Jack Whyte continues his long, thoughtful exploration of one of our most resonant myths, the legend of Camelot. The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis
is the sixth book in his Camulod Chronicles, and it takes up the story just as Arthur makes the transition from boy to man. Whyte's focus, however, is on Caius Merlyn Britannicus. Merlyn, descended from Britain's Roman rulers, is one of the co-rulers of Camulod, a stronghold of civilization under perpetual threat from invading Saxons and Danes. Merlyn leads an eventful yet happy life: he has a loving fiancjée, Tressa; a fine ward, Arthur; a magnificent black horse, Germanicus; many allies; and grand plans for Camulod's expansion and Britain's safety. Merlyn's reflections on one campaign sum up his easy victories throughout the first half of the book: "It was slaughter--nothing less. One pass we made, from west to east, and scarce a living man was left to face us."
But even the mightiest ship must one day be tested on the shoals. The suspense gains momentum when Whyte breaks Merlyn free of his brooding, reactive role and propels him and his companions into danger. In despair, Merlyn takes a new, subtler tack against his archenemies Ironhair and Carthac ("And then I truly saw the size of him. He towered over everyone about him, hulking and huge, his shoulders leviathan and his great, deep, hairless chest unarmoured").
Whyte shines at interpreting the mythos of Camelot in a surprising yet believable way. He can squeeze a sword out of a stone without opting for the glib explanations of fantasy-land magic. The Camulod Chronicles, and The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis in particular, provide an engaging take on the chivalric world of knights and High Kings. --Blaise Selby
From Library Journal
As the forces of Peter Ironhair threaten the land of Camulod, Merlyn Britannicus realizes that the time has come for his ward, Arthur Pendragon, to claim the skystone sword Excalibur and take his rightful place as High King of Britain. The latest volume of Whyte's epic retelling of the Arthurian cycle marks the end of Arthur's childhood training and the beginning of the legend that surrounds his career. Whyte firmly grounds his tale in historical detail, personal drama, and political intrigue, combining realism and wonder in a fortuitous blend. Compellingly told, this addition to Arthurian-based fiction belongs in most libraries.
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