By Stephen R. Lawhead
Review by Crazyjedidiah
Charis is a young Atlantean Princess enjoying the life of luxury and technology that goes with the territory. She doesn't understand that the time of peace for her people is drawing to a close and they are on the brink of war. Her mother is killed when her family is ambushed, and unable to deal with the grief that she feels from her father she leaves to join the religious bull dancers. After being injured she returns to her fathers house to find things greatly changed, he was greatly wounded in the war that unfolded and is nursed by his strange new wife. Charis tries to warn her people of the impending doom that was prophesied before her mothers death but people do not listen to her. She manages to secure ships so that those who live in the palace are able to escape.
Meanwhile Elphin, the son of the Chief of Gwynedd, is the brunt of jokes of his people because they believe he has bad luck. That is until when searching the weir he finds a beautiful baby boy, who changes his luck, through Taliesin he finds his wife, and gains the respect of the people. Taliesin is trained to be a bard and druid for his people and is the greatest of these. The Cymry are attacked by barbarians and are forced to flee. They come to the land where the remnant of the Atlanteans have settled. The two peoples form an agreement where they can exist and also keep their respect. However Charis and Taliesin wish to marry which is frowned upon by Avallach. Charis father. So they are secretly married and live together many miles away. They have a son and he is named Merlin. They then set off to be reconciled with Avallach but will they make it back?
This is the first in Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, about King Arthur, the following books are Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon and Grail. I love how this has been set closer to the time period where the actual person that Arthur was based on probably existed. I also love how the story starts with Merlin's parents, giving a context for how Merlin was brought up and his roots, and I love the idea that the Atlanteans settled in Britain. I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves myths legends and folklore, as well as unusual retellings of them. It is also recommended to people who love Arthur in all it's retellings and the history of the British Isles.
Thanks heaps for the review! Crazyjedidiah blogs at Gibberish.