The Prince and The Pilgrim by Mary Stewart was my February book for the From My Bookshelf Challenge 2023.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
A light, easy romance read that is a little predictable in places. 3 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
The bestselling author of the Merlin Trilogy returns to King Arthur & Camelot to tell of daring adventure & unexpected love.
ALEXANDER THE FATHERLESS: Alexander has come of age to take vengeance on the treacherous King of Cornwall who murdered his father. He sets off toward Camelot to seek Arthur’s justice & is diverted by the sensuously beautiful Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s sister. Using her enchanting wiles, Morgan persuades the him to attempt stealing the Holy Grail. He’s unaware her motives are of a dark nature.
ALICE THE PRETTY PILGRIM: Daughter of a widowed duke, Alice has experienced lively adventures, accompanying her father on yearly pilgrimages. Now, on her father’s final visit to Jerusalem, she comes under the protection of a young prince whose brothers were murdered, a prince possessing a silver cup believed to be the Grail. Thus the stage is set for two young seekers to meet–& to find not what they’re seeking for but, instead, the greatest treasure of all…love.
“Midnight meetings, and spells, and witches flying through the air when the moon’s down, and gathering in some spot to brew evil against their enemies.”
(From The Prince and The Pilgrim by Mary Stewart, page 114)
First published in 1995, it felt older than that when I reading it, like it was written a few decades before, though I’m not sure why I thought this.
It is the 5th book in Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Saga, though this is a standalone novel. Set in the same world, it is not set in Camelot, and from what I gather, there is very little crossover between the trilogy and this novel.
It is a light, easy and fairly quick read, but it is a little predictable in places. Charming in a way, if you’re looking for a sweet romantic read, but I’m not sure I was.
As for Alexander and Alice, I thought they were were interesting main characters, but a little stereotypical: she the pure, chaste woman, and he, not so pure and chaste, but that’s not his fault. It’s because of a evil witch who wants to sleep with him.
Well-written, it is easy to envisage the early medieval world in which it is set. There is politics, scheming, religion, action, drama, magic and murder, but it lacked something, that enchantment I feel when reading about the Arthurian world. Also, not a fan of Morgan le Fay always being the bad, evil, untrustworthy schemer.
I’ve only read one other book so far by Mary Stewart, Thornyhold, which I reviewed here back in 2020, and from what I said in that review, I marginally preferred it to this story. I would like to read the books in the series that come before this. From the reviews I’ve read, these hold all the magic and majesty I was hoping for in this.