The Coming of the King

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The Coming of the King
Author Nikolai Tolstoy
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Books of Merlin
Publisher Guild Publishing
Publication date
1988
Pages 606 p.
ISBN 0553283952

The Coming of the King: The First Book of Merlin is a 1988 historical fantasy novel by Nikolai Tolstoy drawing upon Arthurian legend and more broadly, Celtic and Germanic mythology. The novel is the first in a yet-unfinished trilogy.[1]

Tolstoy is also the author of the 1985 nonfiction The Quest for Merlin, which explores the historical roots of Merlin.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Set in 6th century Europe after Arthur's death,[2][3] the novel retells part of Merlin's life using the Black Book of Carmarthen, Robert de Boron, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and other sources. Elements of the childhood of Taliesin are also used. The novel covers Merlin's life from infancy to adulthood as well as British and Saxon conflicts, climaxing with a battle at Dineirth in Wales.[1]

Historical and legendary figures appearing in the novel include Cynric of Wessex, Maelgun Gwynedd, Beowulf and Taliesin himself. Merlin serves as mentor to Maelgun instead of Arthur as popularized by Thomas Malory and others.[1] The novel also features mythological figures like the gods Woden and Lir as characters.[4]

Sequels[edit]

The second novel in the trilogy, tentatively titled The Thirteen Treasures,[4] is planned to feature Merlin's search for the Thirteen Treasures of Britain and involves him meeting the dead Arthur through shamanism. The third novel is planned to cover Merlin's stay in the Caledonian Forest where he finally dies a "triple death".[1]

As of 1989, Tolstoy stated his work on the succeeding novels was being delayed by a libel case involving alleged British war crimes.[1]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, Raymond. "Interview with Nikolai Tolstoy". Taliesin's Successors: Interviews with Authors of Modern Arthurian Literature. The Camelot Project, University of Rochester. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  2. ^ Lacy, Norris (ed.) (1995). The New Arthurian Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-8153-2303-4. 
  3. ^ Matthews, John (2008). King Arthur: Dark Age Warrior and Mythic Hero. Rosen Publishing. ISBN 1-4042-1364-3. 
  4. ^ a b Tolstoy, Nikolai (1988). The Coming of the King: The First Book of Merlin. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-552-13221-7.