The Coming of the King (The First Book of Merlin)

The Coming of the King (Books of Merlin, #1) - Nikolai Tolstoy The medieval French interpreters of the Matter of Britain drew heavily upon the Celtic myths and folktales of Brittany and Great Britain when they wrote their own chivalric stories. The heroes of those earlier tales were seen by the French as uncouth and unchristian and they generally cast the native heroes as boorish and unmannered when compared with the "new" cultured French heroes.Tolstoy has taken back the original traditions and shows these characters, warts and all, as people set within their own culture. Based on Welsh and Germanic mythology, the manners and mores might not be what we have come to expect from Arthurian heroes, but the combination of earthy humour and high mysticism strikes a chord of realism, despite the fantasy setting. The kings and warriors aren't paragons of chivalric virtue, but then they pre-date the chivalric ideal and demand to be treated on their own terms.It's such a shame that Tolstoy's legal difficulties at the time of the publication of this first volume in an intended trilogy prevented him from continuing the series.