Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Merlin #3

The Fires of Merlin

Rate this book
There has never been a magic like Merlin’s, and T. A. Barron reveals how the legend was born in his adventure-loving five-book epic featuring the heroic young wizard and his unforgettable band.

To celebrate the epic, which has sold over a million copies, Philomel has created a stunning paperover-board edition with fantastical new cover art by Justin Sweet to enchant and enthrall a whole new generation of readers!

272 pages, Hardcover

First published September 28, 1998

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

T.A. Barron

67 books1,239 followers
T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the winner of the de Grummond Medallion for “lifetime contribution to the field of children’s and young adult literature” and many other awards. T. A. Barron is the author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books, many of which are international bestsellers. They include The Lost Years of Merlin (now being developed into a feature film), The Great Tree of Avalon (a New York Times bestselling series), The Ancient One (the tale of a brave girl and a magical tree), and The Hero’s Trail (nonfiction stories of courageous kids).

Though he’d dreamed as a young man of becoming a writer, he couldn’t find anyone to publish his first novel. He joined a successful business, eventually became president, then decided to try again. So in 1990, he surprised his business partners by moving back to Colorado to become a writer and conservationist.

In 2000, he founded a national award to honor outstanding young people who help their communities or the environment: the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors 25 highly diverse, public-spirited kids each year. He recently produced a documentary film, Dream Big, profiling seven winners of the Barron Prize. When not writing or speaking, T. A. Barron serves on many boards including Princeton University, where he helped to create the Princeton Environmental Institute, and The Wilderness Society, which recently honored him with its highest award for conservation work. His favorite pastime is hiking, camping, or skiing in Colorado with his family.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,449 (37%)
4 stars
3,469 (37%)
3 stars
2,011 (21%)
2 stars
271 (2%)
1 star
62 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews
Profile Image for Kayla.
57 reviews4 followers
November 21, 2017
Another solid five star novel.

I wish I had started counting in book one how many times Merlin has been knocked unconscious. By the end of book three we are over ten for sure.

I love that this series has many strong female characters and is not centred around romantic interests.
Profile Image for Karine SIMON.
675 reviews
August 19, 2013
Je tiens tout d’abord à remercier, une nouvelle fois, les éditions Nathan, pour m’avoir permis de découvrir ce roman, en avant-première. Je me suis une nouvelle fois régalée, avec les aventures du jeune merlin, sur l’Ile de Fincayra.

Merlin qui manque encore de confiance en lui, et doute encore de pouvoir devenir un puissant enchanteur, va devoir dans ce tome, affronter un terrible dragon. En effet, Valdearg qui avait été plongé dans un sommeil profond depuis de longues années. Mais pourquoi s’est il réveillé ? Apparemment, le dragon est persuadé que ses petits ont été assassiné par Merlin. Comment va-t-il pouvoir lui prouver son innocence, ou dans le cas contraire le combattre et survivre alors, que quelqu’un lui a dérobé ses pouvoirs avec un terrible sortilège.

La première partie de ce roman concerne le voyage de Merlin, accompagné de Rhya, vers la cité des nains. Merlin doit s’y rendre rapidement pour aider ce peuple, qui est menacé par Valdearg. J’ai trouvé cette première partie, un peu longue, et je dois dire que je m’y suis un peu ennuyée. Il ne s’y passe pas grand chose, et Merlin m’a quelque peu agacé, par son ignorance, ou ce qu’il ne voyait pas, alors que moi, lectrice, je le voyais comme le nez au milieu de visage. Je l’ai trouvé un peu trop naïf.

Par contre, à partir de la deuxième partie, les choses se corsent pour lui, et l’histoire commence réellement à s’étoffer, j’ai tout simplement adoré ! Il y a de nouveaux personnages, dont font partis Hallia et son frère. Ils sont très proche, et vont aider Merlin dans sa quête. On y retrouve certains personnages des précédents tomes. Il y a de l’aventure, des péripéties, du suspens, de la magie, bien sur ! Il ne s’agit plus simplement d’un voyage, mais bel et bien d’une vraie quête, pour notre apprenti enchanteur.

J’ai aimé ce livre, même si la recette reste quelque peu identique au roman précédent. J’espère voir évoluer rapidement le personnage de Merlin, vers un personnage gagnant en assurance, et un peu plus attentif à ce qui l’entoure. Voilà pour les points négatifs. Par contre l’auteur a su réinventer un autre scénario, en créant d’autres créatures magiques, de nouveaux personnages. L’écriture de ce livre est toujours aussi agréable, et c’est avec un plaisir certain que je lirai la suite, qui est prévue pour février 2014.

Ce livre a été publié aux Editions Nathan en Août 2013.

6,283 reviews67 followers
January 2, 2020
Une autre aventure passée en compagnie du jeune Merlin. D'un point de vue individuelle, chaque aventure est divertissante, intéressante et contient suffisamment d'action pour accrocher un jeune lecteur. Par contre, l'éternel enjeu du temps trop court pour arriver à accomplir ça quête, et finalement le temps de faire beaucoup trop de choses en ce lapse de temps trop court, devient un peu ennuyeux et inutile. De plus, au niveau de la série, l'histoire globale évolue assez peu, trop peu à mon avis d'un tome à l'autre. Cela demeure une série que j'aime bien, qui se lit rapidement et que je vais certainement mener à terme, mais qui malheureusement contient quelque petite imperfection qui lui font perdre une étoile.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Bring My Books).
649 reviews140 followers
March 10, 2017
Really enjoyed the third installment in this series, and I love that they've added another strong female character - Hallia was lovely in every sense of the word, but also not someone I would want to be on the wrong side of!

