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Passager by Jane Yolen
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Passager (1996)

by Jane Yolen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Young Merlin Trilogy (book 1)

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» See also 4 mentions

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The first of Jane Yolen’s Young Merlin series, this children’s novel is short but Yolen’s writing is beautiful and effective, as one would expect. The book is of Merlin’s childhood as a feral boy in the woods of England, savaging for food and running from packs of wild dogs. However, as he sleeps, he dreams visions of his future, flashes of Arthur, Excalibur, and Nimue. He is eventually adopted by a kind falconer who readjusts him to the world of man.

The falconry references are reminiscent of T. H. White’s own obsessive use of the sport in The Once and Future King. It also reflects that our wizard’s namesake, a “merlin,” is a small hawk, also known as a pigeon hawk (the titular term “passager” refers to a young hawk captured after living its first year wild.)

Yolen’s book also tells of a lesser recounted detail of English history, as many children were abandoned in the woods to perish or fend for themselves, because their parents could not care for them. Merlin is abandoned for more complicated reasons, but it is still a glimpse of the terror that so many children must have had to ordeal.

This is a quick read, but it language and imagery will be sure to stick with you, as well as a believable interpretation of Camelot’s wizard. ( )
1 vote guyalice | Apr 12, 2009 |
Aimed primarily at the 8-12 market there is enough about the books that they will probably appeal to the adult reader as well. The books are extremely slim (around 90 pages a piece) so they are more glimpse into the story than a fully fledged epic. Each an simple sketch into the boy who would become the most famous wizard ever.

If you have an hour or two to spare and enjoy Arthurian tales (or even just a light fantasy) then these could be definitely worth your time!

Read and comment on my full review at:
http://www.bartsbookshelf.co.uk/2008/11/29/the-young-merlin-trilogy-by-jane-yole... ( )
  bart154ce | Nov 29, 2008 |
This is the story of a young boy abandoned in the woods. He survives for a little over a year when a man finds him and brings him home to tame him.
  macfly_17 | Oct 20, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Yolenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leister, BryanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0590370731, Paperback)

Abandoned in the woods of Medieval England, an eight-year-old boy begins a journey of hardship, danger, and magic that will one day make him the most famous wizard of all time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A foundling rediscovers his identity through the help of the falconer who adopts him.

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