ISOLDE: Queen of the Western Isle  - summary and reviews        <<back

ISOLDE: Queen of the Western Isle

In the golden time of Arthur and Guenevere, the Island of the West shines like an emerald in the sea - one of the last strongholds of Goddess worship and Mother-right. 


'An ornate tapestry of pride, mysticism and love ... a must-read for fans' - Publisher's Weekly

Scholar-historian Miles, author of the popular Guenevere trilogy, returns to the Arthurian-era British Isles to weave an ornate tapestry of pride, mysticism and love. This first book of Miles's new Tristan and Isolde trilogy is a fantastical riff on the classic account of the 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 realised woman in Isolde, sensual, spirited, 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, 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. Forecast: The substantial overlap of this new trilogy with the Guenevere series will make this a must-read for fans, and Miles's large readership should continue to grow as she fine-tunes her full-blooded approach to mythological story-telling
- Publisher's Weekly

Miles, author of the best-selling Guenevere trilogy, breathes new life into another fascinating medieval legend. In the first installment of the Isolde trilogy, Isolde, a princess of Ireland and a famous healer, nurses a wounded Tristan back to health after the young knight is wounded in battle. Though their two countries are at odds, Tristan and Isolde fall deeply in love. When Tristan's uncle, the King of Cornwall, and Isolde's mother, the Queen of the Western Isle, arrange a political match between King Mark and Isolde, a disconsolate Tristan is ordered to accompany Isolde to Cornwall to to meet and marry the King. 

During the course of the voyage, the ill-fated lovers mistakenly drink a potion that binds them together for all eternity, Jam-packed with intrigue, treachery and romance, this spin-off of the Arthurian saga will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment
- Booklist


Isolde is the only daughter and heiress of Ireland's great ruling queen, a lady as passionate in battle as she is in love. La Belle Isolde, like her mother, is famed for her beauty, but she is a healer instead of a warrior, "of all surgeons, the best among the isles". A natural peace-maker, Isolde is struggling to save Ireland from a war waged by her dangerously reckless mother. The Queen is influenced by her lover, Sir Marhaus, who urges her to invade neighbouring Cornwall and claim it for her own, a foolhardy move Isolde is determined to prevent. 

But she is unable to stop them. King Mark of Cornwall sends forth his own champion to do battle with the Irish - Sir Tristan of Lyonesse - a young, untested knight with a mysterious past. A member of the Round Table, Tristan has returned to the land of his birth after many years in exile, only to face Ireland's fiercest champion in combat. When he lies victorious but near death on the field of battle, Tristan knows that his only hope of survival lies in the West. 

He must be taken to Ireland to be healed, but he must go in disguise - for if the Queen finds out who killed her beloved, he will follow Marhaus into the spirit world. Merlin smuggles him into the Queen's fort at Dubh Lein and begs Isolde to save him.

From this first meeting of the star-crossed lovers, an epic story unfolds. Isolde's skill and beauty impress Tristan's uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, and - knowing nothing of her love for Tristan - he decides to make her his queen, a match her mother encourages as a way to bind the two kingdoms together under one rule. 

Tristan and Isolde find themselves caught in the crosscurrents of fate, as Isolde is forced to marry a man she does not love. Taking pity on her daughter, the Queen gives her an elixir that will create in her a passion for King Mark and ensure that their love will last until death. But on the voyage to Ireland, Tristan and Isolde drink the love potion by accident, sealing forever their already perilous love.

So begins the first book of the Tristan and Isolde trilogy, another stunning example of the story teller's craft from Rosalind Miles, author of the beloved and best-selling Guenevere trilogy.




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