Avalon: The Return of King Arthur

Steven R. Lawhead

New York: Avon Books, 1999.

Synopsis: 

In the near future the monarchy of Great Britain is on its knees, as the British Republic Party headed by Prime Minister Thomas Waring seeks to destroy the last vestiges of sovereignty from the Island of the Mighty. Then, when the last British king commits suicide, the tables are suddenly turned. Plucked from obscurity, Captain James Arthur Stuart suddenly finds himself the next King of Great Britain. Aided by the mysterious Embries, James begins a journey which leads him to realize that now king, he was once king before – the mightiest of all British kings, Arthur. Armed with this realization and the memory of Taliesin's Dream of the Kingdom of Summer, James sets out with the help of Embries to bring sovereignty back to Great Britain and inaugurate Avalon. But just as the forces of light are marshalling behind their champion, the forces of dark are gathering for battle, because not only has Myrddin Emrys returned, but so has Dread Morgian, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Thus begins the Battle for the Soul of Britain.

Evaluation: 

This is to my mind Lawhead's finest book, as he departs from his usual era of writing, the ancient past, and weaves a magnificent tale set in the near future. Actually last book of the Pendragon Cycle, Avalon picks up many of the characters from the original books and re-clothes them in modern guise. Arthur, Cai, Rhys, Gwenhwyvar and the mighty Myrddin Emrys all return in this epic book, and if you've read the Pendragon Cycle, you might end up speculating who of the supporting cast might be mirroring their predecessors. Lawhead not only brings a stunning conclusion to the Cycle, but also sets forth some very thought-provoking philosophy regarding kingship and the sovereignty of man and God on this planet. This is a must-read book.