Celtika Hardcover – Mar 1 2003
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
In British author Holdstock's dazzling reframing of Arthurian myth and Greek legend, a wandering, youthful Merlin who ages only when he uses his "charm" encounters Jason and joins him on his quest aboard the Argo for the Golden Fleece. Known to Jason as Antiokus, Merlin is present when the enchantress Medea kills Jason's two sons and absconds with the bodies. The Argo slips her moorings and sails off into the night, a broken ship carrying a broken man to their mutual grave. Centuries later, Merlin hears of a screaming ship in a frozen lake. Divining that the screams come from Jason, still yearning for his lost sons, Merlin struggles north, for he has learned that Jason's sons are alive. Using his jealously guarded magic, Merlin raises the Argo and the still living Jason, who gathers new Argonauts-Urtha, Ullanna and Niiv-to search for his sons. Family and loss are central to this poignant new telling of Merlin's story. And even Merlin, who for so long considered himself a solitary traveler on the pathways of magic, realizes that he's not as alone as he once thought. With this remarkable work, Holdstock, a World Fantasy Award winner for Mythago Wood (1985), more than lives up to his billing as one of the finest living crafters of myth.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Holdstock's latest mythic fantasy launches the autobiography of Merlin. It begins long before the time of the Matter of Britain, when Merlin, already a powerful mage who has sailed with Jason on the Argo, is trying to help Jason find the old ship and his two sons, who may not have been murdered by Medea, after all. The quest takes king and mage to Scandinavia to bring the ship back to life, then to Alba--England, that is. There they become comrades of a warrior on a quest for vengeance, and that plops them in the middle of the historic invasion of Greece by Brennus the Gaul. Merlin has conflicts of interest, in that he and Medea are both members of the same order of mage. Readers may also feel conflicted over whether splendid individual scenes and fine, deep characterizations compensate for a narrative so laden with mythic and folkloric references that it is hard to follow. But Holdstock has justified staying with him before, and he has more of Merlin's adventures in the offing. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
Back to the narration, there is so much of it that hardly any dialog is written. The obvious problem with that is nearly zero character development - Merlin explains and describes and things happen around him and a gigantic host of characters pop in and out.
I appreciate the attempt at something different, but I was not fooled by Holdstock's attempt at literary fantasy. One star for an original idea and one star for the really cool paperback cover art.
first came out. Like all of Holdstock's work, Celtika weaves
myth and reality together. In Holdstock's book characters from
myth and demigods walk among men and women. Holdstock's earlier
works are full of obcession, love and passion as the world of
humans intersects with the world of myth (or Mythagos). This
gives his earlier work a somewhat dark quality. Although Celtika
opens in the snow and at a haunted lake, this work seems lighter
Holdstock is an excellent english stylist and has an encylopedic
knowledge of early history and myth. Celtika is a strange
intersection a time which appears to be between Alexander's
conquests and the rise of the Roman Empire, with mythical greek
Although I suppose Celtika work would be classified as
fantasy, Holdstock does not write classic fantasy. His
stories have a real character to them. The main character,
Merlin, does not wash much, as few people did in the west
before modern times. Celtika recounts a story from earlier
in Merlins very long life where he is seduced by a woman.
She come to him in a sheer dress, smelling of flowers.
As she undresses him she discovers that he is filthy. She
first cleans him before they make love.
Holdstock definitely writes for a well read audience.
The story of Media is interwoven into Celtika and if you
have not read or seen the Greek play Media, it might be
worth reading to understand some of the background in this
story. In particular, why Media is so bitter.
In summary, this is an excellent book...
Centuries later, Merlin learns that a "screaming" ship is locked inside a frozen lake. Concluding that the vessel must be the Argo, he journeys to help his mourning friend Jason, who screams are for his lost sons. Using his cherished "charm", he raises the Argo at the cost of much of his youth. He next informs Jason that his two sons live. A renewed Jason puts together a new crew of Argonauts set to rescue his children.
Combining Arthurian legend with Greek mythology, Robert Holdstock displays he may be the leading mythologist of modern times. The story line is more than just an epic adventure as the key players, Merlin and Jason learn that no man, no matter how powerful or heroic, is an island. Magic seems unfeigned and the blending of the two epic lines brilliantly conceived and achieved. The first book of the Merlin Codex is a triumph that fantasy readers will relish, keep, and desire immediate release of book two in this terrific opus.
Most recent customer reviews
Just finished Celtika by Robert Holdstock....a excellent read with a new twist on the story of Merlin and Jason (from Golden Fleece fame). Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by S Hicks
The words read as natural as the spoken word, there is no complaint there. Even mixing Greek and British legends/lore went smoothly and made the story interesting by association. Read morePublished on July 7 2003