UK: Gollancz, 2009; HB. ISBN: 0575082992
UK: Gollancz, 2009; TPB. ISBN: 0575083018
UK: Gollancz, 2010; PB. ISBN: 0575083026
Read an extract of Avilion: “The Villa“.
At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth’s myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops.
They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world’; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair.
But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven’s brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see ‘the outer world’ more than anything.
Events are about to overtake them.
“… an enthralling reworking of myth and a haunting vision of love and loss unmatched in contemporary fantasy.”
‘Much of Avilion‘s power lies in the way it’s told. The prose is simple, deriving its vivid, urgent quality from rhythm and sound and the cumulative effect of short sentences, rather than florid vocabulary. But it’s also sprinkled with phrases that resonate in the imagination like bard song, whose imagery is rooted in woodland. A sword wound is ”cold as a winter’s waking”, while Jack fighting to leave hope, feels himself held by ”chains made of vines and briar”; one character is described as ”full of everything that was the red in man”, another as ”bright frost in darkness”.
With its emphasis on endings, renewal, and the inexorable power of Story, this is a fittingly intense revisiting of the world and themes of Mythago Wood.’
‘The plot is as rich and inventive as ever (the wealth of possibilities contained in this primeval, haunted woodland seems inexhaustible), but the tone is lighter, with a wider range. There’s even space for a few jokes, and many surprises. Mythago Wood was dark, intensely focused, and essentially tragic. The family was a source of conflict and every relationship was doomed. By contrast, in Avilion, fathers aren’t monsters, lovers can part without one having to die, and people can decide how they will respond to the events life throws at them, rather than being compelled by fate to behave like characters in a story. This is a wonderful, grown-up fantasy about growing up and moving on, and going home.’
Lisa Tuttle, The Times