The third volume of the Merlin trilogy follows the legendary healer up to the beginning of a new chapter in both Merlin’s and Britain’s histories.
Hume, a retired academic who specializes in Arthurian literature, presents herself as uniquely qualified to follow the trail of Myrddion Merlinus (Merlin) as he returns to his homeland from Rome. This lengthy and absorbing tale will only boost that claim. The story launches with Merlin’s return and subsequent travels to reach home, but along the way he is waylaid by Ambrosius Aurelianus, the son of Constantine III and king of the Britons. Ambrosius recognizes Merlin’s value as a healer and adviser, since the slim man with long black hair that has a wide white stripe running through it also has the gift of foresight, something he has inherited from his mother’s family. Recognizing the danger of the Saxons moving deeper into the territory occupied and ruled by the various thanes (loosely translated: tribal rulers) in Britain, King Ambrosius and his brother, Uther Pendragon, wage constant warfare on their enemy. Ambrosius talks Merlin and his group of healers into helping him by serving his army on the battlefields, and the two men grow into a comfortable relationship that is threatened only by the menacing presence of the king’s cruel but devoted brother. When bad fortune overtakes them, Merlin’s life and those of his followers are changed forever.
Historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, delivered with some rip-roaring battles and characters that are noble, memorable and unredeemable.