Kingdom of the Grail

Kingdom of the Grail

4.6 3
by Judith Tarr

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The wizard Merlin, imprisoned within an enchanted forest since the fall of Camelot, receives a visitor possessing strong magical talent. His name is Roland, a knight and warrior who has sworn to free the legendary sorcerer. But, to save the wizard, Roland must first confront an old, powerful enemy of Merlin's on a quest for the Holy Grail.


The wizard Merlin, imprisoned within an enchanted forest since the fall of Camelot, receives a visitor possessing strong magical talent. His name is Roland, a knight and warrior who has sworn to free the legendary sorcerer. But, to save the wizard, Roland must first confront an old, powerful enemy of Merlin's on a quest for the Holy Grail.

Editorial Reviews

Imprisoned in an enchanted forest, Merlin is surprised by a visit from Roland, a young boy brimming with magic. Roland becomes Merlin's student and swears to free him. Years later, Roland is a knight and one of the closest companions to Charles, King of the Franks. Roland's magic is untested, and he is unprepared for the return of Merlin's greatest enemy, Ganelon. Ganelon is gathering strength in preparation to battle for the very object that tore apart the Knights of the Round Table, the Holy Grail. Roland's involvement deepens when he wins a magical sword, Durandal, and gets caught up with a beautiful and mysterious Saracen maiden. Roland's oath to Merlin and his desire to protect his king will lead him to explore his magic and become involved in a final showdown with one of the most powerful figures of the Dark. Tarr has written a lyrical and exciting story based on the epic poem The Song of Roland. Roland is a complex character whose choices are not always clear. This tale gives enough background to Merlin and the Grail that their importance is understood. The exciting and richly woven narrative would be an asset to young adult collections and will be enjoyed especially by those teen fans of Arthurian fantasy. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Roc, 456p, Trade pb. Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Betsy Fraser VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
As Merlin languishes in a leafy prison, a young boy named Roland comes to him. Roland promises to someday return and release the wizard. Roland has strong magical powers, untrained and untested. Many years later he is a Champion of the Frankish King Charles. He hides his powers but wins a magical sword brought by Sarissa, a Saracen healer with her own magical powers, in combat. One of Merlin's old enemies has also come to Charles' court. This Ganelon lures Charles' unhappy hunchbacked son to his service with promises of magic and power. The man seeks the Holy Grail. This is a well-done fantasy based on a familiar legend with romance and action galore. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Penguin Putnam/Roc, 456p, 23cm, 00-37260, $14.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Susan E. Chmurynsky; Media Spec., E. Kentwood Freshman Campus, Kentwood, MI, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Library Journal
A descendant of the wizard Merlin, the young warrior known as Roland vows to free his ancestor from centuries of imprisonment--unaware of his own monumental destiny. With her customary artistry and feel for period detail, the author of The Shepherd Kings weaves together the legends of Camelot and the Song of Roland, creating a tapestry rich with love and loyalty, sorcery, and sacrifice. Tarr's ability to give equal weight to both history and myth provides her historical fantasies with both realism and wonder. Highly recommended. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Tarr's latest fantasy (King and Goddess, 1996, etc.) combines medieval French romances and the historical Charlemagne in a post-Arthurian yarn. Merlin, still unable to escape the magical trap prepared by his perfidious lover, Nimue, is visited by his descendant, Roland. With his powerful magic, Roland vows one day to free Merlin. Outside Merlin's enclave, Roland serves Charlemagne, King of the Franks, who's being offered a deal by a Moorish faction to invade and occupy part of Spain; in exchange, Charles must agree to treat his Muslim subjects fairly. With the Moorish delegation is Sarissa, beautiful healer and powerful magician. She creates a dazzling magic sword and arranges a competition among the Franks, the winner to take the sword. Sarissa hopes Charles will win and become their champion. Instead, Roland wins the sword, but Charles agrees to the deal anyway. Roland's true foe is the devil incarnate, whose human guise is Ganelou the monk. A favorite of Charles, who refuses to dismiss him, Ganelou beguiles and corrupts Charles's deformed young son, Pepin. Ultimately, the fate of the world hinges on the outcome of a battle between the forces of darkness, led by Pepin and Ganelou, and the forces of light, championed by Roland and his Grail mages.

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Kingdom of the Grail 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though never counting the years, centuries have passed since his former lover trapped Merlin in a magical forest that living things including birds avoided. However, one day, a boy Roland, visits the incarcerated magician. Obviously having much magical abilities or else he could never have arrived at the forest prison, Roland vows to find the means to free Merlin.

Years later, Roland is a knight loyal to King Charlemagne, but has not worked at his magic. Roland wins a contest that gives him possession of the sword Durandel, but not the trust of its former owner Lady Sarissa. Still, Roland remains faithful to his liege as they set out to fight a demon that has corrupted the monarch¿s son with a world at stake. However, his side needs Roland to complete his oath by freeing Merlin and gaining the support of the Grail mages to triumph over their evil enemy and his allies.

Judith Tarr is known for her wonderful historical fantasy tales that blend real persona and events into a mythical story. Her latest release, KINGDOM OF THE GRAIL, combines remnants of Camelot with the Song of Roland into an exciting story. The key to the plot is Ms. Tarr¿s uncanny ability to make her primary and secondary players seem so real that both the fantasy elements and the historical perspective appear genuine. The novel will charm fans of the Arthurian and Roland legends and medieval epic adventures.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
I love it. The backroung info on the characters is beautiful. You get attached to the characters so easily. You are interested so much you can't put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It's great for people who like fantasy/Arthurian legends.I liked how vividly the author wrote this story.Roland really suprises you through the story.It was really interesting to read.