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In Robert Treskillard’s take on the Arthurian legends, young Merlin is faced with the challenge of saving his country and those he loves when a mysterious, and dangerous, stone falls from the sky. Partially blinded years ago, Merlin is a timid swordsmith who wants nothing more than to live a quiet life and win the hand of Natalenya, the beautiful and kind daughter of a magistrate. But after he and his friend Garth encounter a strange stone in the wood, one protected by druids, Merlin receives a series of visions ...
In Robert Treskillard’s take on the Arthurian legends, young Merlin is faced with the challenge of saving his country and those he loves when a mysterious, and dangerous, stone falls from the sky. Partially blinded years ago, Merlin is a timid swordsmith who wants nothing more than to live a quiet life and win the hand of Natalenya, the beautiful and kind daughter of a magistrate. But after he and his friend Garth encounter a strange stone in the wood, one protected by druids, Merlin receives a series of visions and prophecies that he is to save his land and his Christian faith from a dark force. As the power of the stone grows and threatens his family and friends, Merlin is forced to embrace his calling—for he may be the only one immune to the stone’s power.
Touching on multiple elements of the classic Arthur story—from the Lady of the Lake, the creation of Excalibur, the sword in the stone, and the rescue of Arthur himself—this fantasy tale will appeal to young adults looking for adventure and a hint of romance, as well as adults who enjoy the classic tale this series is based on.
Posted February 14, 2014
I have long been a fan of Arthurian legend and Christian novels are few and far between for this era.
I've read a few other books that claimed to be Christian but other than being clean stories there was no reason I could see for it to have been classified as Christian fiction. There was no mistake and this author did a great job of weaving Arthurian legend and Christianity into one tale.
About the Story:
Merlin is haunted by something--something evil. Once before it haunted his steps and it left him disfigured and mostly blind.
Merlin's stepmother is the daughter of a druidow; the very man who leads a campaign to abolish Christianity and return Britain to the old ways and the old gods. In his possession is a stone which seems to hold a bewitching power over all who gaze upon it. Only Merlin seems immune to the power of the stone.
In this tale, Arthur is just a babe and already his life is in danger. Uther Pendragon is a follower of Christ and he opposes the return of the old ways and the sway that the druidow (and the stone) holds over the people. With his new sword which was forged by Merlin and his father, Uther wages war against the druidow.
With traitors in their midst it lays on Arthur's shoulders to destroy the stone and protect the High King and his family. His father has newly returned to the faith of his youth and restored his relationship with Christ. He, along with a few other villagers who have not bowed their knee to the old religion stands with Merlin and together they devise a plan to free the captive priests and destroy the stone.
This book was so well researched and beautifully written. You can tell the author paid great attention to detail and also to lore. I look forward to book two, Merlin's Shadow which I'm picking up just as soon as it arrives in the mail!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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."
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Posted January 9, 2014
When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow---a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur's kingdom. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith's son named Merlin.
As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life?
This was a great book. I was a little nervous about it from the start as it is considered juvenile fiction. But it was very well written and engaging, and I thought the story was a really creative spin off the traditional King Arthur stories. I would recommend this book for 12 years and up, not that there was any objectionable content, but with over 400 pages it may not hold the interest of younger ones. And the cover! Wow, the cover is like ten stars on a scale of one to ten! I am so excited to read book two!
I received a free copy of this book through booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
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Posted June 5, 2013
Set during the time of King Uther, when Arthur is but a child, MERLIN'S BLADE follows a young Merlin as he goes through his everyday life, little knowing that a legend is about to begin . . .
Although there have been many retellings of the legends of King Arthur, I never tire of new ones, especially when they are fresh, exciting, believable, and well told. MERLIN'S BLADE is all of those and more. It took awhile for recognizable bits of the old stories to appear, but they were all the more thrilling when they did: I felt like cheering whenever parts of the legend emerged throughout the book. It will be interesting to see where Robert Treskillard takes this story in the later volumes of the Merlin Spiral.
It was very venturesome of the author to attempt a book in which the main character is half-blind, but I was amazed at how well it was done. Focusing more on hearing, smell, and touch than on sight for much of the story, I think it gave me a better feel of the setting than I would have gotten otherwise, allowing me to grasp the scenes more vividly. It was a very new sort of experience for me, making my imagination soar. I really loved that aspect of the book.
Another thing I enjoyed was the use of so many multiple viewpoints. Many authors shy away from this on account of it being difficult to do well, but Treskillard accomplished it to perfection, giving the story a wider scope that better drew out the feeling of the culture of early Britain. It really pulled me into a world that was both realistic and convincing.
