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The Crystal Cave (Merlin Trilogy 1) [Paperback]

Mary Stewart
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012 Merlin Trilogy 1

Fifth century Britain is a country of chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal. This is the world of young Merlin, the illegitimate child of a South Wales princess who will not reveal to her son his father's true identity.

Yet Merlin is an extraordinary child, aware at the earliest age that he possesses a great natural gift - the Sight. Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, Merlin emerges into manhood, and accepts his dramatic role in the New Beginning - the coming of King Arthur.

Frequently Bought Together

The Crystal Cave (Merlin Trilogy 1) + The Hollow Hills (Merlin Trilogy 2) + The Last Enchantment (Merlin Trilogy 3)
Price For All Three: 18.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444737481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444737486
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Stewart, one of our most popular novelists, was born in Sunderland, County Durham and lives in the West Highlands. Her first novel, MADAM, WILL YOU TALK? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. All her novels have been bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic. Her book for younger readers, THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK, LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE, and A WALK IN WOLF WOOD, quickly met with the success of her other novels. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for THE CRYSTAL CAVE, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE.

Product Description


A deft colourful . . . re-creation of Merlin's early life (Sunday Times)

Vivid, enthralling, absolutely first-class (Daily Mail)

Her style is simple yet vivid, displaying a love of words and the sounds they make, and her story is poetically imaginative (Daily Telegraph)

Mary Stewart brilliantly recreates the Britain of the fifth century (Books And Bookmen)

A fascinating story which lays a firm hold on the imagination (The Scotsman)

Mary Stewart lightens the Dark Ages with legend, pure invention and a lively sense of history. (New York Times)

Book Description

The dramatic first novel in the classic Merlin Trilogy, set in fifth century Britain at the beginning of the time of King Arthur.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
The day my uncle Camlach came home, I was just six years old. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging re-telling of the life of Merlin 4 July 1999
By A Customer
The Crystal Cave is one of a multitude of fictional works pertaining to the times and life of the legendary King Arthur. It differs from the others however, in that it focuses on the life of the great enchanter Merlin, who although intrinsic to the legend, rarely is considered by authors as a principal character of their stories. Generally, Merlin is presented as a learned sage of whose earlier life little is known. Mary Stewart shows Merlin to be more human, than the reader has encountered him in the other Arthurian tales. She achieves it by creating for him a childhood and parentage. In the popular myth it is believed that Merlin was a devil- begotten child, hence his magical powers. The Crystal Cave shows him a very real person possessed of heightened perceptions and extraordinary intellect, which a medieval audience, whence the original stories of Arthur stem, would very likely have equated with powers beyond an ordinary mortal. The book is an engaging and highly probable tale, beautifully written and entertaining. Mary Stewart cleverly links her story with original legend and her fresh approach makes for excellent reading. Even an adult reader well familiar with the legend will be transported to another world, one he might not have visited since his childhood days.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite retelling of the Arthur myth 31 July 2008
By ajk77
First read this series (Crystal Cave - Hollow Hills - Last Enchantment - Wicked Day) in the seventies and it stands the test of time well.

Mary Stewart makes the best attempt I have so far read to combine most of the legends passed down to us (especially Geoffrey of Monmouth who is her main source) with such historical knowledge of the period as was available at the time. And she does it in a way that is highly readable, with convincing characters, good pace, and a version as near plausible as anything that must cover some magical element can be.

