The most recommended books aboutn Merlin

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to Merlin, and here are their favorite Merlin books.
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Book cover of Firstborn Academy: Shadow Trials

Toni Binns Author Of Choice of the Traveler

From my list on fantasy with found family you never want to let go.

Why am I passionate about this?

Found family is my favorite trope. You can change up the genre but give me a cast of loveable characters and you got me. It hits close to home, since when I left home to go to college, I created my own family. They are my Albany family, and we all still meet up at least twice a year no matter that we all live across the country. The bonds we created as we figured out who each of us was, are still strong to this day. I write stories that contain those same elements so everyone can experience the joys and tribulations of these bonds. 

Toni's book list on fantasy with found family you never want to let go

Toni Binns Why did Toni love this book?

The Firstborn are required to leave their families and set through a gate.

To what they have no freaking idea. I was so thankful that the whole series was out when I started to read Nova’s story. It was a quick enjoyable read for a weekend that I needed to escape without leaving the house.

After stepping through the portal Nova creates a bond with two other friends that make you want to visit this world. Except for the world ending and fighting an endless war. You can’t help but root for them and hope they can figure out a way to save everyone.

Once I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down.

By Isla Frost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Firstborn Academy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since magic stormed the world, the price for human survival is surrendering your firstborn to the monsters.

But this year it's Nova's turn, and the monsters better watch their backs.

I am the firstborn in my family. The first of three. And today I will pay the price for my siblings' lives by surrendering control of my own. I will step through the runegate, and I will never see my family again.

What the others do with the firstborn is shrouded in mystery. All anyone knows is they are never heard from again.

I will step through the runegate…


Book cover of The Return of Merlin

Jim Willis Author Of The Wizard in the Wood: A Tale of Magic, Mystery, and Meaning

From my list on magic, mystery, and meaning in 21st century lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, theologian, musician, historian, and college professor who has written more than twenty books about ancient and alternative history, religion in modern culture, and long-distance, meditative bicycling. My study of the past convinced me that modern life has, for far too many of us, grown one-dimensional. It lacks the magic and mystery that imbued the ancients with the deep and rich mythology which we inherited from them, but then allowed to grow dormant within our sheltered lives. Remembering their vision and experience is a key to restoring our own sense of self-worth and essence. Maybe we all need to meet a “Wizard in the Wood!”

Jim's book list on magic, mystery, and meaning in 21st century lives

Jim Willis Why did Jim love this book?

I have been inspired by Deepak Chopra’s spiritual wisdom for more than thirty years. This is one of his rare novels, a wonderful story of time and magic. Merlin the Magician is the quintessential wizard, inspiring such modern-day spin-offs as Gandalf and Dumbledore. What would happen if he were to return today, bringing a message of earthy magic to a world of informative but increasingly sterile, materialistic science? And what if he has, indeed, done just that already?

By Deepak Chopra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Return of Merlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the 1980s, an increasing number of black writers have begun publishing speculative-fantastic fictions such as fantasy, gothic, utopian and science fiction. Writing into two literary traditions that are conventionally considered separate -- white speculative genres and black literary-cultural traditions -- the texts integrate an African American sensibility of the past within the present, with speculative fiction's sensibility of the present within the future.

Thaler takes stock of this trend by proposing that the growing number of texts has brought forth a genre of its own. She analyzes recent fictions by Octavia E. Butler, Jewelle Gomez, and Nalo Hopkinson as…


Book cover of The History of Magic: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Author Of The True History of Merlin the Magician

From my list on Merlin and magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by magic and its history since I was at school. One of my first Saturday jobs was as a shelf stacker in Portsmouth Central Library, and I was delighted to discover that the library had a special collection on the occult and magic. I spent as much time dipping into the books as I did shelving them! That interest was sharpened by holiday visits to places with links to magical people and events in the past – and I am very grateful for the patience of my family. I now research and teach medieval magic at Reading University and enjoy discussing spells and instruction manuals on various types of magic.  

Anne's book list on Merlin and magic

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Why did Anne love this book?

I am awed by the ambition of this book, which really does cover everything suggested by the title. 

