Monday, September 22, 2008
Author: Mary Stewart
Pages: 512 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5
First sentence: The day my Uncle Camlach came home, I was just six years old.
The Crystal Cave is the first book in Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. It is a series I have been meaning to read for a long time, and when I saw it on the library bookshelves, I snatched it up immediately.
Book One takes place when Merlin is just a young lad, the illegitimate son of the daughter of a local king. During his childhood, Britain is divided into tiny kingdoms after the departure of the Romans. The Saxons are a constant threat (as they will be for quite some time), but the land is also divided by internal feuding that takes place before the return of Uther and Ambrosius. We follow Merlin through many of his well known acts: his prophecy of Ambrosius' victory, transporting and building the Giant's Dance (Stonehenge), and the encounter between Uther and Ygraine that led to the birth of Arthur.
Most of the Arthurian books I have read are about the women, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie come to mind. It's a nice change to read a book about one of Arthurian legends most mysterious characters, Merlin. The Crystal Cave certainly lives up to the hype, and I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the trilogy.