Monmouth would have voted for it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Merlin 25 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mary Stewart was born to write this book, and her ability to write in such a deceptively simple style means that Merlin leaps from the pages as if he had just been waiting for a voice.
Here is the story of his childhood, a despised bastard of a king's daughter, intelligent, intuitive and already showing the signs of his natural affinity with magic guided by the dweller in the cave.
But it is also Merlin's voyage of discovery, of his real parentage, of his growing power and the destiny that will bring Arthur eventually to the throne of a real dark age's world.
"The Crystal Cave" has been for many years one of my favourite books, read again and again. Of all the versions of Merlin's story that are or have been published, this is the one that will remain with you for a very long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something special. 12 May 2012
I've read a few fiction books about the legend of King Arthur and enjoyed them so I saw this and decided to give it a read and I wasn't disappointed. Mary Stewart has a knack for writing a novel that's gripping, has a great plot line, characters you care about but for me she also has this special something I can't really put into words, It's like was reading this book I was sucked in whole heartedly and it was like I was home or in a warm bubble I just wanted to stay there lol
Another thing that I like about the book is the magic, It's not your typical magic that you get in fantasy novels in fact personally I was never sure if the magic was real or just in the other characters minds and I think that's what the author wanted.
The only reason I didn't give the book five stars is because I did feel it lagged slightly towards the end but it was still a pleasure to read and I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 23 July 2012
I was first introduced to the tales of King Arthur, whose realm is made magical by the intriguing wizard Merlin at six or seven. And in my teens I was very much impressed by the 1981 John Boorman movie Excalibur starring Helen Mirren, Nigel Terry and Nicol Williamson, starring a rather sinister and hard to like Merlin. Later I saw the more sympathetic Merlin in the highly engaging 1998 TV series Merlin starring Sam Neil. Have read Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie which I loved and its sequels. The mediocre Pendragon cycle by Stephen Lawhead, the intriguing if drawn out Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, the Bernard Cornwell Arthur trilogy. and the somewhat disappointing Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalinde Miles.
Only now have I had the privilege and pleasure of reading The Crystal Cave, which was written and took the world of historical fantasy by storm for the first time 42 years ago,and has been a best seller ever since.
Together with McKenzie's Queen of Camelot this one is by far my favourite and I cannot wait to read the sequels. Intriguing, engaging, a page turner, brings 5th century Britain and the story of Merlin to life.
In the early Dark Ages Britain has fragmented into a number of kingdoms and tribal entities, as the island struggles to resist invasions by the Saxon tribes from Germany which are slowly colonizing south-east England and in the west marauders from Ireland.
The fatherless son of the Welsh princess Niniane, Myrriden Emrys - better known as Merlin faces a perilous and unwanted and dangerous childhood and on the death of his grandfather the king of Dyfed must flee for his life from the murderous plans of the new king, his uncle Camlach.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
very ordinary but OK .
Published 6 days ago by Mike.
3.0 out of 5 stars Young Merlin
A well written narrative with interesting insights into the times, albeit highly imaginative as records of the time are sparse and tend to be written many years after the events. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Dr. Berenice Muir
4.0 out of 5 stars Arthur in his historical context
I enjoyed this so much that I downloaded all four Arthurian novels on to my Kindle and read them at one gulp. Very plausible dark-ages seting.
Published 28 days ago by AP
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Replacement for a worn out copy - Excellent
Published 1 month ago by John Dix
5.0 out of 5 stars You will want to read the rest of the trilogy.
I bought the Kindle edition because my paperbacks are falling apart from re-reading. Set in 5th century Britain, it is the story of Merlin's childhood and his going out into the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Merlin Emrys
excellent story. Well written. A good slant on an old well known legend . I like the connection with Ambrosius
Published 2 months ago by Diane Downing
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
When I read these books first, I was a young girl, and they kept me reading until the wee hours, fitfully turning page after page so I could find out more about Merlin and his... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ms. G. K. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Merlin's story
Having read a number of books about Arthur and Merlin et al, I still think this is by far the best. T' good to be able to buy the trilogy on kindle.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. P. Cramer
5.0 out of 5 stars I have all these Merlin books in paperback
Such a joy to be able to read them on Kindle.

What to say about the story? Just simply excellent, breathtaking storytelling from an accomplished writer.
Published 3 months ago by Janet
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of great adventure
The beginning of Merlin's story that moves with a fast pace through myth and magic. A very enjoyable start to the trilogy.
Published 5 months ago by Roberta Harrold
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