Review by Lynda La Rocca
Books – January 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine
Some Personal Favorites
by Lynda La Rocca
I escape from reality through books chronicling the magical, the fantastical, the larger-than-life, the wonderful. In my imagination, I blissfully dwell “in days of old when knights were bold.” I am a member of King Arthur’s Round Table, striving to save Britain from the encroaching barbarian darkness, glimpsing the mysterious Holy Grail in the blue depths of flickering flames.
That’s why I’ve been re-reading the books of The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen R. Lawhead. Taliesin, Merlin and Arthur, written in the late 1980s, are peopled by finely drawn, gloriously human characters engaged in vivid encounters with good and evil, triumph and despair.
The trilogy begins with the tale of the Druid bard Taliesin, whose wife, Charis, is a princess of the lost world of Atlantis. It is their son, the great warrior-prophet Merlin, who takes a bastard child as his protégé and raises up Arthur Pendragon, Lord of the all-too-fleeting Kingdom of Summer.
Sprinkled throughout are truths well worth remembering, like this from the pages of Merlin: “Unreasonable men are ever unreasonable, and only become more so when threatened. Truth always threatens the false-hearted.”
Or this passage from Arthur, spoken by the wise Myrddin (Merlin) Emrys, Chief Bard of the Island of the Mighty: “To see evil and call it good mocks God. Worse, it makes goodness meaningless. A word without meaning is an abomination, for when the word passes beyond understanding, the very thing the word stands for passes out of the world and cannot be recalled.”
In whatever dimension he now dwells, Merlin is undoubtedly pleased that the meaning of some words remains inviolate. Among these are, “Wishing you and all you hold dear the happiest of holiday seasons and a joyous new year!”