The Iron Grail

The Iron Grail : Book Two of the Merlin Codex

3.71 (335 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this acclaimed sequel to CELTIKA, Merlin is returning to Alba, the future England, with his companions, the crew of the resurrected Argo. Wandering the paths of the world, husbanding his magic to keep himself from aging, Merlin eschews, for the most part, the affairs of men. Few are those he deigns to call 'friend' and fewer those who welcome his friendship - it is not safe to walk for long in the wanderer's strategies. Those who do, both willing and unwilling, must usually pay a price. Caught up in events beyond their ken are characters destined to become the very stuff of legend: the mythic champion Jason; Urtha and his vengeful children; the northern sorceress Niiv; and Kinos, Jason's son, whose appearance is both terrible and tragic. And at the centre, moving along his never-ending path, is Merlin himself, an enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past - a past that is catching up with more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 112 x 174 x 30mm | 399.17g
  • Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0743440323
  • 9780743440325
  • 829,807

Review quote

"Continues to enthrall." --"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) on "The Iron Grail" "Verve and panache...At the center of it all is Merlin, who reluctantly doles out his formidable gifts, afraid of using himself up prematurely before the arrival of the true hero he is destined to counsel."--"San Francisco Chronicle" on "The Iron Grail" "Holdstock is the finest writer of metamorphic fantasy now working." --"The Washington Post" on "The Iron Grail"show more

About Robert Holdstock

Robert Holdstock won the World Fantasy Award for his classic novel MYTHAGO WOOD. He is regarded as one of the world's leading writers of myth and fantasy, and has written novels for over twenty years, including the MYTHAGO sequence, and the novel of John Boorman's film, THE EMERALD more

Review Text

Second installment of Holdstock's latest fantasy venture (Celtika, 2003): an erudite and colorful but less than fully convincing whirl of Greek, Celtic, Norse, and what-all mythologies. Last time out we met a resurrected Jason, his ship Argo, and some of his shipmates-including a certain Merlin (he's been walking the Earth for ten thousand years, hoarding his magic in an effort to remain youthful). Jason seeks the two sons whom he thought murdered by his (and Merlin's) former lover, the witch Medea. In Greek Land he found Thesokorus, who denied him and fought him; now he seeks Kinos, the Little Dreamer, in Alba (Britain). But Medea has hidden Kinos in the Ghostlands, an eerie region containing the Shadows of Heroes and Unborn. When Merlin arrives in Alba, the Fates manifest as a bloody, dreadful apparition; they warn him of multiple menaces: "Three are returning who are a threat to you. A fourth is already here and hiding." While waiting for High King Urtha to return from Greek Land, where he was severely wounded, Merlin must retrieve Urtha's sons from Ghostland. Meanwhile, Taurovinda, Urtha's fortress, has been overrun and occupied by Dead and Unborn warriors from Ghostland. Kymon, Urtha's young warrior son, urges an immediate and foolhardy assault to retake the fortress; Urtha's daughter, Munda-she has acquired visionary powers known as the Light of Foresight-sees only bleached bones. And, yes, we've met Arthur, but he doesn't know who he is since he hasn't been born yet. Churning, nightmarish, baffling, rich with mesmerizing detail: amazing but pointless. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

335 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 24% (80)
4 34% (115)
3 33% (110)
2 7% (25)
1 1% (5)
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