I'm mildly obsessed with the Holy Grail so I'm familiar with Arthurian literature and have read a lot of books on the history surrounding both the Dark Age and Medieval takes on the legends. I'm very fond of the subject matter so I was a little wary of reading this book, but having been impressed by some of the author's non-fiction work I wasn't going to let that stop me.
It's a great story, brimming with outrageously brilliant ideas, but firmly rooted in the real world in a way which makes even the wildest fantasy elements perfectly believable. It's a lot of fun, well paced, well written,clever, thought provoking, and completely engaging. Best of all it manages to work its magic without taking any liberties with the various Merlins of myth and history, and actually brings many of them together in a way I'd not considered possible. I think the wait for book two may kill me.