The Prince and the Pilgrim by Mary Stewart

   There are writers of romance that occasionally move beyond the standard genre to write of other dreams. Mary Stewart did that with her Merlin Trilogy- The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and the Last Enchantment (perhaps add the follow-on The Wicked Day). In this new story, Stewart comes back to the Arthurian realm and creates a new romance, not of the same calibre as the earlier but still a good read.
   Taking a small plot line from Malory's Le Morte, Stewart attempts to renew and update the story of Alisander, the son of Baudouin, and Alice, the pretty Pilgrim, into a fuller grail story. She has combined the struggles of the Merovingian sons of Clovis and a touch of almost Crusader era Jerusalem to tell us that there are many visions of the grail but only true love is the real quest.
   Stewart states in her notes that she attempted to update and move the story back to the dark age period, but it still rings of medieval, with castles dotting the landscape, religious pilgrimages, and noble knights. I enjoyed the early half of the book with the development of characters and the period of her vision. The final chapters that dealt with the grail and the simple destined discovery of love seemed to be rushed to conclusion and did not hold my attention. All in all, if you enjoy Mary Stewart, you will like her book. But don't go looking for Arthur or the Dark Ages, only romance and adventure.

The Prince and the Pilgrim, Mary Stewart , William Morrow & Company, January 1996, ISBN: 0688145388 Hardcover

Prince and the Pilgrim, Mary Stewart, Fawcett Books, April 1997, ISBN: 0449224430 Paperback, 308 pages