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The Iron Grail

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After long travels, Merlin has returned to Alba, the future England. Likewise, Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home as well. And Jason is sailing in on the Argo, to seek his son who hides somewhere in the kingdom. But Urtha's stronghold has been taken by warriors from Ghostland. They claim it as their own. Now there will be war--against the Otherworld. In this s After long travels, Merlin has returned to Alba, the future England. Likewise, Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home as well. And Jason is sailing in on the Argo, to seek his son who hides somewhere in the kingdom. But Urtha's stronghold has been taken by warriors from Ghostland. They claim it as their own. Now there will be war--against the Otherworld. In this sequel to Celtika, myth and history weave together into a tale of honor, death, and magic. At the core of the story is Merlin himself, the enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past--a past that is catching up with him.


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After long travels, Merlin has returned to Alba, the future England. Likewise, Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home as well. And Jason is sailing in on the Argo, to seek his son who hides somewhere in the kingdom. But Urtha's stronghold has been taken by warriors from Ghostland. They claim it as their own. Now there will be war--against the Otherworld. In this s After long travels, Merlin has returned to Alba, the future England. Likewise, Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home as well. And Jason is sailing in on the Argo, to seek his son who hides somewhere in the kingdom. But Urtha's stronghold has been taken by warriors from Ghostland. They claim it as their own. Now there will be war--against the Otherworld. In this sequel to Celtika, myth and history weave together into a tale of honor, death, and magic. At the core of the story is Merlin himself, the enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past--a past that is catching up with him.

30 review for The Iron Grail

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vít

    Železný grál nás přenáší z delfské věštírny do mlžných a temných lesů Alby, do domova velekrále Urthy. I tam ale potkáte Iásóna, stále hledajícího své syny, pomstychtivou Médeu, Merlina i všetečnou severskou čarodějku Niiv. Je to pořád ta známá, temná atmosféra prastarých mýtů, druidů, dávných bohů a podivných zvířat jako v Keltice, jen možná ještě o něco temnější. Komu se líbila Keltika, užije si i Železný grál a pak se honem vrhne i na Poražené krále, aby konečně věděl, jak to celé skončí. Železný grál nás přenáší z delfské věštírny do mlžných a temných lesů Alby, do domova velekrále Urthy. I tam ale potkáte Iásóna, stále hledajícího své syny, pomstychtivou Médeu, Merlina i všetečnou severskou čarodějku Niiv. Je to pořád ta známá, temná atmosféra prastarých mýtů, druidů, dávných bohů a podivných zvířat jako v Keltice, jen možná ještě o něco temnější. Komu se líbila Keltika, užije si i Železný grál a pak se honem vrhne i na Poražené krále, aby konečně věděl, jak to celé skončí.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Cihodariu

    Much better than the initial installment of the series, this second book manages to tie together the motivations of the characters in a more comprehensive way. You can finally understand why most of the characters are doing what they're doing, and the references to ancient cultures, ritual objects, and archeology are lovely. The plot lines (what is happening) are still pretty hard to understand and follow, and there is still the feeling that it's all just being laid out for us, with the making-se Much better than the initial installment of the series, this second book manages to tie together the motivations of the characters in a more comprehensive way. You can finally understand why most of the characters are doing what they're doing, and the references to ancient cultures, ritual objects, and archeology are lovely. The plot lines (what is happening) are still pretty hard to understand and follow, and there is still the feeling that it's all just being laid out for us, with the making-sense part to follow at a later time. I hope we get to it in the third installment since there's not that much left of the series. Beyond that, I have to say that I loved the way the author presents the inner workings, organization, and daily life of a Celtic fortress. You can tell that he did his homework before writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The second volume in the Merlin Codex trilogy is a lesser work than the first. Merlin has decided to stay in Taurovinda with Urtha, being drawn to both the place and the man for reasons he is not entirely clear about. Jason is using Argo to get to Alba in search of his lost younger son, having survived the serious wound dealt him by the older son. On the ship is Niiv, searching for Merlin and a motley assortment of Argonauts, dead, alive, older, newer, mortal, immortal, Legendary and supernatura The second volume in the Merlin Codex trilogy is a lesser work than the first. Merlin has decided to stay in Taurovinda with Urtha, being drawn to both the place and the man for reasons he is not entirely clear about. Jason is using Argo to get to Alba in search of his lost younger son, having survived the serious wound dealt him by the older son. On the ship is Niiv, searching for Merlin and a motley assortment of Argonauts, dead, alive, older, newer, mortal, immortal, Legendary and supernatural. Medea is in Ghostland (a Mythago wood) which is seperated from Urtha's Kingdom by a river that can't be crossed without magical assistance. An occupying force of dead and unborn heroes from Ghostland is evicted from the hill-fort but a much bigger force returns to lay siege to Urtha's much depleted tribe, re-inforced by some mercenaries. Then Jason and Argo arrive, the siege is broken in a flash and Urtha's daughter is kidnapped and taken back to Ghostland...all the magical/Legendary folk and Urtha under the protection of Argo go on a joint mission to find Urtha's daughter and Jason's son in Ghostland. The story is not paced well and is anti-climactic in regard to the lifting of the siege. It also suffers some lack of verve whilst Jason is out of the picture; Jason has a very clear objective and the first volume focused well enough on his attempt to acheive it. The second volume focuses much more on Urtha, but he has no clear-cut quest. He wants to regain his kingdom, then later, protect it from the supernatural invaders and later still, regain his daughter but these are all circumstances incidental to the plotting of Medea with regard to Jason and his family and are only resolved by the actions of Jason. Urtha is, in fact, a minor player, not quite a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern elevated to central protagonist in Tom Stoppard fashion, but certainly in that vein. Urtha's only real function seems to be to father children by two mothers whose descendants will go on to cause trouble for each other and the island of Alba generations in to the future. The writing is typical Holdstock, in that he portrays pre-historic cultures as if he used to live in them and shows characters who accept the supernatural as natural and causally influential and fortunately, this volume doesn't suffer from the huge number of horrid typographical errors seen in the first volume, but overall it is weaker. Can the final volume redeem the series? An aside: Ghostland is unmistakably a Mythago Wood, but in 272 B.C. it contains spirits of unborn heroes as well as dead ones. None such feature in the Mythago Wood books set in 20th century England - does Holdstock believe that there are "no more Heroes, anymore"?

