For years I'd heard my mother talk of Mary Stewart. But it took me this long to finally pick one of her books up (I was admittedly bored and this was at hand) and read...and read...and read. I wish I'd read her stuff before. But, better late than never, they always say!
The book I happened to pick up was the first of her Merlin trilogy - The Crystal Cave.
Written from the perpective of the legendary Merlin, it traces his young life up to the point when he is instrumental in playing a part in Arthur's birth. It is a story with familiar names and places, but with a whole, fresh new outlook. If Mary Stewart has been hailed a fantastic 'story teller' then it is no exaggeration. From the very first word of the story she has you glued to her pages, her style being descriptive yet succinct, imaginative yet real, and full of movement and fire.
The first book of her Merlin trilogy is fast paced and captivating, and by the end of it, leaves you panting for more. You are introduced to a Merlin who is not a creature of fantasy and magic, but a learned and knowledgable bastard prince who knows how to use all that experience and learning have taught him. In a time when a warrior is regarded as the ultimate epitome of manhood, it is little wonder that his intellect is treated with skepticism and suspicion of supernatural intervention - atleast, that is how Mary Stewart portrays this Merlin, although one cannot escape his gift of the Sight.
Britain awaits unification despited the warring factions of Celts, Saxons and Romans; and it is through Merlin that this unification has its beginnings.The Crystal Cave
is truly a fantastic read. I can't wait to get my hands on The Hollow Hills
and The Last Enchantment
- Parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy.