Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Ambrosius, the High King of Briton, has ruled strongly and well for many years. But now he is dying. His dream and hope for a peaceful kingdom, The Kingdom of the Summer Lands, is slipping away. He is afraid the world may never see what he envisions. Myrrdin (Merlin), his most trusted advisor and dear friend, promises to find a way to keep the possibility of Ambrosius' dream alive. He magically locks Ambrosius' sword, Caladfwlch, in stone. A stone that is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of sacrifice. Whoever can remove the sword from the stone will be the true Ard Righ, High King of Briton, High King of the Summer Lands. And so it begins.
Myrrdin is advisor to the High King through the reign of Vortigen. Myrrdin senses Vortigen is not the man he seeks. It is in his blood but not his head or his heart. But Vortigen's sister, Ygraine, has possibilities. Perhaps a child of Ygraine's might be the answer. But Myrrdin has to wait for the right time and place.
Vortigen's reign shortly gives way to the reign of Uther. Uther is not quite right either, but Myrrdin has a plan. He sees how the job could be done. All it needs is a little careful planning, a little timing and a little magic.
"A child born of sin, but a child who would grow within the fosterage of a good and just man. A child born of sin, but destined for salvation. A child who would grow into a man who would grow into a king." A child named Arthur.
I love the Arthurian legends. There are so many versions and interpretations. It's such a powerful and lasting story. This one covers more of the beginning of the legend. Myrrdin (Merlin) is a master manipulator in a way I've never seen depicted before, though I've hardly read everything available on the subject. Morganna (Morgaine) is far more conniving, almost to the point of evil, than I've encountered. It's a good introduction and base to the story, for those who don't have that already. My favorite part, though, is actually the Gaelic pronunciation guide in the beginning. I found it extraordinarily helpful, accessible, and the book is worth it for that alone, as well as for the story itself.