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Publisher's Summary

It was a time of legend, as the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. Meanwhile, across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace that had flourished for 2,000 years in the doomed kingdom of Atlantis. 

This is the remarkable adventure of Charis, the courageous princess from Atlantis who escapes the terrible devastation of her land, and of the fabled seer and druid prince Taliesin, singer at the dawn of the age. It is a story of an incomparable love that joins two astonishing worlds amid the fires of chaos, and spawns the miracles of Merlin, and Arthur the king! 

This is the first book of The Pendragon Cycle.

©1987 Stephen R. Lawhead (P)1995 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Highly recommended... Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis." (Library Journal)

"A fine storyteller, he brings the Arthurian characters to life without sacrificing any of the haunting pleasures of the legends." (Omaha World Herald)

What listeners say about Taliesin

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    645
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    290
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    123
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    50
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    49
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    214
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    98
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    26
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    29
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    540
  • 4 Stars
    185
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    72
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    42
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    23

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Taliesin

This is a fantastic book. I was captivated by it. There are parts of the book that I can see would be slow or taxing for some who are addicted to the instant gratification of constant action. However, just as Tolkein's more detailed descriptions of landscape and character give that book the intensity of reality, so does Lawhead's descriptive style give depth and reality to this story.

Regarding the negative comments about the narrator, I both read and listened to the book alternately. I found the narrator?s interpretation provided depth to the characters and story that exceeded my own interpretation. I found myself returning and listening to sections that I had read just to hear how the narrator would interpret the section. I often preferred hers to mine. The only difference I would cite is that the narrator portrays the character of Charis as a little more rigid and cold than I had interpreted her to be.

For those who enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend this story.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Classic interpretation of a Classic tale

The Pendragon Cycle has to be the most human and complex of all the Arthurian legend tales, linking the magic and demise of Atlantis to the birth and life of the English saviour/king. The depth of the character development is wonderful, though perhaps not to the taste of those who enjoy a more action-packed story. There were times during the story that were so poignant and tragic that I found myself with tears in my eyes - a rare achievement for a narrated book. Overall, an enthralling and engrossing look into the lives and cultures surrounding this interpretation of the legends of King Arthur.

Despite other reviewers comments, I found the narration easy to hear and follow along with. Nadia May has proven herself to be a popular interpreter of recorded books time and time again.

Thoroughly enjoyable - please Audible, publish book 5 'Grail', the anticipatition is killing me!!

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Part 1 of the Arthur legend

I have many books about the "King Arthur" legend. This five book series which starts with "Taliesin" and narrated by Nadia May is a wonderful interpretation. I have read and listened to at least 6 times and have always found something I might have missed when I first listened. The next three books are narrated by another of my favorite narrators Fredrick Davidson, and the last book in the series "Grail" is narrated by Robert Whitefield. Each narrator does a brilliant job and if you enjoy the legend of Merlin and Arthur, you will enjoy this series. It is different and you should start with this book, then Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon and finally Grail. I have at least 6 other audio books about the "Arthur Legend" and most are enjoyable, but this to me takes the reader or listener to fantasy and legend that has not been touched upon before. Always try the free listen that Audible gives to see if you will like the narrator, I have only found maybe 3 in the entire ten and a half years I have been a member to annoy my ears, but if the story is truly good I can usually get past.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I really didn't think the narrator was bad-

much better sounding/ less pretentious than the guy they got to read the next couple. Not being Christian, I found the series annoyingly skewed. It might have been the author?s intent, but occasionally it kinda beats you over the head with the Jesus theme. All the books in this series do. I?m sure there had to be a more subtle way to get the job done. It's a very well written fantasy series though; it's worth all of the 5 stars- even with its cultural biases.