The delights of this book include its well-drawn characters, depth of setting, exciting adventure, beautiful description, skillful writing, and the joy of rediscovering an old story told in a new way. What I loved most about it was Merlin himself. He was a wonderful, courageous, kind, and noble character with a strong grasp of right and a faith that he clung to even in the darkest moments. A marvelous hero, I look forward to reading more about him.
MERLIN'S BLADE is a masterful work that I greatly enjoyed; I even bought another copy to give to a friend. I can't wait to read more from this author and continue following along with Merlin's journey in book 2, MERLIN'S SHADOW.
(I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
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Posted May 30, 2014
Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard, is historically rich and true to the Arthurian literary tradition. The story centers around young Merlin, son of the local blacksmith and blinded at an early age by a fierce wolf attack. His disability has not defeated him, however, and he turns out to be a worthy opponent to the druids who want to take over the town and return it to their pagan ways. There is humor, romance, heroism, and a touch of the poetic reminiscent of Tolkien. Once I finished reading the entire thing, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to readers who enjoy all of the above. I’m not going to lie, however. The book was a bit of a slow starter for me. I had to plug through, at times, finding the unfamiliar names confusing and the poetry tedious. That being said, I am not a fan of the poetry in Tolkien, either, so I guess that is more of a personal preference than a negative commentary on the author’s style and choices. About half way through, happily, I was totally engaged and was glad I had persevered. My final view is that this is a book worth reading – an exciting and worthy addition to other spin-offs of the legend of King Arthur and his knights.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2014
Posted February 22, 2014
I loved this book! It gave me a whole different perspective on who Merlin was. Most of the time Merlin is painted as some wizard with mysterious powers but Robert Treskillard did an amazing job telling Merlin's story from a Christian perspective. Rather than a power wielding wizard, Merlin is a follower of God who uses his God-given gifts.
The story is well-written and quite epic, if you ask me. Once I started reading it was hard to put down! There's a mysterious stone, druids, baby Arthur, and a young Merlin who is learning how to live his life. Lots of action, but lots of story as well.
Well worth the read if you love Arthur/Camelot/Merlin, especially if you're looking for a good Christian fiction focused on that era.
Posted January 14, 2014
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After meteorite falls it leave an enchanted stone behind that ensnares any who look upon it's blue flames!The Druids plan to use the power of the rock to overthrow King Uther's kingdom and take back Britain for their wicked practices! The stone must be destroyed but the only person it doesn't effect is Merlin,a blind son of a blacksmith!
Merlin must get over his inabilities and help his village but that's not his only concern he also has sworn to serve King Uther and his son Arthur! Merlin begins to despair with all the responsibilities but he must fulfill his designated task blind or no !
This was a beautifully written book and an amazing story! I can't wait to read Merlin's Shadow
Posted January 7, 2014
There appears to be a great deal of interest in the Arthurian legends generally, and Merlin specifically, among modern writers of youth fiction including those that would be considered Christian. I have not read the five-book Merlin series by Thomas A. Barron nor the six-book Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead, but both are reputed to be good. In Merlin’s Blade, the first of the projected Merlin Spiral trilogy, author and Celtic enthusiast Robert Treskillar, a software developer and graphic artist who exhibited and I think even spoke at the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo last year, gives his take on the life of Merlin, and it is a distinctly Christian one that portrays the conflict between paganism and Christianity in fifth century Britain. When the book opens, Merlin is a fifteen-year old young man who is partially blind due to a wolf attack.
Merlin’s parents were Christians, but after his mother Gwevian drowned when he was but a child, his father Oswain, a swordsmith, married Monda, the daughter of a Druid arch priest, and turned away from Christ. However, under the tutelage of local monks, Merlin has become a believer. The Druids, led by Oswain’s father-in-law Morganthu, return to Merlin’s home village of Bosventor with a mysterious meteor stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow. They hope to use it to destroy the high King Uthur who supports Christianity. Merlin, who seems immune to the stone, offers fealty to Uthur and his heir Arthur. When his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role ordained for him. But how can he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil, all without losing his own life?
In the book, Merlin is pictured more as an up and coming prophet-bard than a magical “wizard.” There are some references to drinking mead and wine and one instance of a euphemism (“drat” which literally means “God rot”), but nothing with any major objections occurs. Of course, a lot of fighting and killing happen, so this might not be a good book for younger or rather sensitive children, and the length of the chapters and nature of the plot may not be the best for reluctant readers. However, most teenagers will likely enjoy the story, especially those interested in Merlin and Arthur. Treskillard and his wife have three children and are still homeschooling their youngest. Book 2, Merlin’s Shadow, in which Merlin finds himself to be a royal advisor without a king, so along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, he treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain Vortigern, was released in the fall of 2013. Book 3, Merlin’s Nightmare, will be available in the spring of 2014.
