From the Publisher
"A nicely written and engaging perspective on on the wizard's actual identity, the book's sad in spots, funny in other and a worthwhile read."San Diego Union-Tribune
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A prolific author of game-related fiction (Blood Hostages, etc.) gives a distinctive and often agreeable spin to the story of Camelot. Focusing his attention on Merlin rather than on the usual Arthur, King weaves his tale by combining bits of folklore and mythology with both sheer invention and historical fact. In this version (which begins before Arthur's birth), the wizard is actually the Roman god Jupiter--but, due to a curse, he can't remember who he is, and he can't tell reality from dreams. He knows, however, that there's a boy (Arthur) not yet born who can cure him. So Merlin arranges Arthur's conception and whisks him off to a distant kingdom. As Arthur grows into a man, Merlin does, indeed, regain his memory; along the way, the boy learns the art of kingship and prepares to claim his rightful place as the ruler of Britain. Much fighting--against King Lot, the Saxons, Wotan and nearly the whole Germanic pantheon--ensues. King's unconventional take will not please fans of more conservative Arthurian tales. Action fans, on the other hand, will thrill to his frequent and well-told accounts of battles, both material and magical. Creative plot twists abound--Guinevere, for example, turns out to be one of the Tuatha De Danaan, as well as Arthur's footholder (meaning their marriage must remain chaste). Other characters with a distinctive flavor round out the story. This novel will appeal to those who like their Arthurian tales on the zany side. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
The tales of Camelot continue to intrigue writers who desire to add unique twists to the ancient legends. In Mad Merlin, King focuses on the enigmatic wizard, who is crazy because he does not know his true identity. Set in post-Roman Britain, the basic plot follows the traditional Arthurian stories: Arthur is the child of Uther and Igraine; he is raised by Ector with his "stepbrother" Kay without knowledge of his true parentage; and he becomes king by removing Excalibur from a stone. There are twists in the story. As Arthur grows, Merlin also grows out of his madness. He regains his sanity when he remembers that before the Roman gods were eclipsed by Christianity, he was once Jove. Excalibur, originally forged from the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible, is a god-killing sword. To the traditional characters, King adds the dwarf Dagonet, to whom Merlin's madness is transferred; a rough old warrior, Ulfius; and the whole pantheon of gods and goddesses, ranging from the Saxon gods Wotan and Loki to the fey creatures of Britain. The beginning of the book seems disjointed because King is telling the story through the perspective of Merlin's madness. At times, the story moves slowly as King tries to build his vision of how gods and mortals interact. Overall, this unique retelling of the story of Merlin has fully developed characters and plenty of action. Recommend this fantasy to readers ready to move beyond T. A. Barron's "The Lost Years of Merlin" series. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Tor, 480p. Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Libby Bergstrom VOYA,February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
From his involvement in the rise of Uther Pendragon and the birth of Arthur to the height of Camelot's power, the wizard Merlin labors under the curse of his destiny even as he seeks the truth of his identity. King's first nongaming fantasy relates the familiar tale of King Arthur as a background to his exploration of the enigmatic personality of Merlin. Drawing on ancient Norse, Celtic, and Roman myths, King crafts an unusual blend of history and legend that should appeal to fans of the Arthurian cycle. For most fantasy collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Read an Excerpt
BOOK ONE Madness
For Elias the infant King who saved me
Everyone seems to know me. After fifteen hundred years, they remember me. Everyone knows Merlin. I am, of course, delighted.
You're smiling in recognition, aren't you?
There was a time when I didn't even know myself. I was mad. I was lost. The secret of my past was hidden even from me. To discover that secret, I walked an arduous and perilous road. I would not have survived that journey, except that I had a friend at my side, a young man everyone also knows.
This is the story of how we found out who we were. This is the story of King Arthur and mad Merlin ... .
Copyright © 2000 by J. Robert King