It began on a train, heading north through England, although I was soon to discover that the story had really begun more than a hundred years earlier.
The Prestige is a book that covers three different generations of two families, told by a number of different narrators, all in the first person, as they tell their stories in their diaries. Those of you who have seen the film version will be aware that the prestige of the title is the payoff to a magic trick. What you might not know is that this term was invented by Priest but has since come into common usage among practising magicians.
I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure.
This, in many ways, is the perfect book for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge as it contains fairy tales and myth and fantasy. It is a collection of shorter works by Tolkien, and begins, not with a story but, with an essay, On Fairy-Stories and surprisingly, I found this the most interesting aspect of the book. Tolkien writes about the origins of fairy stories, why he believes them necessary. He also defines what he means by a fairy story. A very different thing from the tale relegated to the children’s nursery, although somewhat related. Possibly the first defence of the fantasy genre.
The atmosphere surrounding the little boy vibrated with tension. He could not see the stifled anger and baffled desire, but he sensed their residue accumulating like dustballs in the corners of the fort. Unspoken recriminations crowded the silences; bitter glances were hurled like spears over small Setanta’s head.
When I first read this book I wrote the month and year inside the cover, so I know that I first read it in February 1994, but I’ve reread it plenty of times in the past 13 years. It has been one of my favourite books ever since. That might possibly be because it is based on the Irish legend of the Táin Bó Cúalnge, or Cattle-Raid of Cooley. The Táin is made up of a collection of stories, based around the heroes of the Red Branch, the warriors of Ulster, and especially Cúchulainn.
by Neil Gaiman
There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.
And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual although even he never knew the whole of it.
When Tristran Thorn heads off into Faerie to find a star he has no idea of what is about to happen. All he cares is that the beautiful Victoria has promised that she will grant whatever he wishes if he brings the star that she saw fall.
I was neither a stranger in this territory, nor familiar with it. The last time I had passed this way, the route into the wilderness of forest and snow that was the northern land of Pohjola had been an open gorge, guarded by nothing more sinister than white foxes, chattering mink and dark-winged carrion birds.
suppose that you are thinking that a series entitled The Merlin Codex might be about the Merlin of the Arthurian legend. If so, and you are expecting Camelot to make an appearance in this book, you are in for a surprise. Yes, the main protagonist is Merlin, but he isn’t the character you might have expected. Instead, although very old he is also quite young. In appearance at least. And instead of serving or advising Kind Arthur he travels with Jason of the Greek myths. The book is set hundreds of years after the quest for the Golden Fleece, and the love affair with Medea and the resulting tragedy, but Jason is not dead. He has been kept in a sort of suspended non-life by the magic of his ship, the Argus, and now Merlin has returned to bring him back to life. Merlin, you see, has discovered that Medea did not actually kill her two sons.