Merlin is almost young, and immortal, one of those born to walk the paths of the world, a man with charm carved into his bones, and enchantment running through his body thicker than blood . . .
And this is a time of heroes, centuries before King Arthur is born, men and women who, though not gods themselves, are something more than mere mortals. For decades, Jason has been immured in his ship Argo in a lake in the far north, alive, but not, still traumatised by the murder of his sons by his enchantress wife Medea . . . until Merlin sees through the veil of enchantment and realises the boys were never killed; it was all a trick.
Through the mists-shrouded isle of Alba to Greek Land, Merlin leads Jason and his Argonauts, some old, some new, on a quest to find the boys, journey filled with heroism and heartbreak, truth and treachery.
In British author Holdstock's dazzling reframing of Arthurian myth and Greek legend, a wandering, youthful Merlin who ages only when he uses his "charm" encounters Jason and joins him on his quest aboard the Argofor the Golden Fleece. Known to Jason as Antiokus, Merlin is present when the enchantress Medea kills Jason's two sons and absconds with the bodies. The Argo slips her moorings and sails off into the night, a broken ship carrying a broken man to their mutual grave. Centuries later, Merlin hears of a screaming ship in a frozen lake. Divining that the screams come from Jason, still yearning for his lost sons, Merlin struggles north, for he has learned that Jason's sons are alive. Using his jealously guarded magic, Merlin raises the Argo and the still living Jason, who gathers new Argonauts Urtha, Ullanna and Niiv to search for his sons. Family and loss are central to this poignant new telling of Merlin's story. And even Merlin, who for so long considered himself a solitary traveler on the pathways of magic, realizes that he's not as alone as he once thought. With this remarkable work, Holdstock, a World Fantasy Award winner for Mythago Wood (1985), more than lives up to his billing as one of the finest living crafters of myth.