Merlin: The Prophet and His History Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Jan 2009
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About the Author
Geoffrey Ashe is widely regarded as one of the leading Arthurian specialists and is author of A Guide to Arthurian Britain, Avalonian Quest, The Quest for Arthur's Britain, Camelot and the Vision of Albion and the classic The Discovery of King Arthur (Sutton 2003). A former secretary of the Camelot Research Committee, he now lives in Glastonbury. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
If it weren't for this niggle, I wouldn't hesitate to give five stars, but an index is important to me.
If you want a matter-of-fact but short exposition of the main literary sources of the Merlin legend - this is a good place to start. If you want to know whether Merlin the enchanter really existed, you will always be disappointed. Such questions will probably never be answered.
Geoffrey Ashe is an acknowledged authority and writes in an accessible style. One minor quibble - much of it is told in the present tense. There are times when you are unsure whether you are reading yet another tall story, or real archeological evidence.
Probably the former, as the latter is almost completely absent (sadly).
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is set against the backdrop of Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain. Ashe traces Merlin's appearance in Geoffrey's work, and then takes the reader through historical records of secular and non-secular writings. Through it all, Ashe builds a case for the existence of Merlin (though not the magical being our current era has come to adopt) as a real person (or persons).
Though a little academic (familiarity with the works of Wace, The Pearl Poet, and French lore is a plus, but not absolutely necessary)this book is entertaining enough for it to be a good primer for those looking for the history behind the legend.
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