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inappropriate reader

I have read this series a couple of times and was excited to have it on audible. I was completely disappointed by the choice of reader. This a an epic English/ Wales saga: having it read in a lilty Indian female voice , using frivolous and “woo woo” voices and tones ruined the whole story. I had to quit after 2 hours, then go read the book to get that voice out of my head and remember it is a great book.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Addictive

Taliesin is the first book of a series of outstanding historical fiction. The tale begins in Atlantis and continues through the reign of Arthur, King of Britain. Each of the books is "narrated" by a different key figure of the tale. The books are lengthy but are so facinating that one wishes they were longer still.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Do not like narrator

Wanda McCaddon is hard for me to listen to, almost too sharp at times and unable to perform different voices causing characters to blend together. After a while I got used to her slight vocal annotations which helped but I'd rather not listen to her. Also she does a horrible job with men making them sound weak and effeminate almost boardering comical. I would liken it to a prepubescent boy in a junior high play mistakingly performing Macbeth as a Queen.

update: the narrator finished the book well. I think partially because of less characters and partially because I was getting used to her voice. Still, she has 4 main voices: narrator (which she does very well), child or young girl, woman or young man and older person. It gets really confusing when she uses the same voices for male and female. I got totally lost once when a young woman and a woman were talking, then in the next chapter a kid and a young man.... same voices. Also the woman became the young woman's voice when talking to a man (who was now talking in the woman's previous voice). it was just hard for me to follow and enjoy.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic

Loved reading this back in high school, however the narration is utterly terrible. The voices used for different characters absolutely distracts and takes away from the story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Weird accents.

The narrator did not need to use such strange accents when portraying the family members voices for Taliesin. The near raider use some sort of random half Indian half British accent which was just strange and made it almost frustrating to listen to the story

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite series, except for the narrators.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I love the entire Pendragon series, but again, like in other audible purchases I've made, I'm not pleased with the chosen narrator. While Wanda McCaddon's voice is not displeasing, the accent she reads in sounds too much as if she's suggesting the characters are from India instead of Wales and Scotland. It really takes away form my listening pleasure.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

see above

3 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • BeeStrongwoman
  • 01-07-12

Yawn

I didn't finish this it was unbareable, and very Tiresome.
The reader was easy to listen to sounded like Judy Dench, but the story was hard & slow to get into. I was continually waiting for the story to start to the point I had enough.
Sorry didn't finish is it put me to sleep.
I would not recommend .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mickey Spangle
  • 10-20-21

A great, different talked on the Arthurian legend

I'm so glad I revisited this book. I read the series originally when it was first published in 1987. I love the way the author weaves the legends of Arthur and Atlantis together with characters from the Mabinogion.

My only complaint is the pronunciation of some of the Welsh words but this did not distewch from the overall tale

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TeamTomlinson
  • 10-21-20

excellent natation and excellent story

proper mythical story of epic proportions, read by a fantastic narrator. origins of Arthur and all that jazz

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sasoura
  • 01-31-19

Narrator too fast and high pitched

Couldn't bear to listen to the narration even with the speed at 90%. Returned it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • rob
  • 11-06-15

Read the book so many times

I have read this book so many times as well as the whole series. Its slow to start but as the reader gets enticed into the story you are taken back to a Celtic time. Thank you for a beautiful book and many years of happy reading and now listening

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ulrika
  • 10-20-10

well told but very funny mistake historically

Well I could not believe my ears when the early medieval persons sat around the fires eating ..POTATOES *LOL*
They did so even in book two of the serie but in book three they had reverted to onions;-)

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz Bear
  • 04-07-22

Story is good, but I cannot handle the accent

The story is good and the narrator is very well spoken, but sometimes she sounds like she has a sub-continent accent, and I cannot listen to a Celtic/English story with a non-UK accent :(

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-21

The narrator has destroyed this book

Worst telling of this story ever. Going back to reading the book , I can't take anymore of her voice.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S.Attenborough
  • 06-15-20

Good Story Suffering from Narration

I usually adore English narrators but this is like listening to a Queens Christmas board cast that never ends. The narrator kept on changing the heroines name from Charis to Harris for some strange reason.

A good narrator knows when to change characters this narrator kept the childish girl voice for all the females and sometimes for the King!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenden
  • 04-18-18

Not the endless knott

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Endless Knott was wonderful, my expectations were not met in this
I crept waiting but this stayed in the realms of conversations with a focus on anthropology .
Never developing to an interesting story.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Wanda McCaddon?

Wanda performed well enough.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It promised to develop it just never developed.

Any additional comments?

Left disappointed