The author is a Professor of Archaeology at Oxford and as his bio says he also worked as a curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum there, so his expertise is clear. 

He writes with a very broad sweep, and his arguments that key elements of magic can be traced across wide spans of time and space might be controversial – but this book is a huge and fascinating treasure trove of information. 

For anyone who wants to know about the history of magic I think this is a great place to start. 

By Chris Gosden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Telegraph Book of the Year

A remarkable, unprecedented account of the role of magic in cultures both ancient and modern -- from the first known horoscope to the power of tattoos.

'Fascinating, original, excellent' Simon Sebag Montefiore
______________________

Three great strands of practice and belief run through human history: science, religion and magic. But magic - the idea that we have a connection with the universe - has developed a bad reputation.

It has been with us for millennia - from the curses and charms of ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish magic, to the shamanistic traditions of Eurasia, indigenous…


Book cover of Merlin and the Grail: The Trilogy of Arthurian Prose Romances attributed to Robert de Boron

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Author Of The True History of Merlin the Magician

From my list on Merlin and magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by magic and its history since I was at school. One of my first Saturday jobs was as a shelf stacker in Portsmouth Central Library, and I was delighted to discover that the library had a special collection on the occult and magic. I spent as much time dipping into the books as I did shelving them! That interest was sharpened by holiday visits to places with links to magical people and events in the past – and I am very grateful for the patience of my family. I now research and teach medieval magic at Reading University and enjoy discussing spells and instruction manuals on various types of magic.  

Anne's book list on Merlin and magic

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Why did Anne love this book?

Merlin as the Antichrist?! 

Robert de Boron was a medieval French writer of romances who made Merlin a central figure in the story of the Arthurian world and almost the inventor of the quest for the Holy Grail.

Medieval romances are a bit of a niche read, but I want to tell everyone about this version of Merlin. The Romance of Merlin actually starts in Hell, with the demons plotting to win the ongoing battle against God by bringing about the birth of Antichrist. 

The chosen demon expresses squeamishness at the idea of seducing a human woman but does his duty – and the result is Merlin! 

These stories helped make Merlin the time-travelling superhero of later romances, and the prophet who influenced Joseph of Arimathea’s decision to come to Britain with the Grail.  

By Robert de Boron, Nigel Bryant (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Merlin and the Grail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This trilogy establishes a provenance for the Holy Grail and, through the figure of Merlin, links Joseph of Arimathea with mythical British history and with the knightly adventures of Perceval's Grail quest.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this trilogy of prose romances in the development of the legend of the Holy Grail and in the evolution of Arthurian literature as a whole. They give a crucial new impetus to the story of the Grail by establishing a provenance for the sacred vessel - and for the Round Table itself - in the Biblical past; and through the…


Book cover of Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel

Cory O'Brien Author Of Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

From my list on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cory O’Brien, author of such books as Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: a No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology, grew up reading myths and legends of all sorts, and turned that passion into a career with the advent of his extremely serious mythology website. He has always had a fondness for the Arthurian Legend in particular, ever since his father read him Howard Pyle’s King Arthur books as a child, and he realized he could use them as a moral justification for hitting other kids with big sticks.

Cory's book list on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Cory O'Brien Why did Cory love this book?

Arthur Rex tells the same story as Le Morte D’Arthur, but in a radically different way. Where Mallory idolizes the knights and nobles of Arthur’s court, Thomas Berger paints them in the most unflattering light possible. Everyone is a cretin, a sex maniac, or both, and their backwards morals are used as clever mirrors of our own modern moral failings. Arthur Rex is probably the funniest version of the Arthurian Legend that I’ve read. It’s got its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek. Even so, the ending managed to make me cry, so props to Berger for capturing the full range of emotions with this one.

By Thomas Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arthur Rex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reinterpreting and expanding upon the Arthurian legend, the author begins to inject his own personality into the narrative, which constitutes a salute to the Age of Chivalry


Book cover of Uther

Allison M. Azulay Author Of The Ghost of the Highlands

From my list on historical fiction those born in the wrong century.

Why am I passionate about this?

