Another update on the Arthurian legend—this time from the point of view of Camelot’s resident magician—the first installment in Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy follows the famed sorcerer in the years before he becomes King Arthur’s most trusted adviser. Ostracized from a young age for his unknown parentage and strange precognitive abilities, Myrddin Emrys (or as he becomes known, Merlin) must hone his skills in medicine, engineering and, of course, sorcery, before finding his place in the turbulent world of 5th-century England. Even with so many Merlins that came before hers, Stewart manages to bring new depth to the legendary wizard as he works toward his crowning achievement, orchestrating Arthur’s birth. —Megan McCluskey

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