- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; 2 edition (1 Oct. 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340151331
- ISBN-13: 978-0340151334
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 3.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,045,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Crystal Cave (Coronet Books) Paperback – 1 Oct 1983
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Vivid, enthralling, absolutely first-class (Daily Mail)
Mary Stewart brilliantly recreates the Britain of the fifth century (Books And Bookmen)
Her style is simple yet vivid, displaying a love of words and the sounds they make, and her story is poetically imaginative (Daily Telegraph)
A deft colourful . . . re-creation of Merlin's early life (Sunday Times)
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)
The dramatic first novel in the classic Merlin Trilogy, set in fifth century Britain at the beginning of the time of King Arthur.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Much has been written about this book and I believe all the praise to be richly deserved. Merlin has always been a favourite figure from my childhood study of myths and legends, but for the first time under Stewart's inspired treatment, he really comes to life as a very plausible historical figure. I like the way some of his most celebrated "magic" is presented as the likely product of a highly intelligent and accomplished man with a deep understanding of human nature and the daring to manipulate circumstances to suit the simple reasoning of the masses. One of the great accomplishments of this narrative is that it creates an historically accurate and highly probable story out of all the sketchy and often contradictory accounts that have reached us. Stewart used her in-depth knowledge of the period and scrupulous research into the available historical sources (particularly Geoffrey of Monmouth's "History of the Kings of Britain") to weave a complex but coherent tapestry that reads like a thriller. I have just revisited this book for the purposes of reviewing it and it never fails to amaze me how rich and detailed the story is and how completely it draws me in. I can taste the food and feel the texture of fabrics and wet grass. I can follow the historical events and their significance without feeling lectured to. As usual, the sense of place and human perspective are just right.
I own and have enjoyed nearly all of this author's works, but to me the Merlin saga is something higher.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was just as I required and I was very pleased with the orderPublished 2 months ago by Peter read
Read this book when I was a teenager and wanted to re read it as I love anything to do with Merlin and ArthurPublished 5 months ago by Mrs. P. A. Millard
Mary Stewart is one of the ultimate story tellers who brings the characters to life. I read this series of books many years ago and they have lost nothing in the passing of years. Read morePublished 6 months ago by savvy shopper
Amazing book. A different viewpoint to the Arthur story we're all familiar with and a fresh take on Merlin.Published 6 months ago by Georgia Ramsay
Mary Stewart's Arthurian trilogy is, quite simply, superb. It starts with a young Merlin, illegitimate but of royal birth, and only barely aware of his powers. Read morePublished 8 months ago by June
I read this book, which is one of a trilogy, about twenty years ago. I am very glad to have become acquainted with it again. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kathryn Hollingworth