the guardian Fri 03 July 2009
Twenty-five years ago, Holdstock published Mythago Wood, a strikingly original fantasy about a woodland, ancient and limitless, in which dwelled mythagos - archetypes of myth made flesh and blood. Into the wood were drawn George Huxley and his sons Steven and Christian, each in search of the same mythago, Guiwenneth. Avilion is the direct sequel. Steven now lives in the heart of the wood with Guiwenneth and their children, Jack and Yssobel. When Guiwenneth is drawn deeper into the wood seeking Christian, now the feared leader of a mercenary band, Yssobel follows her and Jack gives chase on a tortuous quest to reunite his family. Mythago Wood was a seminal expression of British fantasy, and Avilion, though lacking its predecessor's narrative drive and intensity, is an enthralling reworking of myth and a haunting vision of love and loss unmatched in contemporary fantasy.