  4. 5 out of 5

    James

    This is the sixth book in a series I am calling “quarantine life.” With our public libraries closed, I have turned to my own personal bookshelves to find books that I have not read. The main weakness of this book was that it spent too much time in the beginning recapping it’s awesome predecessor, Celtika. Otherwise, this drew me yet again into the fantastic mash-up of Arthurian and Greek legend that Holdstock has created. I don’t have the next book on my shelf, unfortunately, but I’ve ordered it This is the sixth book in a series I am calling “quarantine life.” With our public libraries closed, I have turned to my own personal bookshelves to find books that I have not read. The main weakness of this book was that it spent too much time in the beginning recapping it’s awesome predecessor, Celtika. Otherwise, this drew me yet again into the fantastic mash-up of Arthurian and Greek legend that Holdstock has created. I don’t have the next book on my shelf, unfortunately, but I’ve ordered it online - now I just need patience....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Data

    Holdstock continues to mix it up with Jason, of the Golden Fleece fame, Medea, and the Celtic myths that presage the coming of Arthur. His characters are canny and quirky, with a mix of magic and gods. Chariot-stealing demi-gods, hounds of mythic proportions, stags, bulls of gigantic size are all here. wound into Merlin's story. The first of the series is a must read before starting this book, or you might be lost. Holdstock continues to mix it up with Jason, of the Golden Fleece fame, Medea, and the Celtic myths that presage the coming of Arthur. His characters are canny and quirky, with a mix of magic and gods. Chariot-stealing demi-gods, hounds of mythic proportions, stags, bulls of gigantic size are all here. wound into Merlin's story. The first of the series is a must read before starting this book, or you might be lost.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ioana

    Nope nope nope. I tried, I really did, but it was just too boring. Holdstock is one of my. favorites and I never give up on books, but... nope.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mavis Hewitt

    Started off Ok, but I got rather lost when they were in the Otherworld.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andelika

    Holy whatever, this was a very bad book. The end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vasha7

    If anyone could give life to the story of Jason and Medea and vividly imagine celtic society two and a half millennia ago and tie it all in to the Arthurian mythology, it would be Robert Holdstock. The project started in a brilliantly imaginative fashion in Celtika ; unfortunately, the beginning of this second volume is rather bogged down by summaries of the backstory and repetitive forebodings, and can be downright inept at some moments. It does introduce a few interesting new characters, su If anyone could give life to the story of Jason and Medea and vividly imagine celtic society two and a half millennia ago and tie it all in to the Arthurian mythology, it would be Robert Holdstock. The project started in a brilliantly imaginative fashion in Celtika ; unfortunately, the beginning of this second volume is rather bogged down by summaries of the backstory and repetitive forebodings, and can be downright inept at some moments. It does introduce a few interesting new characters, such as the king's daughter Munda. It only really picks up with the journey to the Otherworld, focusing tightly on the tragedy of Jason's son Kinos. All the characters and themes will certainly be present again in the third volume. Repetition over time is one of Holdstock's longstanding themes. The story of Merlin in this trilogy is a reflection of the idea of the fading of magic as humans become increasingly insulated from the non-human world by technology and culture. I can guess that Merlin was born when humanity was very new (supposedly; probably culture is a lot older than Holdstock indicates it to be here), and when he dies, magic will be gone from the world.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Terese

