Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merlin's Shadow, December 2013 CSFF Blog Tour

Merlin’s Shadow, Book II in the Merlin’s Spiral Series
Blink, 2013
by Robert Treskillard

[December 2013, Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour]

Merlin’s Shadow continues the tale that began in Merlin’s Blade. It recounts the flight of Merlin and a small band pledged to the safety of young Arthur, the rightful heir to the throne of the high king of Briton. Vortigern, a battle chief and grandson of the former high king Vitalinus Gloui, kills Uther, the father of Arthur and high king of Briton. Vortigern, coveting the throne, seeks to destroy all who might challenge his claim. His chief concern is to destroy the child Arthur and those who would protect him. Hence, devoted to Arthur’s protection, Merlin, Natalenya, Colvarth, and Garth steal him away from Vortigern’s evil plans.

Colvarth is a former druid converted to Christianity and once bard of King Uther. Garth is a mischievous orphan who also has some seafaring experience. Natalenya has agreed to marry Merlin, her love. Merlin, horribly scarred in countenance and recently healed from blindness has become aware of his hideous appearance and shrinks back from Natalenya to spare her from his repulsive looks. Natalenya does not care about the scars and is confused and hurt by Merlin’s apparent change of heart. To make matters worse, she has become ill. Her condition worsens as boils gradually cover her body.

Caygek joins the party early on to flee Vortigern, though his loyalties are to himself alone. He is a fili druid, which is a sect of druids who do not offer human sacrifices. As the journey unfolds, the band encounters dangers left and right. There are internal struggles as well as Caygek, suspicious of Christians, is not overly concerned for the safety of Author.

Concurrently, there is the plotting of Morganthu to destroy Merlin and Arthur. Morganthu is an arch Druid, a magician and practitioner of human sacrifice. He uses the magic of an orb to bring about dangerous conditions that threaten to destroy Merlin’s party. Ganieda, the half-sister of Merlin and granddaughter of Morganthu also possesses latent magical abilities and likewise seeks the death of the fleeing band. She is enticed by the Voice which promises her riches and the restoration of her mother who died of an infection caused, in Ganieda’s mind, by Merlin.

The greatest appeal of Merlin’s Shadow is the continual movement between hope and despair in which there are moments so dark one wonders how it could get worse. The story dwells at length on their capture by Picts and the ensuing horrendous treatment at their hand. At one point, they escape and it looks like they will make it free, but they fail and their lot becomes ever grimmer. After a long period of abject drudgery, their condition improves in an unexpected twist which resolves into a sense of well-being for both captor and captive. But this breaks down and and the enduring band is carried forward through yet another unexpected but credible turn.

The tale is precisely the kind one would expect for a saga of this type. It leaves no mistake about who the true God is and the significance of the blood of Christ.  The writing is suitable for a young readership who should enjoy it, especially if the Arthurian genre is what they are looking for. 

Other reviews of Merlin's Shadow for the December 2013 CSFF Blog Tour are here.

Robert Treskillard's Blog

Thanks to Blink for kindly providing a copy of Merlin’s Shadow for review on the December, 2013 Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour.


  1. I thought that was a very good retelling of the key points of the book, I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Thanks for the review, Thomas! Did you have a favorite scene from the novel, or any scene you thought needed more work?

    1. Robert, I can't respond at this time but will later.

    2. Robert, I will post to you via a facebook message.

  3. Nice review. I like your point of constantly moving between hope and despair. Well-fitting!

  4. Great post! Definitely agree on the book moving continuously from despair to hope:)

  5. Like your review and I agree that this is a book younger readers would enjoy.