Merlin's Harp

( 21 )

Overview

When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, the way Humans think all Fey live.

Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and greed of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even the peace of Avalon. And while Merlin the mage has been training Niviene...

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Merlin's Harp

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Overview

When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, the way Humans think all Fey live.

Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and greed of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even the peace of Avalon. And while Merlin the mage has been training Niviene as his apprentice, he now needs her help to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. Niviene's special talents must help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love...

"The story glows...a mythical tapestry that is at once completely recognizable yet utterly fresh..."
-Publishers Weekly

"Like The Mists of Avalon, the Arthurian legend from a woman's point of view."
-USA Today

"Readers will be enchanted...the characters and strands of the famous legend are skillfully woven together here."
-School Library Journal

"Take heed: the feminist possibilities of the Arthurian legendary cycle were not exhausted by Marion Zimmer Bradley's bestselling The Mists of Avalon... A riveting good read."
-Booklist

What readers are saying:

"A rather unique look at the legend of King Arthur."

"An exquisite addition to Arthurian literature."

"The writing is lyrical; the plot twists are original. Great!"

A female version of a masculine myth, a pagan tale of a Christian legend, Merlin's Harp tells the Arthurian story from the perspective of the Lady of the Lake within her world of Fey, a place of enchantment where humans dare not go. "Utterly absorbing."--The New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake, sister to the faerie knight who would come to be known as Lancelot, and student of Merlin, finds her destiny in the court of the legendary Arthur. The author of A Woman's Place (1980) undertakes a lyrical retelling of the Arthurian cycle from the point of view of the faerie folk. Crompton's flowing prose creates an atmosphere in which the familiar tale becomes fresh again. An excellent addition to most fantasy and general fiction collections.
School Library Journal
YA-Another version of the Arthurian legend, recounted from an entirely new perspective. Niviene and her brother, Lugh, grow up among the wild Fey people of the Enchanted Forest. Their famous mother, the Lady of the Lake, is feared by Human and Fey folk alike for her magical powers, and the family is left alone. Their only visitor is Merlin, who educates the siblings in Latin, history, and politics. Because Niviene possess the wisdom and magical powers of her mother, he requests her help with King Arthur's difficulties. At Camelot, she is horrified by the violence and greed of Humans, although they understand that which is a total mystery to the Fey-love. She spends years observing the intrigues of Arthur's court, and plays a part in its thrilling end. Readers will be enchanted by the old story of love and betrayal in sixth-century Britain. Though not so detailed as Mary Stewart's ``Merlin'' trilogy (Fawcett), the characters and strands of the famous legend are skillfully woven together here. Niviene's resolute, strong personality and her struggle to understand human motivations will surely appeal to YAs.-Catherine Noonan, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402237836
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Eliot Crompton grew up in a college town in the 1940s, a time when women's roles in myth were less acknowledged than today. When she married and moved to the country to raise children and animals, she realized how much heavy lifting had been done by women throughout human history. Part of her life's work has been to shine light on their immense contribution to the human story. Having come full circle, she now lives in a college town in Vermont.
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Read an Excerpt

When I was yet a very young woman I threw my heart away. I fashioned a wee coracle of leaf and willow twig and reed, a coracle that sat in the hollow of my two palms. In this I placed my wounded, wretched heart, and I set it adrift on the rain-misted wavelets of the Fey river, and I watched it bob and whirl, sail and sink. Ever since then I have lived heartless, or almost heartless, cold as spring rain, the way Humans think all Fey live. Humans I have known would be astounded to learn that I ever had a heart that leapt, brightened, fainted, quickened, warmed, embraced, froze, or rejected, like their own.

I grew up in a strangely Human way in a home, with a sort of family. My mother Nimway, my brother Lugh, and I lived in Lady Villa on Apple Island, which Human bards have named Avalon. I say we "lived" there. Most nights we slept within the villa walls. We cooked many a meal over the stone circle fireplace in the villa courtyard. When we sought each others' company we looked in the villa, in certain of the old rooms, a special room for each of us. My mother's room had faded waves painted on its walls, and strange, leaping fish, such as we never caught in the Fey lake. My small room was painted about with vines-unlike those that clung to and camouflaged the villa walls-and clusters of purple fruits.

Because of these pictures, Lugh and I always believed that there were worlds beyond the Fey forest, where mysterious creatures lived. Few Fey children grow up knowing that. Like other children, I went away to join the Children's Guard as soon as I could care for myself. But unlike other children, I remembered the villa as my home, I remembered the Lady, my mother, and I always knew that Lugh, the big, pale boy who often stood guard with me, was my born brother. We had sucked the same breasts and learned to walk on the same cool, tiled floor. We were special to each other, as no other two children were.