Posted December 13, 2013
Treskillard brings a new tak on the Arthurian legend and builds a character in Merlin that you want to win.
Lawhead's Pendragon series is still one of my absolute favourites,
But Treskillard does a decent job with his own twist on the legend, so the book is far from disappointing but engaging.
Christianity in Britain is in a battle with the ancient druidic beliefs.
With a meteorite;s strange power , the druids seek to take control of the people and ultimately all of Britain.
Merlin, the partially blind son of the blacksmith, and a handful of others seem to be immune.
Their ability to resist the druids and the meteorite may be the only thing that can save the village from spiritual and physical oppression.
Merlin's struggles have molded him into the hero this village needs. Is Merlin willing to become that hero?
My 15 yr old son took over my nook to read this and enjoyed the story as well.
Posted November 24, 2013
Merlin’s Blade is a beautifully unique look at the much loved and intriguing character called Merlin. This version focuses on a strong Christian background instead of the usual mystical pagan one that we so often see in the movies and read in books. My love for the Arthurian legend did not fail me even with this curious take. In fact, it has taken on a new level of reverend fascination for me as I walked down this new path of what ifs. I am eager to see what happens and how this fascinating new account of Merlin develops.
Robert Treskillard takes us on a tumultuous yet captivating journey of seeing Merlin with new eyes. We observe him in the light of an extremely humble beginning where his faith in Christ is the only thing that saves him and his small village from spiritual and physical oppression. We watch as he grows from a nearly blind boy into a bold and very capable young man ready to take on the world with faith and love in his heart.
Merlin was forced to endure many trials, but through it all God molded him into the man he was to become. The bad had to be endured in order to receive the beauty and hope that awaited him on the other side. He was being refined through his personal fires, so that the breathtaking creation that God saw could then be seen by everyone. Only then was he ready to move onto the next phase of his life which would require a deeper faith and stronger reliance on his Creator.
Anything is truly possible when we have faith in the Lord of all. No matter what we may deal with physically, mentally, or spiritually, we can turn it over to Him to be used for His glory to the benefit of all. While we are dust incapable of ensuring our next breath, He can sustain us and give us a life full of love, significance, and contentment. Evil will not reign unchallenged as long as there are those among us with the courage and faith to step out and speak up. Our strength comes from Him when we need it the most, so take heart and believe in the promises that He has given to us in His Word. He will not leave us when we need Him the most. He is only a prayer away.
I had been looking forward to reading this book due to my love of the legend of King Author. Those stories never fail to enchant and captivate my heart and my imagination. Their emphasis on the best of human nature is always a huge encouragement and helps to lighten the heavy burden of our dark world. This new twist to those tales endeared me even more to the spirit of that time, the characters, and the underlying virtues taught and lived out. I enjoyed every minute of this epic adventure, and I can’t wait for the next installment of this promising new series.
Posted November 11, 2013
One word. EPIC.
Where do I even begin?
When I first heard about Merlin's Blade, the cover caught my eye. I started seeing it pop up all over cyberspace, and friends were raving about it. I added it to my to-read list. When the author offered a handful of copies for a read and share contest, I jumped at the chance.
Merlin. Just the name conjures up quite a lot of images. For me, he has been mostly connected to King Arthur. A second hand man, a supporting character. But not in this book. Most of us have some familiarity with the Arthurian legends, stories, movies, so going into a book like this, I'm looking for that connection of familiarity. And this is the first time I've read about the young Merlin, before Arthur was King, before he was even old enough to crawl.
Merlin is a shy, half-blind boy of a swordsmith. He seems like a normal boy with a crush on a girl, trying to do what's right, and helping out the abbey and its priests. But he isn't, and we are left wondering the mystery surrounding him. Why him? Why did the wolves hunt him? Why did he receive the visions? Why was he given the special torc? But his integrity and personality drew me to him. True chivalry. He remained steadfast, despite his weaknesses, his blindness, and all the circumstances, obstacles that stood against him. I love stories that strengthen my resolve to be a better person.
