June 5, 2012

The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart

Title:  The Hollow Hills
Author:  Mary Stewart
Format: PB
Pages:  436
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Fawcett Crest, 1974
ISBN-13:     978-0449020890
Series: Merlin, Book 2 

Favorite Quote:  It had come by water and by land and lay waiting now for this, to bring Arthur his kingdom, and keep and hold it, and afterwards go from men's sight for ever....

Synopsis (PBS):  A novel that recreates the suspense and excitement of an ancient legend--how Merlin, the enchanter, helped Arthur become king of all Britain. — Once again, as she did in her international best seller The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart uses Arthurian legend to tell a spellbinding story. — 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 forest 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 into 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 see 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.

Review:  Oh, so good.  I am thoroughly loving this series.  Merlin and Arthur are wonderful.  Uther is a flawed but genuinely good King.  This retelling of the finding of the sword in the stone is original and believable.  I just loved it.

Rating:  10 / 10

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