Avilion by Robert Holdstock (Ryhope Wood: Book 7)

At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops. They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair. But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven's brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see 'the outer world' more than anything. Events are about to overtake them.

This is the last book in Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Cycle and Avilion itself a sequel to his first book Mythago Wood. So we have now come full circle. Mythago Wood began the story of the Huxley’s and followed Steven Huxley on his eventual journal into Ryhope Wood, following the mythago Guiwenneth, just like his father and brother before him.

This book picks up again with Guiwenneth and Steven happy together with their two children, Jack and Yssobel and this is really their story. The story focuses on their duel natures of red and green and what their destinies will be. Red being their human side that allows mythagos to be created and the green side which connects them to Ryhope, as well as the complexities of the myths and legends that are generated.

The story fluctuates between times, starting at a point which will end up being the middle, then slowly coming back to the beginning when Guiwenneth came back from Lavondyss. The story also links together with Christian (Steven’s older brother) who was last seen in the book Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn. We are able to see glimpses of connection with other stories within the Mythago Wood Cycle. With the legends of Odysseus and King Arthur being the main focuses.

This book also shows the evolution of Robert Holdstock’s writing, especially if you were going to read Mythago Wood and Avilion in that order. I felt that the book flowed really well, whether it was because of the familiarity of the characters or knowing that this was closure to a very good series, but I felt satisfied with this conclusion.

9/10 This book also shows the evolution of Robert Holdstockļæ½s writing.

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