Books Magazine

Merlin’s Wood (Mythago Wood #5) by Robert Holdstock

By Pamelascott

In those days Broceliande was a terrible place, an ancient gloomy forest growing over misty dells, forgotten stones, a place of hidden lakes and strangling thickets. Though the true heart of Broceliande could never be found, the stink of its corruption oozed from the edgewood, shedding ghosts like autumn leaves. This was the forest of legend, where Merlin had come to dream his magic and the enchantress Vivien had come to beguile that magic from him.

Martin and Rebecca have long since fled the forest, but when they are forced to return years later for their mother's funeral, they are at once ensnared in the forest's net of enchantment, an evil that has held the local villages in a root-strong grip. And when Rebecca gives birth to Daniel, a beautiful child who is deaf, dumb and blind, she finds herself sucked into a twilight world where she can see only strange, mysterious shadows.


[The boy's voice woke Martin from a spirit-haunted sleep] ***

(Gateway, ebook, 30 January 2014, first published 1994), bought from Amazon)



There are two things that annoy me about Merlin's Wood.

The first thing is that I don't understand how this can be considered part of the Mythago Wood series. It's not set in Ryhope Wood. It takes places in a wood in France that's similar to Ryhope but not really. The book seems like it should be part of his Merlin series.

The second thing is that the book is actually a novella, Merlin's Wood and then some stories that already appear in The Bone Forest. A bit of a rip-off. I only read Merlin's Wood because I read the other tales so recently.

As a tale in its own right, I really enjoyed Merlin's Wood. The novella is quite dark and sinister at times, especially concerning what happens to Rebecca and Daniel when he starts to speak and she starts to fade. There are a few heart-breaking moments. I might check out the author's Merlin series as Merlin's Wood intrigued me.

Merlin's Wood is a well-written fantasy novella. I don't feel it really has anything to do with Mythago Wood. Book #6, Gate of Ivory, Gate pf Horn does however and I look forward to returning to Ryhope.

Merlin’s Wood (Mythago Robert Holdstock

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