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The Last Enchantment (Coronet Books) Paperback – Dec 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet; 2 edition (Dec 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340258292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340258293
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.3 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,247 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

Review

An absorbing and haunting novel (Daily Mail)

A fascinating novel, a richly woven tapestry presented with a vividness that brings the characters from myth to real life (Evening Standard)

Mary Stewart, enchantress . . . an ability to evoke a situation, a mood or a season with a few phrases of prose that are almost verse (Daily Telegraph)

A perfect trip out of the present. (New York Times Book Review)

Book Description

The third in Mary Stewart's magnificent Merlin trilogy after The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills

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Not every king would care to start his reign with the wholesale massacre of children. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dolphin TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 April 2013
Format: Paperback
The third book of Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga. As in the previous two volumes, Merlin is the narrator, picking up the story where "The Hollow Hills" left off, on the night of the day Arthur was proclaimed High King of Britain at the ripe old age of fourteen. Mary Stewart crafted each book as a stand-alone (although, clearly, they are so much better read in sequence) and so the first few pages contain a recap of the events that preceded the coronation. This makes the first chapter a little awkward but soon the action takes off and we are swept along into another 500 pages of fascinating reconstruction of the days of Arthur, Merlin and Camelot.

As in the earlier books, the familiar ingredients are all here: superb descriptions of places and events, in-depth character development done with honesty but also with a loving acceptance of human nature, terrific sense of pacing, interspersing lots of action with contemplative passages and that quintessential thing that Mary Stewart does so well of educating without patronising. Much as I loved "The Crystal Cave" and "The Hollow Hills", I feel that this book is even stronger as it deals with Merlin's decline and his ambivalence about the fulfilment of his life mission. Despite his stated "contentment" the ending is very sad and it's just as well that we get The Legend and Author's Notes to help us over "kleenex-time".

Quite apart from the quality of the narrative and the elegance with which some truly gruesome scenes are handled, the great achievement of this saga is that it successfully deconstructs the rather unlikely elements of the Arthurian legend and reassembles them into a believable and cohesive version of what really could have happened. In particular, the treatment of Guinevere's abduction is a stroke of genius.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. J. Robinson on 12 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another great read by Mary Stewart. She's continued to keep enthralled with the characters and developed these realistically. been a pleasure to read the whole series. Well recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Lapsley on 28 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because of the issues mentioned below, I am finding the above book, which is obviously a reprint, very difficult to handle and to read comfortably because of the way in which it has been printed.

1) the printing is inconsistent with some pages printed in dark thick ink and other pages printed as normal.

2) the margins on the left and right side pages are too wide so the text on both pages are forced into the centre and too close to the book's spine. This makes the handling of the book very awkward when reading, and with my stiff thumb joints I find it almost impossible to handle the book for longer than half a hour at a time, and its almost impossible to read in bed.

I realise I should have returned the book but I was so eager to begin reading it especially as I had just finished the previous two.

Perhaps the stock could be checked in case this flaw is repeated in other copies.

Thanking you for your continual good service.
Best regards, Susan Lapsley
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback
I think what I like best about Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy is that, whilst it is of course a retelling of the Arthurian legend, it is very much about Merlin, not Arthur himself. That can be seen in no small part in where she chooses to end the trilogy with this book, long before Arthur's final battle with Mordred and the end of Camelot.

There's a warmth and a depth to this book that really charms - it isn't the tale of great events and battles, although of course they're there. It's the story of old age and decline, the loss of strength and power, of acceptance and the passing of the torch onwards to the next generation. Knowing his fate as he does, although Stewart does have a new spin on the tale of Merlin and Nimue, Merlin faces his end with real dignity, and that thread runs throughout this book.

That I got through all 500+ pages in little more than a day tells you a lot about the skill and talent of the author. I literally did not put this book down all day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alison fearns on 29 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read the Crystal Cave and Hollow Hills when I was a teenager, just after they had been published 34 years ago. I had no idea then that a third book was being written and at the time I was bogged down doing what was needed to go to University.They made such an impression that I never could part with the books and over the years re-read them from time to time. Each time finding something new in them.I recently made the discovery that Mary Stewart had written The Last Enchantment which I promptly ordered and read. Another reviewer had said that she thought she was a little in love with Merlin, and I feel the same too. He's the perfect hero. Strong, kind, wise and vulnerable too. I was glad his end wast'nt as 'shameful' as he'd predicted. If I am ever marooned on a desert island I would take the Merlin Trilogy. If you ever want to get away from the trials and tribulations of 21st century life, read these thoroughly original and absorbing books.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "pennymwood2" on 3 Dec 2001
Format: Paperback
What pleasure Mary Stewart has given us over the years and this series about the life and times of Merlin, the magician who was chief adviser to the legendary King Arthur, is no exception. How wonderfully Stewart is able to weave her magic in the myth that surrounds the era of Camelot. Best to read the two earlier episodes in this saga first though. These are dateless and enduring but remember it is only fiction.
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