Arthur is King by right of drawing the sword Caliburn from the stone. Now he plunges into fierce warfare against the Saxon enemy, fighting to achieve the ‘small miracle’ of unity and independence that Britain alone attained among the dependencies of a crumbling Roman Empire.
Merlin, the King’s adviser whom men call ‘enchanter’, is once again the narrator of Mary Stewart’s third magnificent and haunting novel of Dark Age Britain. He is present at only one of Arthur’s twelve great battles, for his story tells of a different kind of warfare against more subtle and dangerous enemies. Of these the chief is Morgause, rose-gold witch and half-sister to Arthur, whom once she snared incestuously to her bed. She bears a son, Mordred, who will be the most dangerous foe of all. Merlin’s story begins with the desperate and bloody attempt to find and murder the child. It fails, and one by one his other prophecies are realised; in the passion and grief of Arthur’s marriages, in his betrayal by friends and kinfolk, and in Merlin’s own short-lived love.
But this tale of Merlin’s own enchanting is not a tragic one. In the dark ebbtide of his powers he finds that he is not totally deserted by his god. Struggling for resignation, he finds a fulfilment that even he had never dreamed of. His power and bright vision will be there at the King’s service as long as Arthur lives, and, as he believes, long after.
The Last Enchantment is a richly woven story peopled by princes and soldiers, grave-robbers and goldsmiths, innkeepers and peasants and witches, in a finely described landscape where each forest, lake and hill is charged, not only with the natural life of the countryside, but with the twilight spirits of older mythologies, merging into the bright promise of the future, and linked through Merlin in the archetypal themes of a fast, exciting and powerful story. A magnificent novel to put beside Mary Stewart’s best-selling The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills.
Hardcover, 448 pages. In very good condition with the exception of some wear to the dustcover, and some minor colour change to the exterior outside edges of book.