Despite the title, Rhiannon is a secondary character in this story Ultimately, it is her life that shaped the plot, and her power that changed it at the end, but the point of view throughout belongs largely to Manawyddan, last son of Llyr and rightful High King His adventures in this branch of the Mabinogion are varied, and prove both his skills and inner nobility. 3.5 stars.Also, the 70s covers for this are hilarious The Song of Rhiannon 1972 , the third volume in Evangeline Walton s Mabinogion Tetralogy, begins with Manawyddan, son of the sea god, haunted by grief and feeling directionless after the events of The Children of Llyr I haven t read The Children of Llyr, but I have read Branwen Daughter of Llyr, the medieval Welsh tale on which it is based It features a Red Wedding s worth of deaths His friend Pryderi, prince of Dyfed, gives him new purpose in life by offering him a home at his palace and the chance to court Pryderi s widowed mother, Rhiannon.See the rest at Fantasy Literature. A Retelling Of The Mabinogion In Novel Form Manawydon Finally Unites With Rhiannon An Aspect Of The Goddess But His Happiness Is Shaken By The Appearance Of The Gray Man, Who Seeks Vengeance Against The Living And Especially Against One Who Would Claim The Goddess A thoughtful and accomplished retelling from Walton, continuing her interpretation of the Mabinogion I m not hugely familiar with Welsh mythology though I have a vague and excessively superficial understanding of the main players, but one doesn t need prior knowledge to understand what s going on here A young and well meaning king makes a mistake that dooms his land to emptiness all the inhabitants being turned to butterflies or dragonflies or somesuch and it s up to his long suffering stepfather who s not actually a stepfather to out think the otherworldly force behind all this trouble It s an enjoyable read, simply and quietly told, with the odd moment that really gleams usually in the characterisation , but I feeladmiration than emotional connection. I was an English teacher in China when I was reading this book and I remember feeling a little self conscious about taking it out of my bag to read in class while I showed the students American movies.See, the cover is a bit suggestive The story is flat and not at all interesting in my opinion but students couldn t see that.Maybe some of those students thought of this picture later and are now reading this book I feel sorry for them, for this old English Celtic storyline, and the language used for it, won t grab their fancy. The 2 stars missing from my rating represent whatever is lost in the translation from the original script, coupled with my lack of heredity, not having the depth of experience growing up with these tales in my youth I feel certain that these elements are essential in understanding how this seemingly mundane story could survive through the years the way it has, the passing down from generation to generation giving it it s inherent magical quality To me it felt clunky and lifeless and mostly uninteresting, saved almost entirely by the final chapter and the coming of the Gray Man. Even better than I remember it Less epic than Children of Llyr, but the magic, as in the chapter where all of Dyved vanishes overnight, is unutterably eerie And her descriptions of the land make me feel it would be wonderful to live in a pre industrial agragrian society, and I know perfectly well I d hate it The story comes from the Third Branch of the Welsh Mabinogion, and it s beautifully written on top of everything. I couldn t get into this one as much as The Children of Llyr The characters just kind of mope around for most of the book Also, I wasn t sure if I were reading The Song of Rhiannon or The Song of the Rhiannon the editor I use that term loosely didn t seem to know either Still marveling at the sheer number of mistakes in this omnibus edition. In this installment, fae forces cast an enchantment on the land of Dyved, making it desolate except for Rhiannon, her son Pryderi, and both of their mates They wander other lands, their success at whatever they undertake resulting in jealousy and reprisal from others Shenanigans continue to ensue until the fae get what they wanted the return of Rhiannon to the fae realm One cannot help but think there might have been a better way to make that happen than laying waste to a kingdom and waiting patiently for decades until she accidentally wanders back into the fae.While still interesting and readable, this is probably my least favorite of the Mabinogion Tetralogy. Excellent Although she continues to romanticize the pagan past which is, by definition, unrealistic I love these books Walton retells the stories of the Mabinogion with grace, respect, and great beauty Although she is definitely a modern writer, with a modern writer s concern for psychology and detail, her books never make me feel like I am reading a modern attempt at retelling an older story Rather, they have such integrity that they read seamlessly with the air of authenticity The only thing I do not like is her tendency to expand the meaning of a sentence with a sentence fragment after the sentence Which she does fairly often.