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The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga #2)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  17,816 Ratings  ·  411 Reviews
Con la dramática noche en que Arturo es engendrado se inicia la epopeya en que el héroe debe aprender a distinguir a sus enemigos y a seguir con fidelidad su propio destino. Para ello contará con la ayuda de la extraña figura de Merlín, quien, a pesar de su sabiduría, sufre las angustias de una nación en guerra y las intrigas y traiciones entre reyes y cortesanos.
Mass Market Paperback, 447 pages
Published July 1974 by Fawcett Crest (Greenwich) (first published 1973)
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Sara
May 26, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the thrills of The Crystal Cave, we pick Merlin up, bleeding on the side of the road out of Tintagel, and watch as he begins his journey into the life of the boy who will be King Arthur. One of literature’s great characters, Merlin is the bridge between Ambrosius and Arthur--the once and future kings, and for my money he embodies all that is fine about both of them.

Mary Stewart's Merlin appeals to me mostly because of his humanity. He pays a high price for his powers, and they are granted
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Jim
Sep 30, 2011 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent follow up to The Crystal Cave & beautifully read. It's the same in style & tone, too.

I want to call this 'old school' fantasy. There is no graphic sex, violence, or even any flashy magic, but there is an aura of mystery & pomp that permeates the entire story. There is a hard core of realism tempered by spirituality that defines the world & the magic. The descriptions are lyric, too. A fantastic break from the current style of writing & yet not boring at all. In
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Moonlight Reader
The first half was 3 stars, but the second half was amazing. More later!
Nikki
Mary Stewart’s Arthurian books are certainly very different to her romance/mystery ones. It’s much more the world of Rosemary Sutcliff’s Sword at Sunset than the sort of world her heroines inhabit in the modern stories: one of uncertain magic and prophecy, of blood and hatred and death. And it comes out much less positive about female characters. There are few prominent ones, and even mentions of women tend to be dark portents and shadows on the future Merlin foresees. But I do love the Welsh ba ...more
Lori
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Obsidian
This will be a short review because I have a joint blog post about this book with my co-blogger in crime, Moonlight Reader.

I still like having Merlin as the narrator in these books and we do get some insight into what power is calling to him and also to Arthur. I found Merlin to be just as obstinate as the character of Uther at times because he doesn't like to be challenged. And I think at times Stewart tries to over explain the appeal of the character of Arthur to those around him.

The women ar
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Wayne Barrett

In part 2 of the Arthurian saga we have, instead of Excalibur, Caliburn. The sword is claimed by Arthur in a different manner from the traditional story but still fits nicely with the theme.

As with book 1, I think Hollow Hills is also a great book and keeps the reader yearning to move on to part 3.
Candi
5+ dazzling stars!

Another phenomenal installment in Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga, The Hollow Hills begins right where we concluded the brilliant gem of a story, The Crystal Cave. The masterful storytelling, the wonder and the adventure are no less evident here than in the first of the series! I was captured once again and savored every word as if it were a treasure.

In this book, the compassionate and human side of Merlin is revealed even further. Merlin, as "the instrument of the gods", knows
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Layton
Sep 02, 2010 Layton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
These books are so beautifully written. Is it bad, being as how it's called the Arthurian Saga, that I'm bummed the next one is going to be more about Arthur and less about Merlin?

Favorite quotes:

387. "Everyone knows the King's unchancy to cross. But you just looked cold as ice, as if you expected him to do what you wanted, just as everyone does! You, afraid? You're not afraid of anything that's real."
"That's what I mean," I said. "I'm not sure how much courage is needed to face human enemies-
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Enchantress  ☮Debbicat ஐ
Much more than 5 stars. What a satisfying read!!!! I liked this one even more than The Crystal Cave. I am excited to read the continuing story in The Last Enchantment with Arthur now as King.

