Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard Genre: Fantasy/History Publisher: Blink Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Merlin is a young man who has spent his life around the hot fires of the forge. After a confrontation with wolves at a young age left him nearly blind, it’s one of the only places Merlin is welcome and able to truly feel at home. Even his step-mother and his sister don’t offer him much in the way of comfort or friendship in his life.
When his step-mother’s family comes to town, they bring a strange stone that carries much mystery and intrigue with it. Glowing with an odd supernatural presence, this stone has a draw for everyone who comes anywhere near it. Townsfolk, young and old alike, are all attracted to whatever it is that this stone has to offer. Everyone but Merlin. He senses, and rightly so, that there is an evil presence about the stone.
And thus begins an incredible story of magic, mystery and something not usually associated with Arthurian legend, God. Treskillard infuses fresh life into this ancient tale while, at the same time, preserving tradition and honor. I grew up loving the stories of Arthur, his knights, and his bride. The characters feel like friends to me now. So I approached this with no small amount of hesitation. I don’t want someone modernizing ‘my’ story or messing with beloved characters. Thankfully, Treskillard appears to have loved them as much as I do.
One of the interesting things that I found as I was reading was how good this story was outside of the Arthur legend. It can be read as a standalone series of its own and the plotline, characters and twists all remain just as interesting – if not more. I would be reading along and suddenly shake myself out of it and realize I wasn’t in Arthur’s world as much as I was Treskillard’s. Some readers might finding jarring but I loved it. If you pick up this book and hope to read ‘just another Arthur story’ you won’t find it. This one is new, fresh, exciting, and had me completely hooked.