One would naturally assume that a series called Merlin’s Immortals would be a straight-up, magic-and-swords fantasy series. But one would naturally be wrong.
In Merlin’s Immortals, Sigmund Brouwer slowly lifts the veil on two secret circles, long at war with each other – the Druids, and Merlin’s Immortals. You would think that Druids – those terrible pagan priests, with their terrible pagan rites – would show the darkest kind of magic. They were usually – in that period between the rise of Christianity in the west and its decline – portrayed as sorcerers.
But in this series, their tricks are simply science acutely applied, though confessedly with devilish purposes. I can’t remember any instance of magic in any of the three books I read. The story is also firmly rooted in our own world and even our own history; the precise year is given. The medieval setting – so cherished in fantasy – is a thoroughly historical setting here.
Still, there are two distinct ways in which Merlin’s Immortals lays claim to the title speculative fiction. In the first, it plays at the fringes of Arthurian legends; second, in putting forth the continuing existence of the Druids and their secret war well into the fourteenth century, Brouwer writes an alternative history of England.
Perhaps the use of the Arthurian legends merits the fantasy label. But whatever else these books are, they are probably not the fantasy novels you were expecting.
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Emma or Audrey Engel
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller