The Merlin Conspiracy; a review, no significant spoilers

Chris Dollin eh at
Mon Mar 10 16:31:37 EST 2003

Dear All

Diana has a New Book and it is Good.


What? Oh, all right then. Copyright (C) 2003, Chris Dollin,
etc, fair use mumble, attribution mutter.

Take a typical DWJ mix of situtations. There are multiple,
linked, worlds, with paths between them that the magically
adept can travel. There are effective families, dysfunctional
families, dyslexia, enhancements, an elephant and a goat. 
There are ironies of time and drastic effects flow from trivial
incidents. Children discover conspiracies but are unable to
communicate them and instead have to work to defeat them.
Even the most competent have their flaws, but it all works
out in the end. For some value of "works out" and "the end".

Nick Mallory from _Deep Secret_ gets one narrative thread, 
and Arianrhod "Roddy" Hyde the other. (Naturally the threads
end up tangled.) Roddy travels with the Royal Progress, which
is the King's travelling round the county to keep the magic alive.
The old Merlin dies at an inopportune moment (well, it would be,
for him anyway) and the new one appears to be part of a

Nick, who desperately wants to be a Magid, somehow ends up
helping to sorcerously protect a cricket match in what he *thinks*
is a dream. Getting back from that means he promises to help
Roddy. Roddy needs that help; even the powerful personages
in her world are subject to rules of enchantment and are being
forced to act against their wills. And she has to look after Grundo,
her young dyslexic friend, and is saddled with batty aunts and
two dreadful twin brat cousins. Oh, and *they*, the aunts and
cousins all, are witches.

The goat and the elephant have important roles to play before
a finale that reminds me strangely of both _Charmed Life_ and 
_Fire and Hemlock_ and, I suspect, leads into another story.

DWJ ties together her own wild fancies and pieces of folklore
and makes it all seem *real* and difficult and the world (and
our dreams) worth working for,

Chris the Hedgehog
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