    Holdstock skriver først og fremst mytisk fantasy. Med det menes at han bruker helter, personer, guder osv i fra ulike lands mytologi. I The Merlin Codex er Merlin hovedpersonen. Han har blitt flere tusen år, men ser fremdeles ut som en ung mann. Handlingen er lagt til ca 400 år fKr. og en god del av mytologien er fra England – da Alba. Det er noe med disse bøkene som treffer meg så utrolig godt. Jeg må bare lese videre. De er spennende, interessante og triste og glade. De gir ganske mye kunnskap Holdstock skriver først og fremst mytisk fantasy. Med det menes at han bruker helter, personer, guder osv i fra ulike lands mytologi. I The Merlin Codex er Merlin hovedpersonen. Han har blitt flere tusen år, men ser fremdeles ut som en ung mann. Handlingen er lagt til ca 400 år fKr. og en god del av mytologien er fra England – da Alba. Det er noe med disse bøkene som treffer meg så utrolig godt. Jeg må bare lese videre. De er spennende, interessante og triste og glade. De gir ganske mye kunnskap om tidlig liv i England og Hellas og om myter og mytologi. Noen av tingene det er skrevet om slår jeg opp for å lese mer om, som Wicker man, kolossoi eller effigy (boken er på engelsk). De to siste er spesielt viktige i denne boken. Jeg liker bøker jeg kan lære noe av. Ikke minst fantasybøker jeg kan lære noe av. Det er det beste fra to verdener. Holdstock bruker effekter fra historie, mytologi og magi (den de trodde på i England for så lenge siden). Samtidig lar han mennesker fra totalt ulike kulturer reise sammen og både ulikheter, motsetninger og likheter blir spilt på i historien. Betraktninger

  11. 4 out of 5

    Silvio Curtis

    It's no longer as clear as in the first book whether to call Jason Merlin's friend or Medea his enemy, but he is still as involved as ever in their lives. Furthermore, he feels a responsibility to help the Celtic king Urtha, who is being attacked by an army of ghosts and unborn men for uncertain reasons. Another major character is the Pohjoli (that seems to be ancient Finnish) enchantress, Niiv. She seems fairly stereotypical, a rash, power-hungry and seductive witch, but it's unclear how much o It's no longer as clear as in the first book whether to call Jason Merlin's friend or Medea his enemy, but he is still as involved as ever in their lives. Furthermore, he feels a responsibility to help the Celtic king Urtha, who is being attacked by an army of ghosts and unborn men for uncertain reasons. Another major character is the Pohjoli (that seems to be ancient Finnish) enchantress, Niiv. She seems fairly stereotypical, a rash, power-hungry and seductive witch, but it's unclear how much of that is her real characterization and how much is Merlin's paranoia. The constantly aggressive attitude of most of the characters sometimes gets wearing, though the amount of actual violence described is small in proportion. I find the most rewarding parts of this series to be the descriptions of magic, which convey an otherworldly feeling even while they have more understatement than hyperbole to them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Holly Lindquist

    From the back of the book: "Holdstock seamlessly blends myth and history into a fabulous tale of Merlin, hundreds of years before the coming of Arthur." I can say without compunction that it is indeed a fabulous tale, wonderfully imaginative, pure poetry in places, but seamless? Nope. The blend of Greek, Celtic, and other myths just does not work. Too many events seem to occur inexplicably. I couldn't immerse myself in the world because there were two many places where the narrative seemed to wan From the back of the book: "Holdstock seamlessly blends myth and history into a fabulous tale of Merlin, hundreds of years before the coming of Arthur." I can say without compunction that it is indeed a fabulous tale, wonderfully imaginative, pure poetry in places, but seamless? Nope. The blend of Greek, Celtic, and other myths just does not work. Too many events seem to occur inexplicably. I couldn't immerse myself in the world because there were two many places where the narrative seemed to wander off into a sort of mist. A beautifully-imagined mist, of course, but one that just didn't coalesce into a satisfying story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    It helps if you've read his Mythago Wood books and if you are familiar with some of the ancient Greek lit. Often confusing, but still interesting. It helps if you've read his Mythago Wood books and if you are familiar with some of the ancient Greek lit. Often confusing, but still interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    See review on Celtika, Bk. 1

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Book two of The Merlin Codex.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Interesting, but not engrossing, read. Took me over a year to complete it. Not my favorite Holdstock book, but I'm glad I read it. Interesting, but not engrossing, read. Took me over a year to complete it. Not my favorite Holdstock book, but I'm glad I read it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Serge Pierro

    This is the sequel to the first book in the series, Celtika. Holdstock continues his tale in admirable fashion. Fans of his previous works will not be disappointed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Sanders

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tetsuno1

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maya Spencer

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

  22. 4 out of 5

    Taters

  23. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Chandler

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eleana

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bret Wieseler

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ella

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juha

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Dormer

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cullan

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