The Great Tree of Avalon: The Eternal Flame

The Eternal Flame Book Cover The Eternal Flame
The Great Tree of Avalon
T. A. Barron
Puffin Books
October 6th, 2005

Avalon is in grave danger and three people named Elli, Tamwyn, and Scree must rescue it. Rhita Gawr is trying to destroy it so that he can take it for himself. Elli, a priestess, has a mission to go deep underground to terminate the threat of Rhita’s servant Kullwych, a sorcerer, and his evil vengélano crystal. Tamwyn, the young grandson of Merlin, must scale the trunk and branches of the Great Tree of Avalon and climb higher to the stars so that he can relight the seven dark stars of the Wizard’s Staff and banish Rhita from Avalon. Scree, an eagleman, needs to reunite a fallen clan of eaglemen and inspire them to help fight the battle on the Plains of Isenwy to defeat Kullwych’s forces on land. A priest called Lleu and a wood elf called Brionna, friends of Elli, Scree, and Tamwyn, attempt to stop the Humanity First movement from sending reinforcements to the army of Kullwych. Elli encounters hindrances like the killing of Grikollo. Tamwyn is plagued with many uncertainties on his journey such as the way to relight the stars using magical powers that he does not yet control. Scree finds his own identity as a leader of the Bram Kaie but loses things in his life. Lleu and company do not succeed in their quest but learn about secrets of the movement. Hope is scarce as the people of Avalon prepare for a devastating battle and the mysterious reinforcements of Rhita Gawr in the sky.

This book contains many plot twists and a slow resolution. It is written in third person omniscient point of view, but the author only allows the reader to examine the development and feelings of a few characters at a time, as over four groups of characters embark on wildly distant journeys. The point of view changes from one group of characters to another every few chapters. The author uses connections to names and previous books frequently, and reading the Merlin’s Dragon trilogy helps with understanding them and enjoying the book much. The author used relatively weak vocabulary, but strong sentence structure. I enjoyed the slang, accents, and grammatical errors in certain characters’ dialogue. I liked the memorable revelations and connections very much when I read this book, and it is one of the main reasons that I enjoy Barron’s works. I would read this book again and choose it again if I needed to. I think that this book should be at 7-8 grade level, and I rate it 9/10 for good and lasting content but weak vocabulary.



1. Why was the death dreamer afraid of the élano crystal?
1a. The crystal had the power to save his victims.
2. How could Tamwyn travel without time passing?
2a. He could swim within the river of time in the sky, because it always flows in the present, and never the past or future.
3. Why was Elli going to shadowroot?
3a. She wants to destroy the vengélano crystal that Kulwych possesses.
4. Why was the City of Light destroyed?
4a. The dark elves hated light, as it was a change to their way of life, and rebelled to destroy it.
5. How was Belamir a changeling?
5a. His fingernail was mauled, and changelings always have something wrong about their assumed forms.

arduous (40)
coalesce (59)
doddering (69)
cavorted (92)
curlew (92)


6. How did Elli escape from the dungeon?
6a. She used breadcrumbs to trick gouger ants into breaking the cell door.
7. Why does Hawkeen follow Scree into battle?
7a. Scree is a role model to him and Hawkeen wants to help him in any way possible.
8. Why did Elli not use Grikollo as a decoy?
8a. She could not bear to let him die alone.
9. Why did Ahearna, the Star Galloper, guard the portal to earth?
9a. Merlin foresaw that Rhita Gawr would love to take over earth after Avalon was crushed, so he told Ahearna to guard it well.
10. What was the name of the mine that Kulwych stayed in?
10a. It was called Borvo Lugna.

admonishing (133)
exaltation (144)
animosity (165)
keening (170)
maelstrom (188)


11. Why did the fire angels help fight Rhita Gawr with Tamwyn?
11a. Tamwyn helped Gwirion lead his people to a higher standard and he wants to repay the favor. 12. Why did Harlech and Scree want to duel so badly?
12a. They had fought to a draw before.
13. How did Shim grow back to his original size?
13a. Bonlog uncursed him when she kissed him.
14. Why do humans have to leave Avalon?
14a. Humans needed to learn to respect other creatures.
15. Why was Merlin allowed to come back to Avalon from Earth?
15a. Avalon was in “unusual” peril, so Dagda let Merlin come to Avalon under disguise.

crustiness (241)
audacity (244)
iridescent (251)
poignancy (256)
sentimentalists (281)