind several times.
Mr. Lawhead writes a good and solid plot. His characters
are well developed and the story has a good pace
throughout. I enjoyed the prologue. It actually had
immediate bearing on the story. So many times prologues
leave you wondering why they were written and what their
bearing was to the story.
The author is professional enough to successfully work
into the story the overlapping of modern British politics
and ancient Arthurian politics. Mr. Lawhead knows how
British Parliament works and he is well informed about
monarchial government. He's done his homework, and
displays that knowledge without dumping the information
on the reader. Rather, it is integrated into the plot and
There was a point though in the story when Merlin and
Morgian meet to do battle. The whole fight seemed to be
missing something. There was a lot of wind and tension
but I'm not really sure what went on. Merlin doesn't even
know what he did to Morgian. I would have thought Merlin
would not have been one to fool with unknown magical
forces. This scene could have been fleshed out a touch
more, in my opinion.
In one scene, the protagonist, James was attacked by a
gang of skinheads with pitbull dogs. The description of
the fight with the skinheads was good, the tension
mounting and the action believable. However, the pitbulls
and how they were dealt with wasn't as credible. Pitbull
terriers are notoriously vicious when provoked. Yet I
felt the dogs were defeated too easily.
Another part that didn't sit well with me was how James
and his girlfriend Jenny got together. Jenny was upset
with James because he had not made a commitment nor given
her enough attention. After he proclaimed himself the
rightful king, he asked her to marry him. It appeared
that she was going to make him sweat her decision, but
suddenly out of the blue she agreed to marry him. This
seemed a little contradictory in the character Mr.
Lawhead had shown her to be. Most women would have made
it more difficult. I know I would have, king or not!
This was an interesting twist on the Arthurian theme. It
had the Camelot mystique with new innovative characters,
and maintained a great blend of history and present,
without confusing the reader with unclarified timelines
at all. Overall the writing in this novel was very high
quality. The worst part was that it came to an end.
Because of the high professionality, great story and huge
enjoyment factorI rate this novel * * * * *
* * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* = Slow, difficult to read, could have been
* = Imminently