Merlin's Wood by Robert Holdstock
In the depths of Broceliande - an ancient French woodland - Merlin and the enchantress Vivien play out their deadly feud. Meanwhile, a child is born deaf, dumb and blind. His senses return at the expense of his mother's, who must discover the wood's mystery and set the combatants free.
I initially picked up this book as it seemed that it was part of the Mythago Wood Cycle but the book turned out to be a standalone story that is a set in a different wood in another country. Maybe it was added as part of the cycle because of the short stories that can be found at the end of the version I read… In Merlin's Wood there are a few similarities, with the wildwoods and heartwood, but the actual story is fundamentally different in nature as this wood seems to be enchanted by Merlin, hence the title.
The book itself focuses on two characters; Martin and Rebecca, who grew up together in the village on the border of the forest. I found the book hard to date in terms of history as the technology described changes quite rapidly from when the book starts, where you feel it could be set in the 40’s/50’s, which would be dated at around the same period as the Mythago Wood books.
Like Ryhope wood, the village in France seems to be aware that they live in an enchanted place and keep quite a few old customs that are not always relatable to a Christian religion, being slightly pagan in nature. For all of this context the book has an interesting concept and Robert Holdstock has mixed his story with the legend of Merlin, or at least Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. He has built upon this older tale and wrapped it into his own story so well that you cannot wait for the outcome, although it is a rather abrupt ending.
As mentioned before, the version of the book I read also contains four short stories, three of these can be found in the short story collection The Bone Forest which I have already reviewed for this website. The one new story here is called Earth and Stone and concerns a man who has travelled back in time to look at how the tumulus were built and discovers more than he bargained for, with the help of the mysterious boy Tig.
This Merlin's Wood book review was written by Michelle Herbert
Have you read Merlin's Wood?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Merlin's Wood reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Catherynne M Valente
Sei, November, Ludov, and Oleg -- four people unknown to each other but united by grief and their obsession with the city of Palimpsest. Located beyond the human realm, Pal...
When Grendel is drawn up from the caves under the mere, where he lives with his bloated, inarticulate hag of a mother, into the fresh night air, it is to lay waste Hrothgar...
On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it ...
The Rabbit Back Literature Society
Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a te...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Silmarillion provides the background to Middle-earth, the setting of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. It is an account of the Elder Days; the First Age when Morgot...
Maria and the Devil
The Devil has ridden out. Montana’s most feared outlaw has left his secret lover, Maria, alone in their secluded house deep in the wilds. If he had known that she was...
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family's mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything ...
The House of the Stag
It begins with a tragedy. Before the Riders came to their remote valley, the Yendri led a tranquil pastoral life. When the Riders conquered and enslaved them, only a few es...
Charm is a beautifully illustrated re-telling of the Cinderella story which takes all the much-loved elements of the classic fairytale (the handsome prince, the fairy godmo...
The Last Quarrel
Gaelland is a nation gripped by fear. In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the ni...
Trojan War Trilogy
Three lives will change the destiny of nations. Helikaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery ...
The Immortals Trilogy
Imagine a place where women dominate, where beauty is both physical and internal and where the imagination is allowed to run wild. Where flowers transport you into another ...
Queen Morgana and the Renfaries
Teel James Glenn
Queen Morgana will not allow free passage between the realms of the Fae and of humans. Because of this, both realms are dying and the only bridge between the worlds is the ...
The Viking King Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring lore, legend and mythology
Best of 2016
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musician,...
Huginn and Muninn, the Eyes of Thought and Mind; Freyr the Blade that stands alone; Mjolnir, Thunder, strength and devastator. Gods bloodied and wounded, that live and die. Ta...
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a fa...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...