The story, the setting, just came to life. I felt like I stepped back in time to fifth century Britain. It is a time of political upheaval and religious clashes between Christians and the druids. Even with the grounded, historical feel, there's just enough of the fantastical to whet the appetite of fantasy lovers. The power of the stone, the visions Merlin has, the druids' magic, the miracles of God. Everything is shrouded in mystery, and as Merlin learns, we learn. I look to the subsequent novels to reveal it and answer the questions remaining at the end of this book, especially the ones surrounding Merlin.
With a big cast, I sometimes had a hard time remembering who was who at the beginning, but it didn't' hinder my enjoyment. There were several different point of views, and as the action picked up, we switched between them quicker, building the tension. As a reader, I could see what the characters could not, and I could only watch helplessly as the characters made choices and marched off in a direction we know will end badly.
This book has the makings of epic. The layers, subplots, a grand cast of characters, and a map. Politics, religion, kings, bards, and peasants. The poetry, songs, history, visions, and prophecies. It's all there. Oh, and did I mention the secret code??? Awesome!
I'm having a hard time describing how much I liked this book without giving away too much information. It is a story to make you think "What if?" A re-envisioning of Merlin and what that might mean for the future King Arthur, and what these stories will bring to the Arthurian legends.
I'm ready to dive into book two! Highly recommended!
Posted September 12, 2013
It is very difficult to write a book centered in the world of Arthurian Legends and characters, without making it seem like something we’ve read before. In Merlin’s Blade, the author was able to present a wildly popular tale without seeming to ride on the backs of those who have gone before him. The story was unique, implemented the THIRST method very well (as it should, since the author created the writing method), and engaged the audience by giving just enough of the ancient lore to make Arthurian fans happy.
Merlin is a very likeable character. He seems very human due to his handicap, but also has a hero’s heart which makes him endearing. He risks his life to save others, is very loyal, stands in the face of physical and verbal adversity, and refuses to back down, no matter what comes his way. The reimagining of this iconic character from skilled wizard to sword smith’s son was a bold move, I think, but one that paid off. People like characters that aren’t perfect, thus lending Merlin well to likability.
The book carries a serious tone throughout its pages, making it more action and lore as opposed to suspense and humor, which perhaps lends itself better to the market it is trying to reach. What the book does add to the Arthurian market, however, are strong moral principles which speak well to our current culture that is sadly lacking in this department.
As this book includes several Christian themes and elements to it, there will be some readers who are divided over the magical properties of the stone and it’s somewhat demonic nature. However, for avid Christian Fantasy reader, these themes will not be a concern, as good standing against evil is an overarching theme. If you are a fan of other Arthur/Merlin books, then the magic content will not be an issue.
There were a couple scenes that slipped into OTN dialogue; I’m sure due to the difficulty of having an MC that was predominantly blind. It wasn’t too heavy, though, and the book is a clean read involving little gore (not little action) that is not graphically described.
All in all an enjoyable read with sound character development, plot, and well placed lore.
Posted September 9, 2013
Robert Treskillard, in Merlin's Blade, presents engaging writing and a relatable protagonist. Merlin's relatability springs from his daily struggle regarding his abilities and limitations. We all regularly contend with various infirmities be it mental, physical, or emotional. I enjoyed Merlin's strength even in his uncertainty. Despite doubting his physical prowess, Merlin continued to fight and never gave up. Notwithstanding the obstacles, Merlin stood steadfast in his belief.
Holding family and friendship in high esteem, Merlin demonstrates loyalty to both through his interactions with Owain, Garth, and Natalenya. Although Garth's motives prove damaging to he and Merlin, he later redeems himself. His selfless act to save Arthur, resolve to help fight the Druidow, concern of others, and denial of food, despite his never ending hunger, allows him to right his wrongs. A most refreshing aspect, Merlin's Blade contains no love triangles. Yes, score! I found Natalenya to be a likable love interest. During their walk to the smithy, I couldn't help but smile and root for them as Natalenya hints at marriage. Some of the names, objects, and customs were new to me, I appreciated the glossary and pronunciation key in the back of the book. My favorite quote alludes to the Book of Ruth, "But though I don't know where I'm going, I can provide for you. Will you come?" She took his hand. "Where you go, I will go, and your people will be my people" (405).
Now, I await the next installment to find out what's in store for Merlin and his band of followers
Posted June 16, 2013
This is a great debut novel, one that I highly recommend for fans of Merlin and
King Arther. At first, because of its age group, I feared that Treskillard might have cheeped on the research and detail but that is not the case. He made Britain come alive with characters, both new and known, amazingly described scenes.
My only complaint is that the end seemed to drag out. I would have liked for it to have sped up just slightly.
I can't wait for what happens next
Posted May 29, 2013
I have found a new favorite fantasy favorite in Merlin's Blade!
