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The hill below the fortress of Taurovinda, stronghold of Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming alive: the Otherworldly realm of the Shadows of Heroes are claiming the land as their own. But this time their actions are driven by a force that is darker and older than even the oldest among the ghosts. Who or what is raising the Dead? Merlin, a temporary resident in the fortress, must answer that question if this time of kings and lovers is to be saved. Jason's wonderful ship, Argo, has returned, drawn back by her own guilty past, and a dreadful secret that she will reveal only to Merlin. Argo holds the key to the mystery. And Niiv, the bewitching, beautiful Northlands enchantress, is working her way even closer into Merlin's charms.
This is a journey that will take Merlin back in history, and to a fabled island of legend. Love is in the air. But at a price.
In the intriguing if convoluted conclusion to British author Holdstock's Merlin Codex trilogy, the near immortal time travelers Merlin and Jason journey to Alba (England) to prevent Jason's two sons by Medea from usurping the throne in place of the ruler known as the Pendragon (Arthur, of course). Those unfamiliar with the previous two books, Celtika (2003) and The Iron Grail (2004), or ancient Celtic lore may find the choppy narrative hard to follow. On the other hand, there are passages full of high intelligence rendered with the skill fans have come to expect from this World Fantasy Award winning author. Nice touches include a depiction of Jason's sentient ship, Argo, decayed in frame but not in mind, and the adventures of Jason's son Kryptoii in the form of a hunting dog. While not quite up to Holdstock's usual standard, this volume shows he's still one of today's masters of mythic fantasy.