Hi, folks, and welcome to the page where I can revel in the best feeling a storyteller can have: to know that someone enjoyed my work. Maybe it’s a bragging page, but I hope to provide some insight for potential readers on what to expect, and to preserve links to some of the great articles that reviewers have posted. Thanks for taking a look, and especially thank you, so, so much, to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review. It is appreciated more than you can know.
Of course, I must start with the review by the famed historian, Geoffrey Ashe, who’s research is the basis behind the entire premise of The Retreat to Avalon. His advice and support, and especially his approval of my portrayal of his work is as high an honor as I could ask for.
Geoffrey Ashe, MBE FRSL, Author and Historian
Review of The Retreat to Avalon “Avalon, so the story goes, is a mythic place where King Arthur fades from view after his last battle. But in his ground-breaking novel The Retreat to Avalon, Sean Poage tells us otherwise. Avalon, he says, is a real location on the map, and a real Arthur did go … Read more
Lisl Reviews: The Retreat to Avalon on The Review:
“Having grown up with a large portion of my attention almost continuously tuned to the era within which The Retreat to Avalon is set, the title naturally piqued my interest. I adored all the same figures millions of others did, and could never get enough. It also happens that I am a great lover of “regular people,” often craving glimpses into the lives of those who lived in an amazing time but who were, perhaps, not unlike many of us. Author Sean Poage opens his projected trilogy, The Arthurian Age, with a chronicle giving us the best of both, bestowing upon us, especially those of us with a thirst for the ordinary, a glimpse of the Gawain we’d always longed for but never quite attained…”
Matthew Gagnon’s review of The Retreat to Avalon (The Arthurian Age Book 1)
5/5: I have always been fascinated by Arthur tales, but have been constantly disappointed every time I see a book, television show or movie based in the universe. They are usually annoyingly fantastical and magical, feeling like a late middle-ages Dungeons and Dragons story, or some unconnected tale that purports to be “the real story,” which doesn’t feel connected to the Arthur legend at all (I’m looking at you, Clive Owen).
I’ve been desperately wanting something that feels *real* but also feels a part of the Arthurian ethos. Something that…
The Retreat to Avalon, Review by Eranamage at Library of Erana
“…King Arthur is a warrior – charismatic to an almost supernatural degree, yet a man, with a man’s weaknesses – rage, impatience, even hubris. He is a legend but a fragile one. He is the ultimate warrior-king. There is no magic, at least no obvious magic. Merlin appears, he is a mysterious figure with many allies and legends of his own. This is a time when Christianity was new to Britain and many of the old ways and believes lingered. Merlin knows it. Is he a wizard? Yes. Does he cast any obvious magic? No, but that makes him more intriguing and I really hope he appears in later books…”
An Arthur of Grit and Daring! – Amazon review by C.J. Boke, April 30, 2020
There are many, many retellings of King Arthur, his knights, Merlin, and of the hope and fall of Camelot. Susan Cooper’s “The Dark Is Rising” series spun it as a children’s adventure full of magic and fantasy. Mary Stewart’s “The Crystal Cave” series focused on the life of Merlin bringing historical context to the tale while maintaining aspects of the fantastic. T. H. White’s “The Once And Future King” is a classic retelling of the legend, a work of myth and poetry that begins in fancy and fun and ends in tragedy. And Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists Of Avalon” recasts the tale of Arthur from the female perspective exploring the experiences of Ygraine, Guinevere and Morgan Le Fay on the mythical Isle of Avalon where the Divine Feminine rules. These are only a few of the many creative and captivating imaginings of Arthur’s story.
