I’m reading “Mists of Avalon” for the first time as part of an SoA book group. I read the prologue and up to about page 40 or so (Igraine just met Uther for the first time.)
My first impression – holy Dion Fortune, Batman! Bradley quotes her right in the prologue (“All Gods are one God, all Goddesses are one Goddess, and there is one Initiator”) and her whole style and tone, at least for the first part here, reads like she’s writing a prequel for Sea Priestess. At the very least, Bradley is showing, in a very open way, that she is not just writing fantasy here.
By drawing so heavily on Dion Fortune so soon and in such an obvious way, I think Bradley is letting the reader know that this is an occult novel in the same tradition as “The Sea Priestess” or “Moon Magic” – that it can be read on different levels. I said on here before that I was vastly unimpressed the first time I tried to read it – I only got a few pages in before I had to stop because I didn’t like it. Somehow I missed the blatant Dion Fortune references, and with these in mind it turns it into a whole different kind of book for me.