Robert Holdstock

Robert Holdstock was born in Hythe, Kent. He became a full-time writer during 1976 and lived out the rest of his life in North London. He died in hospital at the age of 61, following his collapse with an E. coli infection. His breakthrough novel Mythago Wood was published during 1984. The book marked the beginning of the Ryhope Wood series and is recognized as Holdstock's first major fantasy work. From 2001 to 2007 he produced a trilogy of fantasy novels, the Merlin Codex, consisting of Celtika, The Iron Grail and The Broken Kings.

Robert Holdstock is placed in a quartet of fantasy authors (also including Ursula Le Guin, John Crowley and Marion Zimmer Bradley) renowned for writing fantasy books that come close to J. R. R. Tolkien's work in regards to breadth and depth of imagination.

Robert Holdstock books reviewed


Ryhope Wood series

  • Mythago Wood
    The mystery of Ryhope Wood consumed George Huxley to the point of madness. After his death, his sons take up his life’s work. What they discover goes beyond all conception. For the wood is a place where myths gain flesh and blood, tapping primal fears and desires subdued through the millennia. Where love and beauty haunt your dreams and propel you into the terrifying freedom of insanity.
  • Lavondyss
    Lavondyss - the ultimate realm, the source of all myths. Tallis Keeton journeys into the strange realm of Ryhope Wood. Younger sister of Harry Keeton, Tallis is obsessed with finding him, and learns the way into the otherworld that surrounds the primitive forest and its secrets. Through masks, magic and clues left by her fey grandfather, Tallis eventually comes to Lavondyss itself - a realm unlike anything she could have foreseen...
  • The Bone Forest
    A collection of eight short stories set in a mystical wood features a snow woman, a scientist succumbing to an age-old madness, roaming demons, conjurers working their pagan magic, and more.
  • The Hollowing
    Simon Bradley, a highly imaginative child, brain-damaged after a bizarre attack, vanishes from home and is drawn into the green heart of Ryhope Wood. There his dreams continue to populate the wood with "mythagos", warped, dangerous hero figures, threatening all those who come in search of the boy.
  • Merlin's Wood
    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.
  • Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn
    Steven Huxley's father, George's discovery of the primeval woodland which holds the "mythagos" - figures from myth, legend or dream.
  • Avilion
    At the heart of Ryhope Wood, Steven and the mythago Guiwenneth live in the ruins of a Roman villa close to a haunted fortress from the Iron Age, from which Guiwenneth's myth arose. She is comfortable here, almost tied to the place, and Steven has long since abandoned all thought of returning to his own world. They have animals, protection and crops. They also have two children, a combination of human and mythago. Jack is like his father, an active boy keen to know all about the outer world; Yssobel takes after her mother, even to her long auburn hair. But this idyll cannot last. The hunters who protected Guiwenneth as a child have come to warn her she is in danger. Yssobel is dreaming increasingly of her Uncle Christian, Steven's brother, who disappeared into Lavondyss, and Jack wants to see 'the outer world' more than anything. Events are about to overtake them.

Merlin Codex series

  • Celtika
    Merlin is almost young, and immortal, one of those born to walk the paths of the world, a man with charm carved into his bones, and enchantment running through his body thicker than blood . . . And this is a time of heroes, centuries before King Arthur is born, men and women who, though not gods themselves, are something more than mere mortals. For decades, Jason has been immured in his ship Argo in a lake in the far north, alive, but not, still traumatised by the murder of his sons by his enchantress wife Medea . . . until Merlin sees through the veil of enchantment and realises the boys were never killed; it was all a trick. Through the mists-shrouded isle of Alba to Greek Land, Merlin leads Jason and his Argonauts, some old, some new, on a quest to find the boys, journey filled with heroism and heartbreak, truth and treachery.
  • The Iron Grail
    Merlin is returning to Alba, the future England, with his companions, the crew of the resurrected Argo. Wandering the paths of the world, husbanding his magic to keep himself from aging, Merlin eschews, for the most part, the affairs of men. Few are those he deigns to call 'friend' and fewer those who welcome his friendship - it is not safe to walk for long in the wanderer's strategies. Those who do, both willing and unwilling, must usually pay a price. Caught up in events beyond their ken are characters destined to become the very stuff of legend: the mythic champion Jason; Urtha and his vengeful children; the northern sorceress Niiv; and Kinos, Jason's son, whose appearance is both terrible and tragic. And at the centre, moving along his never-ending path, is Merlin himself, an enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past - a past that is catching up with him.
  • The Broken Kings
    The hill below the fortress of Taurovinda, stronghold of Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming alive: the Otherworldly realm of the Shadows of Heroes are claiming the land as their own. But this time their actions are driven by a force that is darker and older than even the oldest among the ghosts. Who or what is raising the Dead? Merlin, a temporary resident in the fortress, must answer that question if this time of kings and lovers is to be saved. Jason's wonderful ship, Argo, has returned, drawn back by her own guilty past, and a dreadful secret that she will reveal only to Merlin. Argo holds the key to the mystery. And Niiv, the bewitching, beautiful Northlands enchantress, is working her way even closer into Merlin's charms. This is a journey that will take Merlin back in history, and to a fabled island of legend. Love is in the air. But at a price. In this third volume of the Merlin Codex, Robert Holdstock weaves myth and history into a fabulous tale of honour, vengeance and magic. At its centre, moving along his never-ending path, is Merlin himself, an enchanter in the prime of his life, feckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past - and a man about find a true and honourable use for his talents.


  • Eye Among the Blind
  • Earthwind
  • Necromancer
  • Where Time Winds Blow
  • In the Valley of the Statues (short story collection)
  • The Emerald Forest
  • The Fetch
  • Ancient Echoes
  • The Dark Wheel

Critical acclaim