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Guardian of the Balance

Guardian of the Balance

4.7 9
by Irene Radford

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Caught between her beloved father, the Merlin of Britain, and Arthur Pendragon, the old ways and the new, Wren must find a way to balance the forces of Chaos with peace. She nurtures the land and the people, creating a haven for anyone displaced by the turbulence. And for the safety of all she must guard her heart against the deep love she shares with Arthur, a


Caught between her beloved father, the Merlin of Britain, and Arthur Pendragon, the old ways and the new, Wren must find a way to balance the forces of Chaos with peace. She nurtures the land and the people, creating a haven for anyone displaced by the turbulence. And for the safety of all she must guard her heart against the deep love she shares with Arthur, a married king who holds the future of all the Britains in his hands and his sword.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Obvious folkloric expertise
Library Journal - Library Journa;l
An ambitious project that should have certain appeal for fans of Arthurian legend and goddess centered magic

Product Details

Book View Cafe
Publication date:
Merlin's Descendants , #1
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species, a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon, she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck.

A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between.

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Guardian of the Balance (Merlin's Descendants Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
pamkaye More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Guardian Of The Balance. I found it hard to put the book down. It was so engrossing. This is Book 1 of a series of 5. Can't wait to read the rest. The tale of King Arthur and Merlin, rewritten. Merlin's daughter Alywren plays a major part in the success of Arthur. The two are friends when children. Then find a taboo love with each other as adults. There are many characters in the story which aren't likable. But that only bring Wren, Merlin & Arthur so much closer to perfection. You can overlook their slight sins compared to all the happenings around them. Lancelot's rule wasn't very big but was important. I loved the magical aspect (the fairies, witches, gods & goddesses).
Marz2242 More than 1 year ago
I first read this book years ago from my local library. I was meant to share the book with my mom but I couldn't put it down I took it to school and read whenever I could. After that one time we couldn't find the book again (my mom also got hooked on it) when my fiance got me the nook for my birthday the first thing I did was Google this book. As soon as I found it and had the money I bought it. Again I couldn't put this book down. The plot grips you and keeps you hooked till the last page where I will admit I did cry with the sadness of it. Guardian of the Balance really highlights how hard it was to keep the old religion in the time of King Arthur and his knights. It also gives us a whole new look in to Arthur and Merlin's lives. We see Arthur as the young man who didn't know his destiny and how he grew into the king we know him to be. We also see Merlin in a new role as a father to the main character Wren.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read book!!!!! Kept me on my toes must be read with an open mind book that has many historic truths mixed with fantasy.
Serinde24 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in a series of novels focusing on the mythical bloodline of Merlin. This story is set in the late 5th century and early 6th century. The protagonist of this first novel is Arylwren, nicknamed Wren, the daughter of Merlin and the goddess whom he serves. Wren grows up in the shadow of and falls in love with the boy who will one day inherit the title of Pendragon. Meanwhile, to protect her from political and religious intrigues, her father forces Wren into a loveless marriage. Wren has a long and difficult journey through life and pursues a destiny spun for her by the goddess of the land, but whose contributions to Briton behind the scenes make her as important as Arthur himself. Wren must balance the old with the new and her love with her duty. This is not the first book Radford has ever written, but it feels like it. The writing style in the first half of the book is rough, and the story line is choppy. The second half of the book things begin to move smoother as Radford’s writing improves. During the first half of the book, Radford throws out details regarding many Celtic rituals and Gods with no real enhancement to the storyline, it seems almost as if she want to show off her knowledge rather than enhance her story. Thankfully, in the second half of the book the Celtic ritual details do enhance the story line and makes the reading much more enjoyable. It is the second half of the book that drew me in, and I had trouble putting it down. Radford kept most of the classic Arthurian legend details but her own spin on them that made the story seem fresh and engaging. The personalities and reasons behind the actions of well known characters such as Morgaine and Merlin mad the story seem new and sometimes I wished for different outcomes than what I knew must happen. There are also new players to the legend working in the background that add some depth to the story and provide new antagonists to thwart Arthur, Wren and Merlin, and lead to the conclusion that we all know must happen. For example Nimue, is corrupted by her greed for power and her laziness to complete a task as instructed, if here flaws did not hinder her so, she could have been a larger threat than she was. But, if her father Carrdoc had not been such a brutal man, she may have been able to user her power for good, and at first I felt sorry for her, in the end she got what her deeds deserved, but I still felt sympathy for the character, which shows that when Radford choose to focus on the story and the characters she could weave a magical tale. I love that fact that “Guardian of the Balance” follows Arthur and Wren from childhood to death, and sets up the next book to be about their decedents rather than carrying the story of Arthur and Wren. I am looking forward to “Guardian of the Truth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
Radford deviates quite liberally from the Arthur legend we all know, but not enough so that the story isn't recognizable. And she takes one liberty that is essential to the plot of this and the other books in this series. In the actual legend Merlin never married, nor did he have any children - though the woman Nimue did indeed cause his downfall by seducing him. Here, Merlin breaks his vows of celibacy before the story of Arthur begins (which we learn in a brief prologue) and is punished for it by the gods. The result of that breach of faith is his daughter, Arylwren (Wren for short), who is the actual central figure of this story. She wanders the country with her father, studies in Avalon for several years, and becomes a powerful sorceress in her own right - powerful enough to challenge both Nimue and the woman history will know as Morgan Le Fey. But her life is not a happy one. She is forced into marriage with a man she cannot love and who treats women like cattle, while the man she truly loves marries a lady named Guinevere. Nevertheless, Wren does her part to hold Arthur's Britain together for as long as she and her Da can - but in the end, as we all know, the Golden Age is doomed. Not, however, before Wren finds some happiness by perpetuating her family's line. Radford's first book in the series "Merlin's Descendants" is a grand beginning to what promises to be a wonderful story. This is by far the best feminist take on the Arthurian legend since Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" and its succeeding tales. I definitely look forward to the next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books that I've read (and I've read quite a few!). I couldn't put it down, even though I was up until the middle of the night. In the year since I first read this book, I've reread it five times. Very belieable story, and wonderfully written. You really should read this book, now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. It made me feel if I were there in the book it was great! It kept me guessing the whole way through. It was totally different from the other Arthur and Merlin books I have read. :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you liked Mists of Avalon and The Once and Future King, you'll like Guardian of the Balance. I'm currently reading the 2nd book of the series and looking for the third. This story has everything I like about a book. First, the story line moves quickly, giving enough detail that it is easy to follow, yet, not so much detail that the story gets bogged down. I'm sure that when I go back and read this book again, I will find details I missed the first time through that will make it like reading another whole new book. This book is first and formost a story. It entertains. That is what it is supposed to do. Thanks Irene for the great tale and taking me along in your story