With “The Retreat To Avalon”, Sean Poage has given us something new. This is a sincere and exciting re-imagining of the late 5th century and a historical King Arthur who could have existed. As his source of inspiration Poage has turned to the earliest known references of Arthur and his retinue which are found in middle-Welsh tales such as Culhwch ac Olwen, Preiddeu Annwfn, and The Mabinogion, among others. Here Poage has imagined for us an Arthur who is more coarse, more unrestrained, and more impassioned than the romance Arthur of Chrétien, Malory, and Tennyson. Poage’s Arthur is full of grit and daring, and the tale Poage weaves is one of political intrigue and large scale military conquests and defeats that sweep up the various tribal peoples of medieval Britannia into the global struggles of a desperate Roman empire in decline. This is an Epic tale rooted in the dim and distant history of Britain full of cultural detail and military stratagems that makes for one jolly good read. I enjoyed Poage’s tale immensely, and I am now eagerly awaiting book 2. Get this book and join the fun!
Arthurian Must Read: Sean Poage’s ‘The Retreat to Avalon’ – Streets of Lima
Sean Poage’s ‘The Retreat to Avalon’ is a well-written, historical approach to Arthurian legend. It’s a must read for fans of fantasy or Arthurian legend.
The Retreat to Avalon, Review by Andrew P. Weston, Best Selling Author of ‘The IX’
“…At the outset, you are presented with an accurate representation of the way life must have been during the 5th century and the pressures facing people as they set out to make a place for themselves in a fragile, barely balanced society. His own personal adventures are remarkable, revealing how quickly fortunes can rise or fall. The battle scenes are well written; they engage you and ease you along at a steady pace without losing track of what’s happening and where. Above all, you can see Poage strove to keep things real, while presenting a touch of mysticism that strikes just the right balance…”
This novel takes us back 1500 years
I almost didn’t read Sean Poage’s book, The Retreat To Avalon. It’s 450 pages long and a fictional account that takes us back 1500 years. Little did I know how fascinating this could be. Now I am very excited that this turns out to be the first of three historical fiction books exploring the origins of the Arthurian legends back in the day of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages…
Book Review | The Retreat to Avalon by @SeanPoage #bookreview #historicalfiction #Arthurian
“Truth be told, I had the Roxy Music classic in my head almost as much as the classic King Arthur movie with Clive Owen. This book is brilliantly researched and provides a take on the Arthur legend unlike any I have ever seen or heard of before. The book’s beginnings remind me actually of the movie ‘The Sands of Iwo Jima’. You get a really well written, in-depth look at the characters and develop deep feelings for many of them. Then the reader has his heart in his throat as he follows them off to war…”
Author Gareth Russell’s review of The Retreat to Avalon (The Arthurian Age Book 1)
5/5: A beautiful reimagining of the legends of Camelot. Part military thriller, part historical epic, Sean Poage has humanised the Arthurian legends while leaving intact the magic of their allure. A superb achievement.
Wow. Just….wow. by Camilla Beckett, Amazon Reviewer, May 14, 2019
Where to begin. There is so much about this story that I wish I could share, but alas, spoilers, sweetie. With that in mind:
This is a story that draws one in, from detailed world and honest character building to true, sometimes raw, human emotion. It is a historical what if, based on true historical events that make it feel so grounded in reality, offering ideas on the Myth of Arthur, that you can totally see a future archaeologist finding real evidence of it.
When introduced to the main character Gawain, I was reminded of one of my favorite literary characters: Taran, from Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Collection.
Gawain’s path, like Taran’s, is one I am glad to follow with all its twists, turns and surprises. I am excited to see where the next step will lead.
These two series shall sit side by side on my bookshelf. It may not seem like much, but it is the highest compliment I can give the author.
The Retreat to Avalon, Review by The Historical Novel Society
Sean Poage tells the tale of King Arthur in a realistic historical light. The prologue sets the stage, when in 469 AD the Roman Emperor Anthemius attempts to save what remains of the Western Empire by seeking the aid of King Arthur, known as Rigotamos, “Highest King.” The story centers on Gawain, a …
Link to Amazon reviews of The Retreat to Avalon
Link to GoodReads reviews of The Retreat to Avalon
Link to Amazon reviews of the anthology Heroika: Skirmishers
Link to GoodReads reviews of Heroika: Skirmishers