Friday, December 08, 2006

The Hollow Hills

The Hollow Hills : Book Two of the Arthurian Saga (The Arthurian Saga, Book 2)

Mary Stewart

Date: 1973   —   $10.47   —   Book

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Fiction, Fantasy

Stewart continues her Arthurian saga through the eyes of Merlin in this book. This one details the stratagems that Merlin goes to to hide the young Arthur but still have him raised in some manner of nobility, and of the raising of Arthur to kingship at a very young age due to the early death of Uther. (In this version, the kingship passes directly; a reasonable supposition in an age when strength ruled more often than "right".)

This series is engaging for the portrait she paints of Merlin. He is a good storyteller and extremely fond of the young boy king, an affection that is returned. The tales of Arthur's Companions are told at one remove, which is probably just as well, as Stewart herself explains that the Round Table (in this version, a round room) was the medieval equivalent of a soap opera setting— here's the characters, now hang a story on them. Most of the popular Round Table stories are grafts, and when attempting to imbue the time with a sense of realism (well, with a bit of Merlin's magic thrown in), one has to be careful about which stories one employs.

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