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The Hollow Hills (The Arthurian Saga, Book…
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The Hollow Hills (The Arthurian Saga, Book 2) (original 1973; edition 2003)

by Mary Stewart

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2,929291,963 (4.08)110
Member:Booksloth
Title:The Hollow Hills (The Arthurian Saga, Book 2)
Authors:Mary Stewart
Info:Eos (Trade) (2003), Paperback, 475 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction, Historical fiction (WWII and before), Mythology/religion/superstition
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Tags:King Arthur

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The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart (1973)

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English (27)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
An excellent follow up to [b:The Crystal Cave|82192|The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1)|Mary Stewart|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171013330s/82192.jpg|1864677] & beautifully read. It's the same in style & tone, too.

I want to call this 'old school' fantasy. There is no graphic sex, violence, or even any flashy magic, but there is an aura of mystery & pomp that permeates the entire story. There is a hard core of realism tempered by spirituality that defines the world & the magic. The descriptions are lyric, too. A fantastic break from the current style of writing & yet not boring at all. In many ways it reminds me of the Lord of the Rings. Excellent. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Slow starting and seemed to drag a bit through the first two sections, but picks up nicely after that. ( )
  TLMorganfield | Sep 4, 2013 |
Love the whole trilogy. ( )
  Elpaca | Jul 16, 2013 |
This is the second book in Mary Stewart’s Arthurian legend series following The Crystal Cave. Some spoilers may apply.

Arthur is about to be born and Merlin is called on by Igraine and Uther to keep him safe, which he agrees to do until the time is right for the world to know of the new High King who will unite the land of Britain. Keeping a small child safe and well-hidden is not an easy task in a country fighting over land. When the time to reveal Arthur comes, Merlin is left in awe of the gods and Arthur as the new High King.

I love Arthurian legend and I liked The Crystal Cave very much. I’ve read only a few stories told with Merlin as the narrator and that was certainly a reason for picking up the series. However, this second book was extremely slow reading for me. At one point, I considered scrapping it and moving on but decided to keep going. I was rewarded in the end but there were way too many info dumps to get to that point. Stewart takes this story slow telling you everything about Merlin and repeating often told tales more than once. Yes, Merlin is the one telling you these things so he can explain how wrong it is or how valuable the tale is for the ages but, I don’t want all that. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many Arthurian based books that I get bored with the back story sometimes, but I don’t think that was the case here. Frankly, the first part of the book was just boring. Merlin is roaming around making sure no one knows about Arthur but it’s boring with him meandering around. When he finally settles down, and meets Arthur, it does get more interesting.

Also, I wanted more of the magic and there isn’t much of that here. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as I don’t usually want magic in these tales but honestly, I just wanted something, anything other than what I had here. It was slow moving, meandered just as badly as Merlin rambling about the countryside, and was just boring in parts. Yes, I know I already said that but if Merlin can do it, so can I.

Here’s the deal I made with myself about this series. I have the third book in my house. I will read it and if it gets better, I’ll turn to the library for the rest. If it bores more, the series is done but I can say I gave it a good try. My quest to read Arthurian legend has not come to an end and I’m hoping Stewart’s third book makes up for it.

Did you read this? Thoughts? If you liked it, I want to hear why. My opinion is not the last. ( )
  justabookreader | May 13, 2013 |
The book picks up right where the first left off and shows once again that no good deed goes unpunished: Uther is not at all grateful that Merlin has finagled him a way into the bedchamber of Ygraine. Merlin finds himself in disgrace and banished from court.
So now the waiting begins: waiting for Arthur to be born, to grow to a reasonable age. Merlin spends this time far away, and that is one of my favourite sections of the book: travelling across the former Roman empire, collecting the frayed strands of oral and written tradition and finally discovering THE sword, bringing it home to a place where it can wait its turn...
And then there's Arthur's education, preparing a boy for kingdom. It is enchanting and intriguing in turn, and very down-to-earth in parts. It makes for a very satisfying read. ( )
1 vote MissWatson | Apr 22, 2013 |
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Dedication
To the memory of my father
First words
There was a lark singing somewhere high above.
Quotations
To remember love after long sleep; to turn again to poetry after a year in the market place, or to youth after resignation to drowsy and stiffening age; to remember what once you though life could hold, after telling over with muddied and calculating fingers what it has offered; this is music, made after long silence.
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Book description
The Hollow Hills takes place in a fifth-century Britain fraught with superstition and fear, where no life is safe, no law is stable, and where a king risks accusations of murder and adultery to get himself an heir. For his own safety, the boy Arthur, rejected as a bastard by his father, is long kept ignorant of his parentage.
Dangerous rides through the deep forests of england and Wales, sudden battles amidst brooding mountains, and retreats into secret hollows in the hills provide the background for this tale of Arthur's growth in to manhood and his discovery of the strange sword that was to test his claim to power.
Behind and around Arthur always is the mysterious, strong, yet vulnerable figure of Merlin, who sees and knows so much but who, like Arthur, must also suffer for the sake of a nation being born. IN this world of embattled kings and courtiers, hurried journeys, whispered anxieties, and sudden death, we watch Merlin and Arthur follow their common destiny.

Merlin is the narrator, and his prophetic voice communicates not only the bristling atmosphere of the ancient setting but also the profound relevance of this age-old tale to our own time.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060548266, Paperback)

Keeping watch over the young Arthur Pendragon, the prince and prophet Merlin Ambrosius is haunted by dreams of the magical sword Caliburn, which has been hidden for centuries. When Uther Pendragon is killed in battle, the time of destiny is at hand, and Arthur must claim the fabled sword to become the true High King of Britain.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:16 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Spell-binding and powerfully realised portrayal of the young King Arthur from his birth to accession to the throne of Britain..

(summary from another edition)

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