‘The first is a man who needs you and will use you. He will weaken you dangerously. The second is a man you betrayed, though you believe otherwise. He wishes to kill you and can do so easily. The third is a ship that is more than a ship. She grieves and broods. She will carry you to your grave.’
These three warnings greet Merlin on his return to Alba, the future England, to the deserted fortress of Taurovinda – the Hill of the White bull. He is not the only one making the journey: Urtha, High King of the Cornovidi, is coming home to reclaim his stronghold. And Jason is coming to seek his younger son Kinos, ‘the Little Dreamer’, hiding somewhere in the Celtic kingdom. He sails on Argo, resurrected after seven centuries.
But Urtha’s fortress has been taken by warriors from Ghostland; they claim it as their own. There will be war against the Otherworld.
In this sequel to Celtika, Robert Holdstock weaves myth and history into a fabulous tale of honour, death and magic. The characters take on a life of their own: the mythic champion Jason; Urtha and his vengeful children; the northern sorceress Niiv, hungry for Merlin’s wisdom; and Kinos, Jason’s son, whose appearance is both terrible and tragic. And at the centre, moving along his neverending path, is Merlin himself, an enchanter in the prime of his life, reckless, curious, powerful, yet a stranger to his own past – a past that is catching up with him.