I've always enjoyed reading stories or watching movies and TV shows about King Arthur and his knights of the round table, but Merlin has always been my favorite legend. I especially love the Christian re-tellings of his legendary tale, so this book had a lot to live up to, and it definitely exceeded my expectations.
It was a bit slow to start, but by chapter five I knew that this book was totally for me! Merlin was a noble character with an inner strength about him, his past was a fresh, exciting mystery.
This book is definitely setting this series up to be absolutely epic, there is no doubt about that!
There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but I found the guide in the back to be extremely helpful with that, especially because it taught me how to say their names the right way.
Overall, I loved the twists that Mr. Treskillard brought to this legend, in a new adventure. And I really liked how the speech was distinctly different from modern-day conversation, it really added a richness to the storytelling. There was plenty going on in the plot, so the pages turned steadily and I was far from bored! I will definitely be reading the next book in the series :)
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Posted May 28, 2013
Robert Treskillard in his new book "Merlin's Blade" Book One in the Merlin Spiral Series published by Zondervan takes us into the life of Merlin.
From the back cover: Merlin's Greatest Weakness Could Become His Greatest Strength
When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow--a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur's kingdom, as well as the new Christian faith. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith's son named Merlin.
As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role God ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, armed only by a sword he helped forge, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life?
Just say the two words, Merlin and Arthur and, immediately you know you are in for a good time reading the story. Mr. Treskillard knows the legend and he has done an admirable job of bringing Merlin to life. This is not the Merlin we are accustomed to from the books and movies. No, this Merlin is half blind which works out in his favor considering that everyone else, who can see, is under the power of this meteorite that the druids are using to enslave everyone. "Merlin's Blade" 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 Blade" 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."
Posted May 27, 2013
Before the Round Table...Before Arthur was crowned...There was MERLIN!
Inspired by the renowned Arthurian Legends, MERLIN’S BLADE tells the story of Merlin’s battle to save his family, friends, and king from the druids’ treacherous plan to reclaim Britain by using a strange meteorite that has the power to ensnare anyone who looks at it.
Only Merlin, who lost hi vision in a wolf attack, can steer his friends and family away from the object’s dreadful influence, and back onto the path of truth. His lack of sight is his secret weapon.
While the villagers, including Merlin’s father and his best friend Garth are under the stone’s spell, Merlin takes on the evils that live beneath it’s surface. Facing off against despicable creatures and fearless villains that aim to turn Britons against each other.
Surrounded by adversaries, and armed only with a sword, Merlin must rid his country of this deadly evil, even if it means losing his own life. He sets out on his mission with the help of the beautiful Natalenya, who gives him the confidence-and assistance-he needs.
Will Merlin be able to save the people of Britain? (excerpt from rear cover).
I find that Robert Treskilliard has researched Merlin’s history very well and has put together some of the missing past of how Merlin became such an icon to Historical Medieval time period where legends are forged through time and remain one of the strongest myth and legends of all time in his latest novel Merlin's Blade.
The novel from the Prologue into the first Chapter seems a bit confusing and leads you almost into a separate story so you really have to focus on the first chapter and just read from there. Since I am only about halfway into the book the Prologue might come into play here in the next few chapters. I found Merlin’s character to be full of hardships with not only being attacked as a young child from wolves and losing most of his eyesight, to a pair of young bullies Dyslan and Rondroc who continue to torment him throughout most of the first part of the book. Merlin offers to take full punishment of being whipped for his friends lying and stealing of the horses and cart. Merlin is even attacked again by a wolf and suffers wounds on his arm.
I can’t go into detail anymore than what I have read as you must pick up the book to continue on Merlin’s journey in the book to see if he is able to save Britain from this foul evil that lurks behind the strange meteorite. I find this book very accurate in the style of writing and character development is superb! It is a little hard to follow sometimes as the author goes into the English writing style of the time period so you really have to focus sometimes and even go back a bit to clarify the paragraph or sentence.
Over all I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to not only this genre of reader, but to young and old readers alike! So far it’s been a great story and cant wait to finish the book! Thank you Robert Treskilliard for a fascinating story and journey into Merlin’s youth!
I received Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskilliard compliments of Zondervan Publishers and Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Tours for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This novel is the first book in the Merlin's Spiral Series and is perfect for those young adult readers looking for a bit more spice and flavor in their historical fictional novels based on the tales of old legends with just the right balance of Christianity to keep the story engaging with a powerful message. The next novel in the series, Merlin's Shadow will be out in early fall of 2013.