Merlin's Shadow (The Merlin Spiral #2)

Merlin's Shadow (The Merlin Spiral #2)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 24, 2013
ISBN
978-0-310-73508-3
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Forged in the fires of Britain, with the sword crafted by his dying father, Merlin impales the Druid Stone thwarting Morganthau's devious scheme to usurp King Uther and redistribute power to the Druidow. Destruction of the Stone forces the evil within to beckon another mortal vessel to its bidding. Feeding on hate, weaknesses, and selfish desires, the alluring power calls to the darkness of the soul. Sorrow-laden by her parent's death, plus the loss of the only home she has ever known, rage-driven Ganieda fights the pull of the darkness, but inevitably succumbs to the enchanting "Voice." Yet, as warned by his mother, Merlin's quest was far from complete. Actually, it had just begun. Seeking a safe refuge from their pursuers, Merlin and his faithful companions constantly dodge dangers while eluding capture. From the forests of Kernow to the coast of Dintaga and through the valleys of Kembry, Vortigern hunts the ragtag group. However, at some point, the chase must end. Seized during a Pictish raid, Merlin and company head north escaping Vortigern, but march to an unknown fate. Merlin's Shadow is a continuation of Treskillard's engaging story-telling and well-developed characters. It opens with a concise summary of Merlin's Blade allowing readers to immediately jump into book two with a good grasp of the previous novel; thereby, negating the lost feeling many readers experience upon starting a book in the middle of a series. Told from multiple points of view--that of Merlin, Ganieda, Morganthu, and King Uther's traitorous Army Captain, Vortigern--readers delve deeper into these characters enabling notice of personality changes from the earlier novel. Throughout the book, readers experience Ganieda's incessant torment and conflicting emotions torn between wanting love, acceptance, and a place to call home or choosing a heart of malice. Merlin, on the other hand, regains his visual abilities, but loses sight of his unwavering faith. Though wallowing in self-doubt with each new hardship, Merlin refuses to give in to circumstance. Merlin's Shadow is a well-crafted tale wrapped in prophecy, adventure, faith, vengeance, perseverance, and tenacity. On a side note: I thought Muscravel died in Merlin's Blade. If anyone else thought the same thing, please let know that I wasn't alone. I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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3.7
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Great for Celtic History fans!
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
I was expecting to be entertained–but not educated when I picked up the YA book Merlin’s Shadow by Robert Treskillard. Lucky for me I got both!

The premise of Merlin’s Shadow is that Merlin, his fiancé, a baby Arthur, and a few Druid and Christian tagalongs, are on the run from the evil king Vortigern. Their only escape is to head north into the hands of the blue Picti.

This book is a real page-turner, but at the same time Treskillard weaves an extensive amount of Celtic history into his new interpretation of the Arthurian legends.

But (insert evil laughter), I can take Treskillard’s fascination with obscure history, and up the notch of nerdiness. This past fall I studied Celtic Christianity along with the rest of my local United Methodist church. One of the favorite books I read was Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Sprirtuality by J. Philip Newell.

After the Romans left the British Isles, Celtic Christianity developed into it’s own culture, without interference from Rome. Whereas Roman Christians revered Peter and believed infants were inherently evil, Celtic Christians looked towards the apostle John and believed that God’s creation was naturally good, but that free will led to sin.

The famous Celtic Christian Pelagius, is either a heretic or a saint, depending upon whom you talk too. He encouraged women to read scripture and think about spiritual things.

The Iona Abbey in Scotland is still active, and people from all over the world travel there to learn about God and ancient spiritual practices that still have meaning today: praying while you work, blessing your children before they walk out the door, and enjoying nature.

If you take all of that history and put it side by side with Merlin’s Shadow, it becomes even more interesting. Treskillard is writing about a world right after the Romans left, when Celtic Christianity is just getting a foothold. Druids like Caygek, have their own sense of morality that will eventually be enveloped into the Celtic Christian church; the Earth is sacred because it is God’s creation.

I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the Merlin’s Spiral series.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for my honest opinions and review.
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