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Monday, March 10, 2014

Just Downloaded - Mary Stewart's Arthuriad!

I found on iBooks a four volume set of all of her Arthurian - okay, Merlin - books. Well, three of them were about Merlin, the fourth about Medraut, but it's the same universe. Anyway, the four volumes are under one cover, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment and The Wicked Day. Very good value for $7.99, eh? And a light two megabyte download.

I have always loved the first two best, but the last two are quite readable and I like what she does with the story. She has used Geoffrey of Monmouth as a source, while T.H White used Malory. So it's not quite Rosemary Sutcliff, but it does have a sort-of-fifth-century/sort-of-mediaeval flavour. You just have to read it, I can't quite explain. There's just a touch of fantasy in it, otherwise it could almost be historical fiction. I like that - a minimum of fantasy. Parke Godwin is another writer who did that, which is why I enjoyed his books.

The last book presents a rather sympathetic Medraut, who doesn't want to harm his father, but things just don't work out the way either of them wants. The author's note written at the time said that the source she had used spoke of a battle in which Arthur and Medraut died, but could have meant that they fought side by side. She was kicking herself, but had already established that there would be a tragic ending to what young Arthur had done in all innocence, so had to proceed that way.

I've sold a bit of short Arthurian fiction myself, including a story you'll find in my ebook of ASIM stories(please feel free to download it from this website!) and I have to confess that Mary Stewart was my inspiration - not plagiarism, I just liked her theories. My story Choices is seen from the viewpoint of my own version of Nimue.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it!

Any other Stewart fans reading this?

4 comments:

Terry Morris said...

Loved those books. First read copies of an aunt's, who said she usually liked her history done properly but liked these books anyway.

Am reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel at the moment & am at a point where the Tudors claim descent from Arthur & therefore have a claim to the throne. Of course, if Arthur didn't exist ...

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, that's about typical of the Tudors. It's the Welsh thing, and of course, the fact that they had a faint trace of English royal blood didn't matter at all, except they thought it entitled them to murder Richard III and take over. Wanted it both ways, Henry Skinflint did. There was an obsession with Arthur, of course. They made a Round Table and Henry made sure his son was born at Winchester, then thought to be Camelot, and called him Arthur. Makes me wonder what would have happened if Arthur had survived to rule England.

Terry Morris said...

Would he have been Arthur I or II?

Sue Bursztynski said...

Knowing Henry, probably Arthur II.