In the tradition of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, the author makes use of the prerequisites of the Arthurian legend: Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Lancelet's illicit love for Gwenhwyfar, the destruction of Camelot, but with a twist--she presents the entire panoramic story from the female point of view. No passive by-standers, these earthy priestesses from Avalon literally breathe life into a musty, oft-told tale. In Book One: Mistress of Magic, the Lady of the Lake--Viviane--brings about the marriage of her younger sister Igraine to Uther Pendragon. Their only child, Arthur, is believed to be the last hope in the long standing war between Saxons and Romans. Meanwhile, Morgaine, Igraine's daughter by her first marriage to Gorlois, has come under the apprenticeship of Viviane at Avalon. In spite of her great love and hope for Morgaine, Viviane is driven by an unrelenting vision. Miserable, but duty-bound, she tricks Morgaine and Arthur into becoming lovers during the night of the ritual fires. Enraged and shamed by what her aunt has done, Morgaine plans to rid herself of the child that has resulted from their union. Book one ends with Arthur's coronation and Morgaine's decision to leave Avalon.