Merlin's Bones

by Fred Saberhagen

Reviewed by Coral


I'm not sure if I mean it as a compliment, but I'll say this about the book: it wasn't as awful as I thought it would be.

This story is set in two time periods. The first is the distant past, in a Britain after the death of Arthur and the collapse of Camelot. There Amby, a young orphan boy, and the traveling troupe of performers who took him in are on the run for their lives as a tyrant - angry over their act - pursues them. They take refuge in an abandoned manor, deciding the only way to live is to pretend to be protecting the Oracle of Merlin's Bones and trick the tyrant into believing they aren't the actors who've enraged him. Of course, unbeknownst to them, this story will prove to be anything but a lie, and will set before them a destiny they could have never imagined.

The second time period is the very distant - I imagine - future, where Dr. Elaine Brunsen is alone in her lab, working on some high tech machine capable of .... something I'm not real sure of, actually. It works like holograms or virtual reality, creating imagines of places and times right there in her lab. It also seems to be able to transport bones into her lab, and serve as a portal for people to travel back in time. A weird machine, all in all. Anyways, she's staying late working on this machine when she suddenly finds her lab overrun by strange, crazy people claiming to need her machine to save the life of King Arthur. Now, she has to find away to survive the war brewing between Morgan and Mordred, and hope that Fisher is the friend he claims to be and that she hasn't put her faith in the wrong person.

I'm not sure what I can say about this book, really. I already said that I didn't find it as horrible as I expected it to be. What I did find it was ridiculous - which may stem from my intense dislike of time-travel related plots - predictable - again with the shocking reveal that was anything but shocking - and not all that engrossing.

Grade: C