In the castle Tintagel a child will be born who will clear Britain of her enemies and make her whole. I, Merlin, whom men fear as a prophet and a visionary, have seen this in the stars and heard it in the wind. The child will be called Arthur, and he will be king.I have brought this to pass.Born on Christmas Eve, Arthur Pendragon is the illegitimate son of the married duchess Ygraine and Uther Pendragon, brother of a great king: a union Merlin arranged. But Arthur's birth is not welcomed by everyone: his father demands he be hidden until a legitmate son can be born, and Merlin is forced to give the babe to his own childhood nurse for safekeeping and go into hiding. In a dream, Merlin learns of a sword of unparalleled beauty and extraordinary craftsmanship, hidden in a long-deserted Roman temple. Merlin retrieves the sword and hides it in a cave on an island in the centre of a lake, where it remains for years.But what is hidden must be revealed. For it is foretold that the irrepressible young man named Arthur will find a sword and claim his birthright: as heir to Uther Pendragon and king of the Britons.A gloriously imagined tale' The Sunday Times
Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.