Kingdom of the Grail

3.58 avg rating
( 52 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780061099793: Kingdom of the Grail

Ten years after the aged Baroness Ailena Valaise was turned out of her castle by her son, Guy, Ailena returns, restored to her youth by a drink from the Holy Grail, and announces her plans to end Guy's reign. Reprint.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Orthodox historical, set in late-12th-century Wales, from a writer whose previous concerns have ranged from hyperinvolved science fiction (The Last Legends of Earth, 1989) to pirate- sorcerer sagas (Wyvern, 1988). Ailena, the old, crippled baroness of Castle Lanfranc, is expelled by her evil grandson Guy and forced to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Along the way she meets Rebecca, a young, distant Jewish relative, traumatized by the slaughter of her family by Crusaders, who closely resembles Ailena as a young woman. So Ailena conceives her grand stratagem: fill Rebecca with Ailena's memories, stage a deathbed rejuvenation ``miracle,'' then send Rebecca in the persona of Ailena back to Lanfranc as the instrument of her revenge upon Guy. At Lanfranc, Ailena's daughter and the common people acclaim Rebecca as the old baroness reincarnate; but the unbelieving Guy and his vicious sidekick Roger are only dislodged, not vanquished. So Rebecca struggles to hold Lanfranc against a succession of kinsmen, nobles, and Welsh barbarians variously intent on assassinating, deposing, raping, or marrying her--with a final, bloody battle in prospect before Rebecca admits the deception and Guy finally gets his comeuppance. Deft, complex plotting and respectable period ambiance undermined by unconvincing characters, in particular a heroine who lacks feminine wiles, charm, and depth. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

This vivid tale of revenge, faith and love set during the rule of England's Richard I moves from Wales to a tumultuous Europe unsettled by the Crusades to intensely colorful Palestine and back. Arrogant Guy Lanfranc assumes control of the family demesne by sending his hated mother, the old baroness Ailena Valaise, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Wily Ailena vows revenge and finds the means in the person of Rachel Tibbon, a Jewish girl who survived the butchery of her family and other Jews after Crusader losses. Ailena's plot to regain the castle built by her father is based on Rachel's astonishing resemblance to herself as a young woman; 10 years after her forced departure the baroness returns, claiming the restoration of her youth in a Church-certified miracle. As Ailena, the well-coached Rachel earns the support of her people while locked in a fearsome struggle with Guy and opposed by the castle's priest, who calls the "miracle" a work of the devil and objects to her attempts to change religious practices at the castle. Until now a fantasy and science fiction writer, Attanasio ( Radix) adeptly expands his domain with this thoughtful touching historical novel .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Attanasio, A. A.
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