I hated this series because I felt Lawhead took all the mystic things out & made them commonplace. The Lady of the Lake is Merlin's mother, so named because she met her husband while swimming in a lake. Excalbur is only a sword she bought for her father. And there is a heavy Christian bent that I don't think fits Merlin at all. But your milage may vary. One of my good friends thinks this is the best seriees ever written.
Lawhead takes a new view of the Arthurian cycle, beginning with this "prequel" telling the story of Taliesin and Charis, whose child Merlin became Arthur's teacher and mentor. Some interesting images here.
I wish I had read the reviews before reading this book. This book (and I assume the rest of the series) should be under the genre 'Christian Fantasy'. This is a story of the birth of Merlin and it strays so far from both the legend of King Arthur and the 'true' historical account that it left me wondering why the author didn't just tell a fictional story about his own characters and leave Arthur out of it. The constant religious preaching aside, the author managed to take what is supposed to be a magical story and made it boring.
I thought the book was definetly a different version of Arthurian era than I'm familar with. I enjoyed the combination of Arthurian and Atlantian characters.
This is the first in the Pendragon Cycle by Lawhead. If you are interested in the series, you NEED to read this first - it sets the storyline for the other books. Taliesin definitely pulls you into the story very quickly, and the next 4 books keep you engaged.