Full review to follow. So beautifully told.
Lara
Jul 03, 2008 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mm. I could literally roll in Stewart's writing. Seriously. Like a dog. It's just... the setting of it all is so rich it's like Middle Earth. Only, er, real. Sort of. And not quite as gorgeous and fantastic - but close.
Landon
Sometimes it is the later books in a series that really bring the whole thing together. This is definitely the case when it comes to The Hollow Hills. The story doesn’t exceed The Crystal Cave, in fact, I would say the Crystal Cave is by far the more interesting novel, but I firmly believe that The Hollow Hills takes the story of Merlin, and makes it a legend. I think that it is this novel that makes me think back to The Crystal Cave with a smile, because the happenings of that novel are constan ...more
Cara
Jan 03, 2010 Cara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, arthurian
Others have reviewed this book at great length, so I'll just focus in on what has stayed with me since my first reading (I've read this series multiple times): the relationship between Merlin and Arthur. In so many tellings of this tale, Merlin appears only at the beginning--to prophesy Arthur's coming, to teach him and prophesy his death, and then to disappear. Arthur may mourn the loss of a guide/teacher/enchanter, but the relationship between the two is not as important as Arthur's relationsh ...more
Mark
The sword in the stone Mary Stewart style- absolutely brilliant! I loved the way that this very famous part of the Arthur saga was dealt with in such a totally believable way.(view spoiler) ...more
Terence
The Hollow Hills is the second book in Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga and covers the fifteen years between Arthur's birth and his acclamation as High King as experienced by Merlin, who spends much of it avoiding the limelight and traveling to Asia Minor and Constantinople. In a word, not taking a role in Arthur's life whatsoever until a few months before the boy's acclamation.

Which is the primary problem. We can't engage with either the chief character of the novel or with his ostensible ward. We
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Tristy
Apr 19, 2011 Tristy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scavenged
The Mists of Avalon ruined any other Arthur legend tales for me. I know this is a famous and well-loved version of the story (written by a woman, even), but it's just too Christian and patriarchal for me.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Ok, the first book of this series was just so so for me..then I started this one. Oh my! I am loving it. Merlin goes on a search for the legendary sword, Arthur grows up, Uther the king passes and so much more. Written so that you feel you are right there with Merlin leaning over his shoulders.
Cindy
Jun 30, 2008 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember the Hollow Hills as one story with the Crystal Cave, so I repeat my review. This is a sequel that will not disappoint.

Before the Lord of the Rings, there was Arthur—Arthur and Merlin, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur and Camelot. I had seen the movies Sword in the Stone and Camelot, read T. H. White’s Once and Future King, and other accounts of Arthur and the Knights, including translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—but my very favorite of all these stories
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Ruth
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Written by Mary Stewart (1916) and first published in 1973 with Arthur and Merlin as the main protagonists. This story covers the time from the birth of Arthur to the time that he gains the throne. Not much wizardry or fireballs but a great retelling of the legend. "In that night lashed by storm and brooded over by the dragon-star, death had seemed commonplace, and gods waiting, visible, at every corner". So well written with striking imagery and well crafted metaphores and simi ...more
Lightreads
Sequel to The Crystal Cave. This one introduces Arthur and takes us up through the events of his coronation. I'm still stuck on these questions of man and God, power and destiny, but I want to hold off until I'm done with the series. Except to say that I personally find man-made so much more compelling than God-made, even though God-made is dazzling and extraordinary. Destiny is such a cheap storytelling trick (yeah, you too, JKR) and
Stewart conducts a razor dance of intention and fate and volit
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Stacey
I read Mary Stewart when I was a teenager, (Moonspinners?) and I'm not sure how I missed the Arthurian series when I was going through that phase. It's a good story, moves a little slow at times, but probably a must read if you like King Arthur legends.

