"The mills of God work like lightning compared with the law." -- Mary Stewart
Mary Florence Elinor Stewart (néeRainbow; born 17 September 1916) is a popular English novelist, best known for her series about Merlin, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and the fantasy genre.
"I can say 'reduce your stress level' until I'm blue in the face.""I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark.""It is harder to kill a whisper than even a shouted calumny.""The best way of forgetting how you think you feel is to concentrate on what you know you know.""There are few men more superstitious than soldiers. They are, after all, the men who live closest to death."
Stewart was born in Sunderland, County Durham, England and graduated from Durham University, from where she received an honorary D.Litt in 2009. She was a lecturer in English Language and Literature there until her marriage in 1945 to Sir Frederick Stewart, former chairman of the Geology Department of Edinburgh University. Sir Frederick died in 2001.
She is also the author of many crime fiction, gothic fiction and romance novels, several of which have been adapted for television and/or film. Several of her books are set in Scotland; others are set in more exotic locations such as Damascus, the Greek islands, Spain, France, Austria, etc.
She was at the height of her popularity in the 1960s and 1970s when many of her suspense and romantic novels were translated into many languages.Stewart is considered one of the founders of the romantic suspense subgenre, blending romance novels and mystery. Her novels seamlessly combined the two genres, maintaining a full mystery while focusing on the courtship between two people. In her novels, the process of solving the mystery "helps to illuminate" the hero's personality, helping the heroine to fall in love with him.
Following the success of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and the connection of the Kennedy presidency with "Camelot", Arthurian Legends became quite popular again. Mary Stewart added to this climate by publishing The Crystal Cave , the first in what was to become a 5 book series later dubbed The Merlin Chronicles. It placed Lady Stewart on the best seller list many times throughout the 1960s,1970s, and 1980s.