A psychic once told me I was born in the wrong century, and I can believe it. I have always been drawn to tales of the past, feeling a kinship for the men and women of whom I read―whether they are real or born of someone's imagination―and longing for a life not digitalized or controlled and one in which self-reliance and community are not at odds. Am I a romantic? You bet, and happy to be.

Allison's book list on historical fiction those born in the wrong century

Allison M. Azulay Why did Allison love this book?

Jack Whyte's Uther blew me away. Instead of the semi-mystical style I expected, given the magical associations with the Arthur legends, it wove a gritty, down-to-earth tale of Roman-influenced Britain in a time of raiders, intrigue, and warring factions. The characters came to life in my imagination as I read, and their hopes and experiences, conflicts, and loves became my own.

By Jack Whyte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uther as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Jack Whyte's richly praised Camulod Chronicles, an authentic retelling of the Arthurian legend as it actually may have happened, have enjoyed watching the story of Camelot evolve through the eyes of Merlyn - witnessing firsthand Merlyn's role in shaping the boy who would be king. But there has been a part of the story that readers have been denied. With UTHER, Jack Whyte provides a portrait of Merlyn's shadow - his boyhood companion and closet friend, the man who would sire the King of the Britons. From the trials of boyhood to the new cloak of adult responsibility,…


Book cover of The Merlin Trilogy

Mary-Jean Harris Author Of Night Of The Immortals

From my list on historical fantasy with captivating natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fantasy reader and writer, I love to explore magic systems and see how a story can seamlessly be brought to life. The natural, mysterious magic we often see in fantasy creates a sense of whimsy and wonder that takes readers to new worlds. I have two degrees in theoretical physics and a minor in philosophy, something that would seem to naturally lead to science fiction, but it’s also true that understanding magic is related to science. Indeed, the physicist Albert Einstein once said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” I hope you find some new books on this list that will sweep you to another world!

Mary-Jean's book list on historical fantasy with captivating natural magic

Mary-Jean Harris Why did Mary-Jean love this book?

Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy (and the companion novel, The Wicked Day) creates an immersive world and is so enjoyable to read. The characters are alive and the words flow across the page like gentle pixie dust lulling you into a world of enchantment. There is no magical system per se but the magic is present in glimpses like sunlight off the surface of a broken mirror, only allowing us to perceive hints of its reflections. Even for those well-versed in Arthurian legends, the unique perspective of Merlin takes us on a new adventure. I loved the elements of philosophy in the story as well, both moral philosophy and metaphysics that relates to our understanding of the world and the natural and magical forces that shape it. 

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Merlin Trilogy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Arthurian legend is one of the most enduring and powerful of myths, and Mary Stewart's classic The Merlin Trilogy is one of its most beloved and acclaimed retellings. In prose that is as vividly, achingly real as it is poetic, New York Times bestselling author Mary Stewart brings to life the man behind the myth: Myrddin Emrys ... Merlinus Ambrosius ... Merlin. The Crystal Cave The Hollow Hills The Last Enchantment Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess, Myrddin Emrys -- or, as he would later be known, Merlin -- leads a perilous childhood in The Crystal Cave,…


Book cover of The Other Merlin

Danielle Banas Author Of The Good for Nothings

From my list on young adult for readers who want to laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of the humorous YA novels The Supervillain and Me and The Good for Nothings. I’ve been telling stories since I could talk, including the night I recited an entire Mickey Mouse scratch and sniff book to my mother at bedtime (she’s so proud), and the numerous evenings I subjected my friends and family to another one of my home “movies” set in front of a poorly painted bedsheet backdrop in my basement. I owe my writing career to Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield’s version), who inspired my first book. I spent countless college classes thinking about him instead of paying attention, but it all worked out in the end.

Danielle's book list on young adult for readers who want to laugh out loud

Danielle Banas Why did Danielle love this book?

This gender-swapped retelling of King Arthur showcases a female Merlin, Emry, who packs some serious girl power. Far superior at magic than her twin brother Emmett, Emry takes his place training as the new court wizard for the adorable, bumbling Prince Arthur. I knew I was going to love this book when chapter one began with Arthur and Lancelot sneaking out of the castle to have one too many drinks at a bar and ended with Arthur getting sick all over Sir Kay’s shoes. Witty banter among lovable characters, the occasional bit of bathroom humor, and lots of magic and heart made this book one of my favorites of 2021.

