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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 September 2012
A very interesting book. I found it a bit difficult to start with but once you get into the book it is quite interesting.
I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in The Arthurian legends.

From David J. Horne
Author of The Lord Keepers.
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on 5 April 2011
I picked up this book when I was looking for a different view on the question of Merlin, and found it to be an interesting theory.

What has been said in other reviews here about Merlin being Welsh or Cornish or that Ardry is making assumptions noone with scholary knowledge would make I find to be foolish and wrong.

The argument of Merlin being of Scottish origin has been made before and several times at that, and that by researchers who themself are of scholary knowledge. You need not look far, you can pick up for instance the The Mammoth Book of King Arthur (Mammoth Books) to mention one that argues this point among other possibility.

The fact is that seeing as historical record from the age after Roman occupation is very scant and much has been proven to be forgeries as well as exaggerated indeed, opens up the search area to include quite a huge area as well as timeframe for when the supposed history of Arthur and Merlin took place. Some make the argument for a Welsh connection, others the Cornish, others again the Scottish connection and the timeframe goes from AD 400 up to 700.

There are as many contenders for Merlin as there is for Arthur and I for one think that the author has made a good and thourough argument for the timeframe of the AD 500's as well as for the Scottish connection. One does not have to agree with everything, but to concider this book as nothing but fancifull pseudo historical writings is to make a mistake, as that seems to me to suggest that one has already a prejudice against the very idea presented in this book and others who are looking into this area of tumultous history.

For those who think that nothing new can be found in the history as well as the myths and legends of Arthur and Merlin should skip this book, as you well have seen in the other reviews here people of that frame of mind tends to have a closed mind for the "new" ideas presented by Ardry.
Are you however of the open minded kind as well the curious type I highly reccomend you pick up this book as it might offer you some new insights on the matter of Merlin.

Having read a lot on this subject and being someone of an open mind I found lots that gave clues to further reading and would actually reccommend you pick up this book along with the classical book The Life of Merlin, Vita Merlini (Forgotten Books) though this book arguably and largely has been manipulated by the author, along with The Mammoth Book of Merlin (Mammoth Books) as you might get some new insight and inspiration in your persuit of the historical Merlin.

I hope to have been of assistance and wish you luck in your quest for knowledge!
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on 1 June 2009
In the great tradition of Arthurian pseudohistory Ardey follows in the footsteps of many other poorly researched historical attempts to find a Real Merlin and Arthur. His central thesis is based on the idea that Artuir mac Aedan is the real Arthur, an idea used by a number of other writers and the book examines late sixth century Scotland. In Finding Merlin Ardey relies on taking as reliable evidence the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Celtic Saint's lives, notorious for unreliability, and rewriting them to fit his bizarre theories in which a Christian conspiracy has tried to hide the TRUTH about Merlin ala The Da Vinci Code. Amongst other nonsense he claims that Merlin Caledonius is not buried in the Scottish Borders, as Scottish tradition backed by Sir Walter Scott has claimed for hundreds of years; that St Mungo, beloved founder of Glasgow, is a psychopath, a murderer and a thief; that Merlin was not a mad prophet but a politician and a scientist and that the main Saxon invasion of the British Isles took place not in Kent but in Scotland. Despite proclaiming Merlin was persecuted as a pagan he removes from the Merlin legend all the weird elements of Celtic shamanism which make Merlin an interesting figure. Full of poor logic and weak argument it is mainly enjoyable for spotting the massive mistakes and those with knowledge of the period and the mysterious Old North of Rheged and Strathclyde will soon be roused to baffled fury. Nicholai Tolstoy's interesting speculative book on the Scottish Merlin based on solid research (i.e not using Geoffrey of Monmouth as a guide to dark age history) is far better than this book despite its radical conclusions and Geoffrey Ashe's recent book on Merlin is excellent too. Or if you want wild unhistorical fantasies about Merlin why not go to the original Geoffrey of Monmouth which at least has the excuse it was written 900 years ago.
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on 6 August 2013
the scottish merlin. this book is a fascinating read and is well researched with authentic documentation backing up the story. a sprinkling of photos add to it and it is packed with information. I recommend this book as a thoroughly good read for those of us who like history and facts!
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on 17 February 2013
The Scottish connection to Arthur has been made by several authors, and I have generally found their arguments more persuasive than the Welsh insistence on claiming the historical Arthur (if he existed). Ardrey's book builds on that, with some interesting theories, although I found his insistence on stating as fact points that were only his theories, a little disconcerting. However, that does not invalidate his proposal, which is at least worth reading. I was not convinced by some of his assertions on names (e.g. Mordred = Morcant; Emris - Ambrosius) but I don't think that invalidates his basic argument. Whatever some of the more hostile reviewers claim, many of Ardrey's statements could quite easily be checked by someone with time, a car and a good OS map. His theory depends on a major shift in the generally accepted timeline, but again, that does not invalidate the arguments. This is a re-interpretation of legends and is, as such, open to criticism, but I suspect some of his detractors who scoff at him using Geoffrey of Monmouth's fanciful writings as source material are happy to quote Nennius when it suits them. You don't need to be absolutely convinced by Ardrey's book, and I wasn't, but it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
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on 5 January 2014
Great scholarship and nice product. I grew up 2 miles from where he says Merlin actually lived in Scotland, and I know the area very well.
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on 15 October 2014
unfortunately Adam Ardrey gives a misleading account because he situates Merlin in modern day Scotland - whereas Merlin was a Briton - who's land reached from the line between Perth and Dumbarton down to Cornwall during the 6th century. I felt that Ardrey ended up doing what he accuses the English of doing - appropriating another culture. He also knows nothing about the culture of the time, or the spiritual structure - and by his own admission is a fan of the mediaeval Arthurian best seller which distorted the earlier historical material. Unlike Finding Arthur, which is extremely interesting and plausible, Finding Merlin is irritating and jarring.
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on 10 April 2010
Previously historians have had to puzzle out a picture of the dark ages from archaeology and scanty written sources, however Mr. Ardrey feels able to provide an in-depth political analysis of 7th century Britain, complete with detailed character sketches of the major players. Other hearty chuckles to be had in this book are when Mr. Ardrey claims an Arthurian connection for his own surname, when he translates Welsh names with a Scots Gaelic dictionary and blames the Welsh language for any garbled results, refers to Partick as The Royal Town Of Partick in Capitals all the time For No Reason, when he claims Merlin's house was two streets up from where I live (I'll be putting that on the ad when I sell my flat), and when he transports the entire body of British myth and dark age history to the author's own little corner of South West Scotland in order to pad out his fantastic story, sorry I mean true account of events. Apparently the rest of the island of Britain had a big sign on it throughout the 6th and 7th centuries saying `Not Much Happening Here'.

Maybe there was a decent novel lurking in here somewhere, but as a work of historical research it is worthless.
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on 6 December 2009
Very well thought out and excellant piece of work. I enjoyed at good chuckle at various points .

This book has made me view the whole Merlin "fairy tale", from a different perspective, I thought it was well researched and argued ,even if some of our more "learned ", reviewers cannot accept alternative realities.

I would certainly "Highly" recommend this book, I had absolutely no interest in Merlin ,but having met the author I was intrigued.

All that requires to be said is "Read and Enjoy".
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on 4 July 2015
Satisfied with this purchase as it's what I expected.
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