In Merlin's Blade, Merlin finished strong, victorious, and in love, even if he was fleeing for his life, but in book two, his faith and plight quickly declined. And who wouldn't? Faced with such obstacles as he did. Hunted, betrayal, slavery, and the powers of the druidow working against him. The odds were so stacked against him, I had to keep reminding myself, I know the ending, I know the ending! Arthur will be king, but how would he? That's the beauty of this story.
In Merlin's Shadow, we dive right into the story with Merlin and his band of people committed to baby Arthur fleeing for their lives. With several major point of views, we switch between Merlin, Merlin's sister and her grandfather, and the newly proclaimed High King, Vortigern, all who are bent on destroying them. Then there are other significant threads running through the story such as Uther's two girls and what might become of them and another subplot involving a certain king that you aren't sure where they will interconnect with the main story, but you know they will.
But what has happened to Merlin? Once strong in faith and confidence, yet limited by his blindness, but now that his sight had been restored, he sees the scars on his face and his strength fails. Who could love him? Thus we find our hero turning in upon himself rather than trusting his God who has brought him thus far.
The story grew darker, wilder, deeper. The visions were awesome, adding mystery and dripping with creativity! I'm left thinking, how does one come up with something like this? Ha! And how the author wove the story together: all the different threads, the visions, the subtle provisions of God that protected them on their journey, although, it might appear to be a curse, but proved otherwise. One of my favorite aspects of reading is gathering clues along the journey to figure out what might happen, and I just dance with delight when I get them right. And I did!! But I can't say what it is without giving away too much of the story.
Will definitely be reading book three. Highly recommended!
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher.*
Robert Treskillard in his new book "Merlin's Shadow" Book Two in the Merlin Spiral Series published by Zondervan gives us another adventure with Merlin.
From the back cover: Betrayal.
After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself to be a royal advisor without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.
But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin's destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.
Just say the two words, Merlin and Arthur and, immediately you know you are in for a good time reading the story. Mr. Treskillard continues the story of Merlin and Arthur and brings them an adventure they are unprepared for. In a three-act play act two is always dark and "Merlin's Shadow" is no exception. What Merlin and Arthur and the rest of the team face is a little darker and a lot more dangerous. Not only is Merlin challenged on what he is willing to risk in the protection of Arthur he is also challenged on what he is willing to risk for the Almighty One. "Merlin's Shadow" is an epic battle between good and evil. Mr. Treskillard has done an incredible job of bringing his characters to life and we root for them to win against overwhelming forces. "Merlin's Shadow" is a wonderful, interesting story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I am most definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This is the second in the Merlin Spiral series, following Merlin's Blade. Treskillard is exploring the historical background of the relationship between Merlin and King Arthur in an imagined story of the time leading to the Arthurian legends.
In this novel, Merlin and his friends travel north with the orphaned infant Arthur, hoping to protect him from their enemies. His own half-sister is captivated by an evil Voice and determines to see Merlin dead.
Merlin's devotion to Arthur's safety is immense. He faces one challenge after another as he continues his task. It is said of Merlin, "If it was in his power he would give everything he possessed to save Arthur." (332)
There is a definite battle between good and evil in this series. Merlin is a Christian but his faith is severely tested as he encounters various obstacles. He faces betrayal and deception time and again yet continues his sacred responsibility. It is gratifying to see Merlin grow into the spiritually perceptive and capable leader he needs to be.
This is a well written novel. The characters come alive and grow as the story develops. The action scenes are vivid and realistic. The sea voyages, storms and battles are intense. True to the nature of the druids, there are magical happenings in this novel. That might be a concern for some but they certainly follow in the tradition of the Arthurian tales.
Treskillard has done an excellent job of weaving a compelling story around the few facts known about Merlin and Arthur. This is an epic presentation of life and faith in the fifth century, the time after the Romans had left Britain but before the arrival of the Saxons. I look forward to the third and concluding book in this series. I've been introduced to the Sangraal (Holy Grail) and I want to know what happens to it and young Arthur.
I received a complimentary galley of this book through the CSF Blog Tour for the purpose of this review.