I don’t know if you’re like me, but as a kid I was totally into Arthurian legend. The movie Excalibur, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and my favorite at the time, the series by Mary Stewart (Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, and The Wicked Day). So trust me when I tell you that Merlin’s Blade is the best of all of these.
From the moment you begin reading Merlin’s Blade, you know that you are in the hands of an expert, so you can relax and let the story unfold. Merlin’s Blade is all about Merlin’s backstory. Where did he come from? Who were his parents? How did he become legend? How did he get involved with King Arthur? Not all of these questions are answered in the story, but some are and the rest are set up to be answered in the series.
In Merlin’s Blade, we find Merlin as a severely sight-challenged son of a local blacksmith, growing up in a remote village that is at the front line in the battle between Christianity and druid paganism. Merlin is an unlikely hero since he’s mostly blind, but he must find a way to free the villagers from pagan influence before all of Briton is ensnared. Unfortunately for Merlin, in addition to being kind and Christian, he’s also a wolf magnet.
Theme/Theology: Prevenient grace, Christ’s sufficiency, importance of prayer
The village people discount Merlin because he’s blind, but in the course of the story, blindness becomes an advantage for Merlin. So, while (evil) wolves attacked him and took his eyesight, God used for good what others intended for evil. (Genesis 50:20)
In addition to Merlin, who can’t do many things because of his eyesight, the few Christians in the village who remain true to God are hopelessly outnumbered by the druidow (druids) and their object of power. Yet, in their weakness we see Christ’s strength (2 Cor 9-10), and the unlocking of that strength through prayer.
Merlin’s Blade does contain fighting scenes and death, but they are not graphically described.
Political corruption, religious persecution, the danger with religious tolerance, betrayal
Merlin’s Blade is the best book I have read so far this year. It’s on sale right now at Amazon for $1.99, but I don’t know for how long. (http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Blade-Merlin-Spiral-ebook/dp/B00BS9ESUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373864427&sr=1-1&keywords=merlin%27s+blade)
Were/Are you a King Arthur fan like me? Which books or movies did you like best?