This series focuses on Merlin, making him quite a sympathetic character. It departs in places from the canonical storyline of Arthur (if there is one,) but the changes make sense in the context of Merlin's POV.
Connie
Jul 09, 2010 Connie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the idea of a re-telling of Arthurian legend from Merlin's point of view, and Stewart demonstrates a good knowledge of the myths from which Arthur sprang, but this book is overall so heavy on description that it just ends up slow and boring. :(
Martha
Apr 09, 2017 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a little surprised that I finished this 16 hour audiobook in one week, but it was gripping/engaging.

I read this story back in the ‘70s. I didn’t really remember the story but I remembered that I loved it and I loved the author, reading all her works available in those years. (I even have one that I have saved and I think I will pull it out to read soon.) When I saw this available for review I immediately sent a request. I am so glad that I did.

This is the story of Merlin, The Enchanter an
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Stace Dumoski
When I wrote up my review of The Crystal Cave, I said I had read the first two books in this Arthurian series by Mary Stewart years ago, but I think I may have been wrong. None of what I read in this second volume felt at all familiar to me (except in the general Arthurian sense), so I’m not sure I ever read it after all. Of course, it’s only been a short time since I finished it and it’s and is already fading from memory, so who knows?

The only distinct impression I have after reading The Hollow
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J.V. Seem
Having read two now, this was perhaps not the absolute revelation that Mary Stewart's first Merlin book was, but man, this too is very, very good.

Like the first, it has a distant, poetic view, that somehow (don't ask me how) manages to bring the characters closer to the reader, instead of the other way around. I keep being astounded at how effortlessly she makes these literary paintings of man, nature, kingdoms where an ever-present spirituality weaves through it all.

I have always had a problem
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Danny Runkel
While the characters in the story were interesting enough, the fact that Merlin is not in fact an enchanter of immense power is a take on the saga that I did not particularly care for. For me, it was almost akin to making Sherlock Holmes solve all of his mysteries by pure luck rather than unparalleled genius.

In addition, much of the story was not all that relevant. There were times where I would skip entire pages that went on an on about political unrest with so and so in such and such a place.
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Jesse
I love historical fiction, and this is a great read if you are interested in the Arthurian legend as a subject.

First, I must say that this doesn't really qualify as historical fiction since Stwart states that she used a notoriously unreliable resource for entertainment value. And it even strays from what I know of the legend from other "entertaining" sources (T.H. White and Sir Thomas Malory). BUT, where Stewart really excells is taking the legend and puting it into a frame that is explainable w
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Anne Harvey
Aug 04, 2016 Anne Harvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel in Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Legend series, written in 1970, but works as a standalone novel. Set in the Dark Ages after the Romans have left Britain and told from the point of view of Merlin, enchanter and bastard son of Ambrosius, High King of Britain, Mary Stewart has magically painted a picture of a period lost in time. The novel is steeped in mystery and magic, when Christianity was still a very new religion and the people of the high places still worshipped the old ...more
Becky Ginther
This book was a sequel to The Crystal Cave. It many ways my opinion about the two books is very similar. Like the first one, I felt that The Hollow Hills starts out really slowly, and doesn't pick up much speed or get all that interesting until you are more than halfway through it.

Though this series is about the life of Merlin, Stewart doesn't exactly give Merlin the most exciting life imaginable. Though he does travel, he also spends a good deal of time on his own, in his cave or living as a he
...more
Caroline
Aug 15, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a testament to Mary Stewart's skill as a writer that this second installment in her Merlin trilogy doesn't flag or fail at any point, despite the fact that, arguably, not much happens. This book covers the years from Arthur's birth to his acclamation as High King, years spent in obscurity at the court of Ector, years most retellings of the Arthurian legend skip over in a few paragraphs.

One of the things I like about this version of the legend being told from Merlin's point-of-view is the su
...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
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More about Mary Stewart...

Other Books in the Series

Arthurian Saga (5 books)
  • The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1)
  • The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3)
  • The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga, #5)

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“Every life has death and every light has shadow. Be content to stand in the light and let the shadow fall where it will.” 2293 likes
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