And though I never said so till our Guard time ended, and then only to my best friend, Elana, I always knew that when I grew up and left the Guard I would go home.

The villa grew about us and entwined our lives as vines entwined the villa. Apple Island held us apart from mainland Fey forest and our silent Fey neighbors. Living on the mainland we would have glimpsed neighbors from afar, as we glimpse other wild creatures; by slow, easy approaches we would have come to know many of them by name, and some as friends. But the lake trapped us, for the most part, with each other.

Living like this, as in a Human family, I grew an almost Human like heart. This was a deformity. Even on the bright spring morning when I climbed Counsel Oak with my best friend Elana, I knew I could not live much longer with this heart.

The Lady, who knew so much, must have known I had it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Blackkit

    Hey im back

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    Nivienne never imagined she'd live in the human world. When Merlin comes to Avalon bringing word of a Saxon invasion and threat of peace to their land, she agrees to journey into the human world. After all, with her child gone missing and her heart torn away from her body, she has nothing left in either world.

    Once at King Arthur's court, she recognizes the Queen as the woman who became lost and wondered into Avalon one day. Her brother, Lugh, led the Queen away from the island, never to return. Everyone in the human world calls him Lancelot. She recognizes the King as the father of her lost child. She never saw him again after their one night together.

    In this new world, she helps Merlin. However, after many years, they recognize two new threats to the kingdom - the love affair between Lancelot and Gwenevere. Belong long, they realize something must be done, but the second threat lingers in the air, waiting, watching for the lovers to destroy themselves and, in turn, the kingdom. Mordred makes his interest in the lovers known. Will he start a revolution that no one can stop?

    MERLIN'S HARP recounts the legend of King Arthur from the Fey Nivienne's perspective in a beautifully poetic voice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Attempt But A Poor Result

    I tried really hard to like Merlin's Harp. I was lured into buying it by its exquisite cover but readers be warned: the cover is a lot better than the writing within. Merlin's Harp does have good figurative language -sometimes bordering more on poetry than prose- and a potentially interesting concept going for it, but ultimately the book falls flat.

    The story is narrated by Nivienne, daughter of the Lady of the Lake. Nivienne is a Fey mage, apprentice to the wizard Merlin. She is a powerful practicer of magic and disdainful of all humans. But Nivienne's life is inextricably linked to the life of the human king Arthur. All the characters seemed flat and undeveloped. Even Nivienne, who tells the story, narrates in a way that distances her from the reader and actually tells us very little about what she's like.

    The first half of the book meanders and is plotless; the second half picks up a bit but has a very weak climax. There are some plot twists that add some flair to the story and Anne Eliot Crompton definitely has a way with words. Merlin's Harp as a whole fails to satisy the reader with its plot and its characters. I'd reccomend not wasting your money on this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur and his times from the perspective of Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake, known to Niviene as Nimway. They live on Apple Island, also known as Avalon, with Niviene's brother, Lugh. Niviene is happy in her Fey world, living apart from most of her kind except when she and Lugh and their friend Elana slip into the villages and pretend to be Human.

    The basic elements of the Arthur legend are here-Gwen's relationship with Lancelot (though there is a surprise there), Mordred's arrival at the court, the forces that ultimately threaten Arthur's rule. But what sets Merlin's Harp apart is Niviene's perspective.

    Niviene is 100 percent Fey, or so she believes, and as such she doesn't understand the Human emotions of love, honor, greed, lust and longing. She has special powers that allow her to see the future through the flames of fire and speak to animals. Her forested world is rich in fantastical elements. And yet, Niviene is drawn into the Human world by Merlin, a frequent visitor to Apple Island and a friend of her mother's. Merlin asks Niviene to help Arthur by going with Merlin to Arthur's court. She risks losing her own power, and if she does, she will not be able to help Arthur.

    Merlin's Harp weaves a tale that blends the lines of mythical and historical worlds. Poems of Merlin's Song and his life history are woven through the chapters, and they create a subtext of interest in Merlin's birth and adolescence, not just as the old man we usually see him as. While the premise of the story may be well known, the details of Merlin's Harp make it seem freshly told. Niviene's perspective made me thing of the Arthur legend in a different way and imagine new possibilities for the reasons behind the actions of each player. The ending surprised me as well, and I thought it was fun to think of new possibilities for a tale so often told. I recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 14 and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Very good read!

    This is a very good read. I found it very hard to put it down. I really enjoy to read books about a female's point of view on the King Arthur story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Enjoyable read

    Enjoyable, quick read. Good plot, and well-written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Boring...

    I'm so bored with this book I can't even finish it. It does not live up to the description for me. I was expecting something different. I don't like the main character or the writing. Just not the book for me.

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    Posted September 5, 2012

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