Title: Shadow Over Avalon
Author: C.N. Lesley, aka. Elizabeth Hull
Publisher: Kristell-Ink, Oxfordshire, UK
POV: third person
Awards won: unknown
My source: The Kindle version
Arthur is a teenager living in Avalon, a high-tech city hidden beneath the ocean, encased in a huge plasglass dome. He wants to know who his parents are and is obsessed with learning about life on the surface of the planet. The year is 3892 when Earth is inhabited by a primitive, feudal human society plagued by Saurians, Nestines, and other frightening creatures.
Arthur – a teenager living in an underwater city called Avalon
Ector – Arthur’s friend, an officer in the Elite corps
Evegena – matriarch of the seers, a villainous character
Circe – a girlfriend forced on Arthur for production of a child
The Archive – a sentient computer system in Avalon
Uthur – the Dragon Duke
Ashira – a War Maid, later known as Shadow
Copper – an outcast
King Hald – Ashira’s father
Many others, but this is enough to give an idea of what’s in the book.
Shadow Over Avalon
The novel is sold in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. If you like futuristic sci-fi, tinged with fantasy, you might like this novel. I enjoyed reading about Arthur’s quest to know about his parents and how he came to be living without them in Avalon.
Humans adapt to environment
The courage to conquer adversity
Curiosity can be a dangerous thing
“Earth Date 3892 – Orb lights suspended over the buildings gave the plasglass dome of their ‘sky’ a blue glow against the fathoms of seawater pressing from above. Ordinary Submariners, people with real lives, hurried about their business like flows of tiny fish caught in a never-ending day. Initiate seers loitered at every junction. Serving as the eyes of the sentient computer, the Archive, these black-robed law keepers were as gloomy as their home, the dark towers of Sanctuary, which stood like rotted teeth amid the artificial brightness. Free at last from the grim place, if only for a short while, Arthur intended to enjoy his excursion into the city, his first since attaining the man-height needed to pose as an initiate.” – C.N. Lesley
As you can tell from the paragraph above, the book is easy to read, for the most part. It borders on the scientific at times, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.
This is a short book trailer from the author’s YouTube account:
My experience of reading the book
I learned about Shadow Over Avalon from a Goodreads list about futuristic romances. Way back in April 2016 I decided to take on the 2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge and “futuristic romance” was one of the requirements. I love looking for the books for these challenges – it is like looking for items on a scavenger hunt list. Sometimes I find them on Amazon, and sometimes on Goodreads, and at times, from a Google search.
I scanned the list of futuristic romances and decided Shadow Over Avalon was the only one that appealed to me, even though I’d never before heard of the book or the writer. I’m glad I chose this book, as my reading of the novel turned out to be a pleasant, exciting, and memorable experience that I looked forward to each evening. That said, I will add that I don’t believe this novel is primarily a romance; to me it seemed more like an adventure novel in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. There was some romance but it wasn’t the main thing.
Even though Shadow Over Avalon is over 400 pages, the story intrigued me enough that I returned to it day after day until I got through it. I’m a slow reader (alas!) and it took me over a month of sporadic reading sessions to finish. I know many others could read it in a day or two. That’s not my style, though I wish it was. I’m trying to change that and keep challenging myself to read more, more often, and faster.
Even though I enjoyed the book, it occasionally got bogged down in scientific detail. I may not have understood everything exactly as the author intended it, but I was interested enough in the plot that this didn’t stop me from continuing on and enjoying the characters and action. Probably true sci-fi fans would enjoy these brief scientific interludes. I believe they are typical of the genre.
My opinion of this book
I think this was C.N. Lesley’s second published novel (published Oct 29, 2013). She has other novels out now, and I have not read them. I liked the characters and the juxtaposition of two very different civilizations.
The story takes place in two time periods. Arthur is living in 3892, but uses the Archive to learn about events that happened on the surface of the earth c. 3874. This is how he comes to know of Uther, Ashira, Copper, and others who lived there. Their lives are an obsession for Arthur so he frequently returns to the Archive to learn more about them.
Ashira’s story held my interest more than Arthur’s because Avalon was so high-tech there were many aspects of life there that were entirely new to me, and hard to adjust to. I think it is typical for a sci-fi novel to suddenly divert into information that’s totally off the spectrum of reality for the reader, and I know many people like novels like this. As for me, I prefer novels a bit more grounded in what I know as reality. I’m not a real sci-fi buff but I read books like this to expand my consciousness and because as a writer, I want to experience and understand a variety of genres. I also occasionally write sci-fi, and this helps me understand what real sci-fi fans are looking for in their fiction.
This book has some sex scenes and if it were up to me, there would be none because I’m somewhat uncomfortable with them, yet the sex scenes in this novel were not too graphic so I wasn’t overly upset by them. Believe me, if it was protracted and detailed, like soft-porn, I would not be bothering to review the book. The sex-scenes in this book were necessary to the plot, more or less… it is a fact that we needed to know that a conception took place and it wasn’t done with a test tube. Just thought I’d mention this so those who are like me and don’t like sex scenes in literature would be forewarned.
I enjoyed reading Shadow Over Avalon and felt most of the main characters were well-developed and likable.
This story is very loosely based on the original Arthurian legend. When I say “very loosely” I’m not exaggerating. This is sci-fi fantasy, not a retelling of King Arthur’s story.
About the Author
C.N. Lesley is the pseudonym of Elizabeth Hull, a Canadian writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is married with three daughters and is a grandparent. She’s a full-time writer, and likes watercolor painting, gardening, reading and cats. Her website, CN Lesley, is full of information about her current writing projects, and includes snippets from the novels, and poetry.
Arthur is a compelling, likable and adventurous teenager. Ashira’s adventures on the surface of the earth fascinated him, and kept my attention. If you like futuristic fiction, you’d probably enjoy reading Shadow Over Avalon by C.N. Lesley.