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The Best Book on Merlin Ever

Updated on September 21, 2014

I read The Crystal Cave in 1970, and that was just the first time.

Mary Stewart brings to life a fantastical but realistic Merlin, in an spellbinding portrayal.

You may think you know this powerful wizard from the tales of King Arthur but, until you discover the secrets of the Crystal Cave, the Merlin you may have met before is a pale version of the real man.

Merlin's Early Childhood

We first meet Myrddin Emrys as a boy of six and right from the start we follow the forces that make him, ultimately, the guardian of Arthur. The small cruelties that blight his childhood, the retreats into defensive silence and his explorations into the hidden world of the hypercaust, the people he loves and the people who both despise and fear him.

With his bewilderment and, yes, his bravery, little Myrddin captures your heart.

Stewart is a superb writer

Mary Stewart's lyrical story rings with beauty. She is a superb writer and her words conjure the 5th century world of post-Roman Britain in all its colour and clamour.

"South Wales is a lovely country, with green hills and deep valleys, flat water meadows yellow with flowers where cattle grow sleek .... but where, come winter, the wolves run, and I have seen lightning even with the snow'.

With a strong supporting cast from the wild Welsh mountains and the small sleepy towns of Brittany, you meet the characters who will stay with you long after the book is read and returned to the shelf.

The Crystal Cave (The Arthurian Saga, Book 1)
The Crystal Cave (The Arthurian Saga, Book 1)

Memorable and awe-inspiring. I can't recommend the Crystal Cave highly enough.


Best Books on the Legend of King Arthur

I've always been fascinated by Arthur, who was the man who inspired such a long-lasting legend? You've heard of the chivalrous knights, of many-towered Camelot...

Have you read Mary Stewart before?

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Oh memories! I'd almost forgotten about Mary Stewart. Since I can't remember which of these I've read I may have to read them all again. Loved Wildfire and Midnight, and 9 Coaches Waiting. Read them when I was growing up. This will make me smile all day! Thanks for that!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I read all the Merlin books by Mary Stewart. I re-read them every couple of years. I have not read other books by Mary, I will have to add those to my ever growing queue of my favorite genre of Historical books! Great review Susanna!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Sounds wonderful. I'll have to check this out. Merlin has always been an intriguing character.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I think she wrote the best books on the Arthurian legend I have ever read.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 

      5 years ago

      Phenomenal writer.

      Great lens.

    • LoriBeninger profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm a huge fan of the Arthurian legends...and read all that I can.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've read them all but so long ago I've forgotten a lot of the details. She is a great writer.


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