Celtika, by Robert Holdstock

anonblueberry's review against another edition

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I'm really not sure what to make of this. A combination of interesting ideas and muddled execution. Or possibly just muddled reading, possibly not helped by the fact my copy seemed to have loads of weird typos in it.
I think I was far more intrigued by the idea of the world than the characters, and to me it felt like some of the plot was sacrificed to be more mysterious. I don't know.

Not something I probably would have read if it had been left to me, but someone bought me it for xmas and I felt like I ought to read it. If I can find the other books cheap then I might pick them up, but I doubt I'll buy them new.

raven_acres's review against another edition

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Okay, so I stumbled upon Robert Holdstock when I found a copy of Mythago Wood and Lavondyss. Thoroughly enjoyed the books, and have been working on collecting the series and going through them, start to finish.

This series is along those same lines, and has a fair amount of verbiage and overlap from those other books.

An interesting twist on the Merlin Legend, bouncing back before Arthur and the tales of the Round Table. It intertwines Greek and Celtic myths loosely, but in an interesting fashion, and draws you in for an enjoyable trip. If you're a mythology purist, this may irritate you, but as another side/view of the myths, its rather fun.

The first book follows the resurrection of Jason and the Argo by Merlin, after finding out Medea didn't kill the boys. The book traces the search for the oldest boy. The second book traces the search for the second boy. And the third book goes into an interesting version of the link between Merlin and Daedalus.

The third book has been left somewhat opened-ended, so I don't know if there will be more, where Holstock really does bring in Arthur or not. That said, the actual story in the book is finished, so one isn't left hanging.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the books, and found them to be easy, enjoyable reads.

tortue_abroad's review

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Actually read this years ago, but I remember liking it so much that I should read it again soon. Merlin and ancient greeks and a very cool magic system. What's not to love?

dearbhla's review

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I 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.

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arbieroo's review

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Well this book was weird! A book about Merlin opens with Jason, of Golden Fleece fame, attempting suicide through grief for his two dead sons, killed by their mother, Medea. Huh?
Flash forward 700 years and it turns out that Merlin was one of the Argonauts and that he's discovered that Medea did not kill Jason's sons afterall - in fact they are alive in the present, hundreds of years after they should be dead even if they had lived to old age.

Jason isn't dead, either - he's half-dead in the bottom of a demon haunted lake, protected and kept from fully dying by the Spirit of his ship, the Argo. Merlin brings both from the bottom of the lake and restores them to full life. A new quest begins with new Argonauts, a renewed Argo carrying a forest Goddess rather than Hera and only Jason and Merlin remaining from the quest for the fleece. This time Jason is searching for his sons but the voyage of the Argo proves as inordinately long and difficult as the previous ones and the story is not over when the end of the book arrives - indeed there are two more volumes following.

The story is set mainly in the lands and time of the Pagan Celts and I've never come across a more convincing evocation of them; it's not a suprise though - rather to be expected from the author of the Mythago books - and it transpires that there is a gigantic Mythago Wood in Britain, known to one of the New Argonauts, Urtha, whose home borders it, as Ghostland.

Merlin is an intriguing character with an intriguing background. His mastery of the natural magic in the world comes from charms written on his bones and his tale (he tells it himself in the first person) is a strange one. I'm very keen to finish it.