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Merlin

[Merlin] Merlin
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Published by Crossway Books, 1988
Amazon.com: paperback, audiobook
Amazon.ca: paperback, audiobook
Amazon.co.uk: paperback
Recommended by: Ross Pavlac

Other Comments:

To tell the truth, although I enjoyed Taliesin, the first book in Lawhead's Arthurian cycle, I was a bit worried that Lawhead was "painting himself into a corner." Some of the situations he set up seemed likely to cause difficulties as the story moved closer to the arrival of Arthur himself. I need not have worried. Just as Lawhead wove together different mythologies (Atlantis and "the fair folk", to name the most important) into a continuous narrative, so here, he adds even more threads to his tapestry, while still building towards his climax. This time, he adds more myth, and at the same time, makes the Christian content much more explicit. He makes it quite clear that the druidism inherent in the legends about Merlin is a field of inquiry which leads to the brink of the knowledge of Christ, and that those druids who turn back from the brink are betraying their own history.

Unlike Taliesin, Merlin is told in the first person. There are times when Merlin's feelings make the narrative difficult to follow, but that too is part of the story: Merlin is overcome with grief, and the fragmentary, disconnected nature of the story at those points just heightens the sense of the price he pays. By the time the story gets to the birth of Arthur and the climactic events following that birth, Lawhead has spun his tale in such a way that those events, rather than feeling contrived to fit into the better-known elements of Arthur's life, almost seem inevitable. I begin to see why Lawhead has collected such a following. – Greg Slade (May, 2004)

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