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The Crystal Cave (1970)

by Mary Stewart

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Arthurian Merlin Saga (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,122861,523 (4.05)2 / 338
Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys -- or as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon ... and the conception of Arthur -- king for once and always.… (more)
  1. 40
    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (LiddyGally)
    LiddyGally: Both "autobiograhical" accounts of the life of a man with powers of a magical kind, told from boyhood to manhood. Compelling writing makes for a great read and memorable story!
  2. 30
    Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson (myshelves)
    myshelves: Tennyson's classic rendering of the Arthurian legends in verse.
  3. 30
    Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott (Kasthu)
  4. 20
    Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff (Anonymous user)
  5. 64
    The Once and Future King by T. H. White (myshelves)
    myshelves: Basis for the play/movie Camelot.
  6. 10
    Storyteller by G. R. Grove (Rowntree)
    Rowntree: Adventures in Britain a generation after King Arthur.
  7. 10
    L'ultima Legione by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (Bookshop_Lady)
    Bookshop_Lady: Mary Stuart ties the Arthur legend to Rome through Ambrosius and his brother Uther. Valerio Massimo takes a slightly different turn to the story: The Last Legion is the story of the last Roman emperor, who fled to England searching for the last legion of Roman soldiers, hoping they would still be loyal to him. This last emperor, a youth of about 13 when he attains the throne, will grow up to become Uther Pendragon. Fan's of Mary Stuart's trilogy will appreciate Massimo's interpretation of the Arthur legend.… (more)
  8. 10
    A Traveller's Guide to the Kingdoms of Arthur by Neil Fairbairn (myshelves)
    myshelves: Non-fiction guide to traditional Authurian sites.
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English (84)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Another book from my Arthurian fiction kick; I don't remember being particularly impressed by it. However, I ended up liking Stewart's writing, which in turn spawned a Mary Stewart/gothic fiction kick. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
A lot of the book dealt with who was battling who and where although thankfully not with much blood and gore like today's books. Nice description of scenery also. Dealt with Merlin growing up and learning he has the gift of sight. Definitely not the magical style, in fact Merlin denies repeatedly that he can do magic. Story seemed to move along slowly. Created Merlin more as a human with the ability to understand people. Glad how his real father eventually treated him which was surprising given that his mother never wanted to tell who he was. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
The writing was really good and I was SOOOOO glad this wasn't just another novel about a guy pulling a sword out of a stone and searching for a grail. Instead you get "the prequel", which I thought was cool and well done. I don't plan on reading the rest of the series because that I'm SURE, WILL be about a guy pulling a sword from a stone and I've read a couple of those, but I'm glad I read this. ( )
  ragwaine | Nov 25, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this novel, and will look for the other books in the series. The character of Merlin was written well, as a person who *thinks* in a time when thinking seriously about a problem... may be considered a special gift.

I thought it was well written, exciting, fun, and paced so that it felt like an adventure the whole time. ( )
  ZanaDont | Nov 5, 2020 |
Another reread of a long-time favorite, that unfortunately didn’t stand up so well this time around. The central storyline of this first part of Stewart’s Arthurian cycle focuses on Merlin’s youth and growth to power and is engaging enough. But I don’t recall the first third being as ponderous as I found it this time. This time around I also found some of Stewart’s storytelling choices jarring and the language anachronistic at times. ( )
1 vote gothamajp | Aug 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Eerste deel van een trilogie over het leven van de legendarische tovenaar en helderziende Merlijn. Hij leefde in het Brittannië van de vijfde eeuw en was in zijn latere leven de opvoeder en raadgever van de grote koning Arthur. Dit eerste deel omvat het verhaal over zijn geboorte en eerste levensjaren, doorgebracht aan het hof van zijn grootvader, de koning van Zuid-Wales. Verder: de ontdekking van de glazen grot en zijn opleiding bij de ziener Galapas. Het boek eindigt met de geboorte van koning Arthur. Een boeiend verhaal over deze magiër; door haar levende verbeelding en vlotte schrijftrant weet de schrijfster de lezer van begin tot eind te boeien. Wordt vervolgd door: "De holle heuvels". Normale druk, volle bladspiegel.
(Biblion recensie, J. v. Leeuwen-v.d. Tempel.)
added by karnoefel | editNBD/Biblion (via BOL.com)
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Stewartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
O Merlin in your crystal cave
Deep in the diamond of the day,
Will there ever be a singer
Whose music will smooth away
The Furrow drawn by Adam's finger
Across the meadow and the wave?
Or a runner who'll outrun
Man's long shadow driving on,
Burst through the gates of history,
And hang the apple on the tree?
Will your sorcery ever show
The sleeping bride shut in her bower,
The day wreathed in its mound of snow,
And Time locked in his tower?
----Edwin Muir
Dedication
To the Memory
of Mollie Craig
with my love
First words
PROLOGUE: The Prince of Darkness

I am an old man now, but then I was really past my prime when Arthur was crowned King.
BOOK I: The Dove

The day my uncle Camlach came home, I was just six years old.
BOOK II: The Falcon

The first I knew of our coming to shore was being roused, still heavy with that exhausted sleep, by voices talking over me.
BOOK III: The Wolf

I was five years with Ambrosius in Brittany.
BOOK IV: The Red Dragon

The way the chronicles tell it, you would think it took Ambrosius two months to get himself crowned King and pacify Britain.
Quotations
"Mithras, Apollo, Arthur, Christ -- call him what you will," I said. "What does it matter what men call the light? It is the same light, and men must live by it or die. I only know that God is the source of all the light which has lit the world, and that his purpose runs through the world and past each one of us like a great river, and we cannot check or turn it, but can only drink from it while living, and commit our bodies to it when we die." -- Merlin
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys -- or as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon ... and the conception of Arthur -- king for once and always.

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Book description
WHO WAS MERLIN?

Was the famed magician of Camelot and King Arthur's court really a sinister, all-powerful being from another world? Was he truly a Prince of Darkness? Or was he a man with the passions of other mortals? A man with unique intelligence and unusual gifts? Why was he so feared? How did he come by his occult powers? Why was the crystal cave so important to him?

Fifth century Britain is a country of chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal. Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess who will not reveal to her son his father's true identity, Myridden Emrys -- or as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents and visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon ... and the conception of Arthur -- king for once and always.
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