At the dawn of his reign, a young king must prove his greatness . . . or forfeit a realmArthur is King-but darkest evil has descended upon Britain's shores in many guises. In this black time of plague and pestilence, Arthur's most trusted counselor Myrddin-the warrior, bard, and kingmaker whom legend will name Merlin-is himself to be tested on a mystical journey through his own extraordinary past. So the noble king must stand alone against a great and terrible adversary. For only thus can he truly win immortality-and the name he will treasure above all others: Pendragon.
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December 08, 2003
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Excerpt from Pendragon by Stephen R. Lawhead
THEY SAY MERLIN IS A MAGICIAN, an enchanter, a druid of dark lore. If I were and if I were, I would conjure better men than rule this island now! I would bring back those whose very names are charms of power: Cai, Bedwyr, Pelleas, Gwalchavad, Llenlleawg, Gwalcmai, Bors, Rhys, Cador, and others: Gwenhwyvar, Charis, Ygerna. Men and women who made this sea-girt rock the Island of the Mighty.
I need no Seeing Bowl, no black oak water, or fiery embers by which to perceive them. They are ever with me. They are not dead -- they only sleep. Hear me! I have but to speak their names aloud and they will awake and arise. Great Light, how long must I wait?
I climb the green hills of the Glass Isle alone, and I wear a different name. Oh, I have so many names: Myrddin Emrys among the Cymry, and Merlin Embries to those in the south; I am Merlinus Ambrosius to the Latin speakers: Merlin the Immortal. I am Ken-ti-Gern to the small, dark Hill Folk of the empty north. But the name I wear now is a name of my own choosing, a simple name, of no consequence to anyone. Thus I guard and protect my power. That is as it should be. One day those who sleep will awaken, and those who guard their slumbers will be revealed. And on that day, the Pendragon will reclaim his long-abandoned throne. So be it!
Oh, I am impatient! It is the curse of my kind. But time will not be hurried. I must content myself with the work given to me: keeping Arthur's sovereignty alive until he returns to take it up once more. Believe me, in this day of fools and thieves that is no easy task.
Not that it ever was. From the very beginning, it took my every skill to preserve the Sovereignty of Britain for the one whose hand was made to hold it. Indeed, in those early years it was no small chore to preserve that small hand as well. The petty kings would have roasted the lad alive and served him up on a platter if they had known.
Why? Well you may ask, for the thing has become muddled with time. Hear me then, if you would know: Arthur was Aurelius' son, and Uther's nephew; his mother, Ygerna, was queen to both men. And while Britain had not yet succumbed to the practice of passing kingship father-to-son, like the Saecsenkind, more and more men had begun to choose their lords from the kin of previous kings, be they sons or nephews -- all the more if that lord were well liked, fortunate in his dealings, and favored in battle. Thus, Aurelius and Uther, between them, had bestowed a prodigious legacy on the babe. For never was a sovereign better loved than Aurelius, and never one more battle-lucky than Uther.
So Arthur, yet a babe in arms, required protection from the power-mad dogs who would see in him a threat to their ambitions. I did not know Arthur would be Pendragon then. The way men tell it, I knew from the beginning. But no; I did not fully appreciate what had been given me. Men seldom do, I find. My own deeds and doings occupied me more than his small life, and that is the way of it.