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Holdstock's Merlin is near immortal, and as the story opens has already walked the world for millennia, an alienated narrator; an archetype it is difficult to empathise with. Occasionally he does show human warmth:
I looked at her face, so beautiful despite the greed of Time, her hair still like polished copper; into her eyes, so lovely, so clever; her breath like summer fruit; our fingers intertwined briefly. A beauty that had not faded; lost in time; almost untouchable.Long before Arthur, Merlin has become deeply involved with Jason, The Argonauts and the legendary cycle of betrayal and bloodshed between Jason and Medea. Spinning this saga into a surreal epic across centuries, Holdstock adds the quest of the young Celtic King Urtha to avenge his wife and children, and the epic march to the Oracle of Delphi of the greatest army the world has ever seen.
Written with all Holdstock's usual skill, Celtika is a strange, convoluted, intricately plotted book. Weaving so much mythology and history into one fabric results in a distant quality akin to Tolkien's The Silmarillion, producing fantasy of particular subtlety and intelligence. While knowledge of the author's previous books is not required, those who have read them will find extra resonance in exploring these austerely magical adventures from the archetype's point-of-view. --Gary S. Dalkin
I have just finished reading this, it was great. The best Holdstock book I have read, the characterisations are well done, the story is a good addition to the Merlin myth and I... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2010 by Redrawn
Formulaic and cold, this is a book full of characters you couldn't care less about. It is emotionally empty. A sad effort after the wonderful Mythago series.Published on 31 Jan. 2001