Monday, March 08, 2010

Merlin's Harp

Merlin's Harp Anne Eliot Crompton

Welcome to the latest stop on the Merlin's Harp blog tour.

As you can probably tell to the title, this is a book about Arthur. It's also a re-release of a book that first came out in the mid-90s.

Nivienne is Fey, the daughter of the Lady of the Lake. She grows up on Apple Island, in an abandoned Roman villa, listening to Merlin's songs, one of the only Fey to have an idea of the world beyond their forest. You might know her name as Vivienne, her home as Avalon.

Legends unfold around her and many facets of the Arthur tale get folded in, while still being a different take on most of them. In the end, it's up to Nivienne and Merlin to try and keep Arthur's peace, even though we know they will ultimately fail.

I really liked this one.

First off, I liked it so much more than I liked Damosel which is similar in its premise.

I especially liked Nivienne's inner conflict between learned Human feelings and ideas and her Fey-ness. She develops feelings and affection for other characters and doesn't understand why. The Fey are supposed to be disconnected and unfeeling (there is a lot of faeries kidnapping Humans for their own pleasure, which often has dire consequences for the Arthur story). There is also a lot exploration between the world of the Fey (which Crompton keeps fairly British-traditional) and the Human. I appreciated the explanation of why the Fey got involved in the Arthur story, which I think is important when going with the traditional detached world of faerie.

Even more, it's a story of a world on the brink of change. The Church has come to Britain, and the role and world of the Fey is changing because of it. It's a side issue, but one that's really interesting and I'd love to see more work explore such things.

I also just loved the language. It's a voice and pattern and rhythm that will not work for everyone. I know that, but it's one that I really get into. You can read the first chapter here.

Two nights more, and the moon would flower. Drums would thrum, pipes sing. From the deepest, farthest fores shadows the Fey would gather in glades like this to dance, cavort, feast and love. Silent folk who carefully did not cross paths all month would meet that night as friends and lovers. And I had meant with them, this time.

Book Provided by... the publisher, for blog tour review

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