Sneak Peek: Merlin – “The Crystal Cave”

Hi there…

The beauty of Merlin as a series is that it has an amazing chance to reinvent some of the great stories involving Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the rest of the figures of Camelot. One of those plotlines I’ve been waiting to see is about the Crystal Cave.

Merlin as a wizard has always captured my attention – back to the early 1980s when I started playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and really started tearing through piles of fantasy and science fiction novels at the library. While in that particular spell of reading, I came across Mary Stewart‘s The Crystal Cave, which was the first in a series she wrote about Merlin and Camelot. Though I don’t recall much about the series, the concept of Merlin trapped in such a cave stuck with me.

Based on the classical stories of Merlin, as Camelot begins to fall, he becomes enraptured by Nimue, who doesn’t really want the attention. On their way back to Camelot, they stop for the night in a cave where Nimue lays a trap from which he cannot escape. And he eventually dies there.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the Valley of Fallen Kings with Arthur & Merlin… What secrets does the valley hold and what’s in the cave?

In the next all-new episode of Merlin, Arthur leads Merlin through the Valley of the Fallen Kings in order to find a hide-away. Arthur claims they will never be followed in after Merlin prods about whether or not the valley is cursed. Arthur’s response doesn’t sit well with Merlin and they are quickly trying to lead their pursuers off their trail once again. Watch the clip to find out if Arthur and Merlin can dodge a battle and tune in Friday at 10/9c on Syfy.

–Fitz

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Book Review: Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn

Hey there…

There’s nothing like the feeling I get when I discover a new writer. It’s like opening a door to a brave new world. Sometimes I have to admit I don’t like what I find on the other side. But then there are those rare moments when I get there and don’t want to leave. Discord’s Apple from Carrie Vaughn drew me in from the opening chapter and didn’t let me go until I finished the book just a few hours later.

This is the story of Evie Walker, a successful comic book writer from Los Angeles, and her trip home to Hope’s Fort, Colorado, to help her father Frank face his own mortality. It’s also the story of Alex, a stranger who has truly seen it all who is looking for something he can’t seem to find. Together, Evie, Frank, and Alex face new challenges as the mysteries around them deepen and things really hit the fan.

Let me start by saying that, though I love Colorado authors, I’d never read anything by Vaughn. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, which is only a couple of hours away from me in Colorado Springs. And evidently she’s been writing about a werewolf named Kitty for a while now in a series of urban fantasy novels – the latest of which is called Kitty Goes to War. So how have I managed to miss her?

Discord’s Apple was paced amazingly well. From the subtle beginnings of Evie’s drive into the tiny town of Hope’s Fort to the way she slides characters from myth and legend into play alongside the heroes of the comic book Eagle Eye Commandos, the plot builds and beckons the reader ever forward and back from present to past and back again.

But not since reading Dan Simmons‘ books Illium and Olympos, which managed to weave the Trojan War and Greek gods together with a far flung science fiction, have I seen those stories made relevant. Vaugn masterfully tangles the tale of Sinon, the liar who encouraged Troy to open its gates, with a different spin on the Greek gods that grants Sinon the curse of immortality.

Somehow she also manages to mix in the tales of Longinus, Arthur, and the glass slippers of Cinderella while bringing in elements of the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where a nameless government employee stashed the Ark of the Covenant. Add to that a sprinkle of a world where the balance of power has tipped enough to make everyone paranoid…

However, at no time in the novel did I feel that any of these elements was ever out of control. Somehow she tames these tornadoes, each of which has their own Oz attached, and pulls them into a coherent tapestry of plot, character, and story. I don’t know how she did it. I only know that I really enjoyed it and want to know what happens next!

So if you’re looking for a book for summer reading, be sure to add Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn to your list. It’s a fun ride. Now I have to go back and see what all the fuss is about this werewolf named Kitty…

For more information about Vaughn, be sure to check out her website at CarrieVaugn.com and look for her books published by TOR/FORGE!

This review first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other Carrie Vaughn books below!

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Merlin Season 2 Trailer!

Hi all!

Though the first season of Merlin that aired on NBC last year was a bit uneven in spots, everyone at my family looked forward to seeing what trouble young Merlin, Arthur, Gwen, and Morgana would get into in Camelot. The chemistry between characters, action, and story lines were enough to keep us all intrigued.

Well, according to Geeks of Doom, Merlin will be back on April 2 for Season 2! Yay!

They’ve posted the trailer for season 2 and I’ll embed it below:

Take a look at the post on Geeks of Doom for more details on the season 1 marathon that happens this weekend as well!

–Fitz

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