By Robyn Schneider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Merlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR! - Publishers Weekly
 
"Simultaneously heart-pounding and hilarious, Robyn Schneider gives us a veritable romp through Camelot fueled by adventure and romance."
—Kerri Maniscalco, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Kingdom of the Wicked and Stalking Jack the Ripper

Channeling the modern humor of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, bestselling author Robyn Schneider creates a Camelot that becomes the ultimate teen rom-com hotspot in this ultra-fresh take on the Arthurian legend.

Welcome to the great kingdom of Camelot! Prince Arthur’s a depressed botanist who would rather marry a library than a…


Book cover of Merlin: Knowledge and Power through the Ages

Helen Fulton Author Of A Companion to Arthurian Literature

From my list on sensible stories about King Arthur.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to the Arthurian legends through the medium of medieval Welsh literature, a subject that had intrigued and challenged me since I was an undergraduate. I found the language impenetrable and yet beautiful, while the literature it encoded was fascinatingly unlike the literary traditions of England and France. I wanted to connect with a version of Arthur that preceded the romance traditions of France and England and bears witness to a much older culture and social organisation. Though I've learned to love other versions of Arthur, and indeed I teach the Arthurian legends as part of my academic work, the stark drama of the Welsh poems and tales continues to intrigue me.

Helen's book list on sensible stories about King Arthur

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

This book-length study of the magical figure of Merlin is the most authoritative account of the literary lives of Merlin, Arthur’s wizard guide, from his earliest incarnation in Welsh poetry to his reinvention in modern novels and films.

Stephen Knight, a prolific medievalist whose work is always readable and entertaining, takes Merlin’s gifts of knowledge and foresight as his theme, arguing that throughout the many versions of Merlin in literary texts, operations of power are always working to restrict and contain Merlin’s command of knowledge.

Reading this book takes you on a journey that will enrich your understanding of the Arthurian legends.

By Stephen Knight,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Merlin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, has been a source of enduring fascination for centuries. In this authoritative, entertaining, and generously illustrated book, Stephen Knight traces the myth of Merlin back to its earliest roots in the early Welsh figure of Myrddin. He then follows Merlin as he is imagined and reimagined through centuries of literature and art, beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose immensely popular History of the Kings of Britain (1138) transmitted the story of Merlin to Europe at large. He covers French and German as well as Anglophone elements of the myth and brings the story up…


Book cover of Magic in Medieval Manuscripts

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Author Of The True History of Merlin the Magician

From my list on Merlin and magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by magic and its history since I was at school. One of my first Saturday jobs was as a shelf stacker in Portsmouth Central Library, and I was delighted to discover that the library had a special collection on the occult and magic. I spent as much time dipping into the books as I did shelving them! That interest was sharpened by holiday visits to places with links to magical people and events in the past – and I am very grateful for the patience of my family. I now research and teach medieval magic at Reading University and enjoy discussing spells and instruction manuals on various types of magic.  

Anne's book list on Merlin and magic

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Why did Anne love this book?

Sophie Page is an expert on magic in medieval Europe and in this book she was given free rein to choose fascinating images from the British Library’s collection of medieval manuscripts. 

As somebody who studies medieval manuscripts myself, and loves them as works of art as well as for the historical records they contain, this book is irresistible. 

It’s a little like being given a guided tour through an exhibition on the subject, by someone who really knows how alchemy and astrology – or even necromancy and sorcery – were performed. 

If you want to know how to summon a demon or uncover hidden treasure, you’ll find places to start in this book! 

By Sophie Page,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Magic in Medieval Manuscripts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Magic existed in diverse forms in the Middle Ages: from simple charms to complex and subversive demonic magic. Its negative characteristics were defined by theologians who sought to isolate undesirable rituals and beliefs, but there were also many who believed that the condemned texts and practices were valuable and compatible with orthodox piety. Magic in Medieval Manuscripts explores the place of magic in the medieval world and the contradictory responses it evoked, through an exploration of images and texts in British Library manuscripts. These range from representations of the magician, wise-woman and witch to charms against lightning, wax images for…