The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is an Arthurian tale told from the perspective of women, including King Arthur's mother, aunts, sister, and wife. The story tells about their lives and their struggles, hardships, and romances both before and after the birth of King Arthur and the various ways they plot and participate in shaping the future of their kingdom. This is a very long and slow paced book, but I didn't find it at all tedious to read, which is more than I can say for other books in this series. I enjoyed nearly every minute of reading this book from start to end, and when it was over I felt such longing wanting to read more. I thought that most of the characters were very well done and had lots of depth to them. I especially connected with the character of Morgaine, the narrator and King Arthur's sister, and felt she was a kindred spirit, or as much of one as a book character can be. I also really connected to the spirituality of this book and many of the pagan beliefs described resonate closely with my own eclectic spiritual beliefs. This is definitely one of my favorite books and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Arthurian fiction or medieval fantasy.
It is not necessary to read any of the other books in Bradley's Avalon series to enjoy this book, though the other books do give a lot of background history to Avalon and even to some of the characters in this book. If you want to read the other books in the series and want to read them chronologically as I did, then The Mists of Avalon should be the last book you read. If you prefer to read the books in publication order, then start with this book and work your way back chronologically.
I re-watched the made for TV movie after I finished reading the book and thoroughly enjoyed it despite the fact that there were many changes. I would say that the movie stayed fairly true to the first half of the book, but the movie changed and left out a lot of things from the second half of the book. Also some of the characters were altered and were nastier than they were in the book and things like that. There were a lot of instances where I could see why things needed to be changed or removed for the movie format, but there were some parts of the book that I really wish had been included in the movie. I suppose if they had included all of the stuff they left out, the movie would have been twice as long as it was. It's still a great movie though and I'm able to enjoy it in and of itself.