The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis, Book 2 (The Camulod Chronicles, Book 6)

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9780812544190: The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis, Book 2 (The Camulod Chronicles, Book 6)

Throughout the widely praised Camulod Chronicles, Merlyn Britannicus has been driven by one sacred dream--to see Britain united under one just, powerful king. In The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis, it is time for the Sorcerer to fulfill his promise--to present the battle-proven Arthur as the Riothamus, the High King of Britain. When Arthur miraculously withdraws the Sword of Kingship from the stone in which it is set, he proves himself the true and deserving king--sworn to defend the Christian faith against invaders, and to preserve Britain as a powerful, united force.

The Sorcerer has fulfilled his promise. The King is crowned, Britain is united--and the face of history and legend is forever changed.

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Review:

Jack Whyte continues his long, thoughtful exploration of one of our most resonant myths, the legend of Camelot. The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis is the sixth book in his Camulod Chronicles, and it takes up the story just as Arthur makes the transition from boy to man. Whyte's focus, however, is on Caius Merlyn Britannicus. Merlyn, descended from Britain's Roman rulers, is one of the co-rulers of Camulod, a stronghold of civilization under perpetual threat from invading Saxons and Danes. Merlyn leads an eventful yet happy life: he has a loving fiancjée, Tressa; a fine ward, Arthur; a magnificent black horse, Germanicus; many allies; and grand plans for Camulod's expansion and Britain's safety. Merlyn's reflections on one campaign sum up his easy victories throughout the first half of the book: "It was slaughter--nothing less. One pass we made, from west to east, and scarce a living man was left to face us."

But even the mightiest ship must one day be tested on the shoals. The suspense gains momentum when Whyte breaks Merlyn free of his brooding, reactive role and propels him and his companions into danger. In despair, Merlyn takes a new, subtler tack against his archenemies Ironhair and Carthac ("And then I truly saw the size of him. He towered over everyone about him, hulking and huge, his shoulders leviathan and his great, deep, hairless chest unarmoured").

Whyte shines at interpreting the mythos of Camelot in a surprising yet believable way. He can squeeze a sword out of a stone without opting for the glib explanations of fantasy-land magic. The Camulod Chronicles, and The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis in particular, provide an engaging take on the chivalric world of knights and High Kings. --Blaise Selby

About the Author:

Jack Whyte is a Scots-born, award-winning Canadian author whose poem, The Faceless One, was featured at the 1991 New York Film Festival. The Camulod Chronicles is his greatest work, a stunning retelling of one of our greatest legends: the making of King Arthur's Britain. He lives in British Columbia, Canada.

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