The Crystal Cave - Arthurian Saga 1 Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Crystal Cave - Arthurian Saga 1

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, the first of a series, is about Merlin the Wizard's childhood and a little after that. Merlin is born in Maridunum, Britain. His mother is the daughter of the king of part of Wales. No one knows where or who his father is, except for Merlin's mother, who won't tell anyone. Merlin's grandfather is allied with the High King of Greater Britain. In the story Merlin runs from his home in fear of being killed by his uncle and to-be king Camlach. He flees to Less Britain and there finds out who his father is, and what his purpose in life is, wizard and confidante to the British kings. He can manipulate people with or without magic and lives a solitary life. Merlin only occasionally uses his magical talents, and could not predict when he could use them. He more often uses physics and optics to achieve his stunts and illusions, not unlike Hank in Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
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The review of this Book prepared by Rebecca

The first book in Mary Stewart's "Merlin Trilogy," this exciting and intimate story details Merlin's young life, his early education, his father, meeting Uther Pendragon, and helping sire Arthur, later High King of all Britain.
The review of this Book prepared by Shade

Merlin grows and matures throughout this book. He is a child at first searching for a purpose of life, not likeing the one he's living. He wants to know his real father. He will later becomme known as Merlin the Magician. People will fear him and some will praise him. He leaves his home after a certain death, by setting fire to the palce in honor of his friend/servent. He knows he has a gift from the Goddess, the gift of sight. He doesn't know how to control it and to call on it until later in the book. He does meet his father, who he loves and honors highly. A great war does happen in the book. It involves Merlin's father fighting for his rightful position as the High King of Britain. Merlin has minor enemies if any. He helps with father by spying and he is very good at reading people's minds. He always searches things in order to find understandings in his visions. He finds his new identity when he meets his father. He has an innner struggle with himself about who he really is and what the Gods want him to tell and what not to tell. His family relations in the beginning are not very good. In fact his uncle even tries to poison him! His main two teachers about his powers are the man frfomm the Crystal Cave and himself.
The review of this Book prepared by Kathleen Lingenfelter

Chapter Analysis of The Crystal Cave - Arthurian Saga 1

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 13.3%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 23.3%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 36.7%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 26.7% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   King Arthur Coming of age    -   Yes Youngster becomes    -   a powerful magician Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Family relations    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   mage/magician Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   fire/lightning/weather cntrl    -   can see into the future    -   healing


Terrain    -   Mountains    -   Forests Earth setting:    -   during "Tolkien" (fairytime) times Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Sex in book?    -   Yes How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Mary Stewart Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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