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text 2016-11-20 16:54
Reading progress update: I've read 340 out of 928 pages.
Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart
The Hollow Hills - Mary Stewart


(Page numbers are for the omnibus edition.)


Well, I finished The Crystal Cave (a while ago in fact) and have now moved on to The Hollow Hills, which picks up right where the first book of the trilogy ends.  Merlin is still rather unlike the wise old wizard as whom I'd so far seen him and is becoming ever closer to what I'd so far imagined young Arthur to have been ... but I'm still enjoying the read as such.


For those who care, I thought I'd share a couple of photos from the location of the final chapters of The Crystal Cave and the first chapters of The Hollow Hills, Tintagel, where legend has it that King Arthur was conceived ... or, well, photos of what's left of the Tintagel castle ruins (which incidentally date from the 12th, not from the 6th century), as well as the paths that Merlin and Uther would have had to climb, first down to the beach and then back up along the face of the cliff, to get to the castle high up on the promontory:


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review 2016-02-27 20:54
Daughter of Tintagel - Fay Sampson

This is a collection of Simpson’s five book series about Morgan le Fay, and each book is told from a different viewpoint.  The narrators in book order are: a nurse of the young Morgan, a nun who is assigned to care for Morgan, a blacksmith who joins Morgan’s court, the bard Taliesin (yes, that one), and, finally, Morgan herself.


                The book (and series) is part historical fiction, and in many ways a look at how people use narrative.


                In each of the first four books, Morgan is seen in different ways.  There are certain views that are held in common, but there are major differences in how they view Morgan.  Importantly, as with all the best viewpoint stories, the narrators reveal far more about themselves then they intend to.


                At times, considering how the action takes place outside the settings of the main Arthur action, the story at time can get frustrating, but there does seem to be something else that is happening.


In part, Sampson is looking at the source of stories – not truth – but stories.  This is drawn throughout much of this collected edition, but is most strongly evident in the last book of the sequence, “She” – the one book told by Morgan herself. 


                When you think about it, many stories are about press.  Each generation, each writer even, has a reason to tell a well known story a certain way.  It is no surprise that the novels most sympathetic to Morgan and her sisters were written largely after the rise of the feminist movement.  In part, Sampson’s book is an acknowledgement that in terms of legends, truth is almost impossible to discover, and the more interesting thing is how stories develop and change.

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