Excited to continue and see what else is in store for Merlin!
22 reviews
January 16, 2019
The Raging Fires is the third book in T. A. Barron’s Merlin series. This is a good book, though it is a short read. I would recommend it to tweens and younger teens. It may get boring to older teens. Barron did a good job introducing new and unique characters in different ways. The ending is nice and concludes the book well. The plot is sort of boring, and the main character gets knocked out a lot. Other than that, it is a great book and very well written.
Profile Image for Benjamin Thomas.
1,965 reviews282 followers
November 21, 2014
The "Lost Years of Merlin" series is not a must-read series of books for Arthurian scholars nor for fans of Merlin, in general. It is not part of any 'canon' nor does it purport to be the definitive story of Merlin's youth. What it is, however, is a nicely done story, told in a pleasing way and aimed at the YA market. The author does do a good job of recycling some Welsh history and legend as well as tell a fine story.

I had read the first two books quite a few years ago, back when my children were the target audience for this series. But I never did finish up the set and so when I was perusing my shelves for a quick weekend read, I remembered them fondly and chose to dive into this third book.

This is the middle book of a 5-book series but I didn't get any of that "filler" feeling that sometimes accompanies middle books. This is a nicely-paced fantasy adventure, featuring a 14-year-old boy in the land of Fincayra, an "in-between" place before Avalon and a land shrouded in a veil of mist. Lots of traditional fantasy tropes are at play, including a prophecy that would lead you to believe there is just no way out for the hero other than to fight the good fight and die, thereby saving the rest. Just how that prophecy actually plays out, of course, is the basis for the plot. But there are also dwarves and dragons and taverns and forests, and deer-people (weredeer?) and all kinds of assorted fantasy characters and settings.

That probably sounds a bit saccharin for most readers...and it is. There is danger and peril, and some good characters don't make it out alive so it's not exactly a fairly tale for 6-year olds. (Although I do remember some Brothers' Grimm stories that were rather...grim). This story, like the others in the series, is a Nice story. By that I mean the good guys are completely good and noble and forgiving, etc. while the bad guys are pretty much just bad. Now we all know that there is good and evil in everybody and quality literature for adults usually involves characters who are a good mix of the two. I had the chance to meet the author several years ago at a book signing and he is just about as nice a person that there can be. I'm not sure he would have it in him to write a conflicted main character that has a little bad mixed in with the good. But that's all right because this series is aimed at younger readers so I think it is just right for that audience. And this old timer quite enjoyed it as well.
150 reviews2 followers
September 21, 2019
Well I might have to eat my boot. Not only was the plot relatively well-paced (now that I've gotten used to every book starting with a prophecy that will be completely explained by the end, this one wasn't so jarring), the character development was—well there actually was character development, for one thing, and it was consistent. The "romance" (age-appropriate) subplot was not nearly as intrusive and dumb as I expected it to be; I'd even go so far as to say it was almost tasteful, at least for what this is (the Merlin/Hallia "romance," not the Elen/Cairpré romance which is a little creepy and just kind of obnoxious in how it's written about). I still find most of Merlin's redundant, self-pitying internal monologues to be incredibly annoying, but I actually have hope now that I might come out the other side of this not hating this series.
Profile Image for Bücherwurm.
157 reviews1 follower
June 1, 2021
Wieder eine spannende, gefährliche, und traurige, aber auch Freude schenkende Reise mit Merlin. Das Vorwort des Autors ist absolut lesenswert, denn er holt uns dadurch direkt mit in die Geschichte rein. Man hat das Gefühl, er spricht uns selber an und erst durch sein Geschriebenes erzählt Merlin selbst über sein Abenteuer.
"Um die Wahrheit zu verstehen, muss man hören, nicht nur sehen."
Profile Image for Jf Li.
9 reviews
May 23, 2017
Brilliantly written. I loved this book a lot. If you liked the Lord of the Rings or the Inheritance Cycle, than you must read it.
29 reviews
May 10, 2017
Bk. 15
The book started with Merlin and his family in their home in the forest. Merlin, as he tries to play the magical instrument he created is interrupted by a message from the dwarf leader Urnalda, instructing him to repay his debt by helping them with the dragon that had awoken. Merlin is forced to travel there and assist, but when he gets there he is ambushed and the dwarves still his powers. He is rescued by the deer-people, and they explore the area, then run into the hag Domnu. But as he continues, he discovers the reason for the rage of the dragon, and he is forced to continue on and confront the terrorizing "wings of fire".

These are the examples of literature: "While her air draped her shoulders like a mantle of sunlight." This is talking about Merlin's mother, as she steps out of there tree to hear him play. "Slowly, slowly, it lifted, like the head of a worm edging out of an apple." This is describing his magical psaltery as it is beginning to tune itself. "Spinning slowly, they floated toward us, like a vast flock of butterflies returning home." This is describing the leaves of many trees, soaring toward his instrument. "His face had hardened, like a craggy cliff, yet it showed the shadowed lines of his fear." This is speaking of Cairpre's expression after they are warned of the dragon. "We stood as still as the charred scraps of my musical instrument." This describes Merlin and his friends reaction after they are told the prophecy of Merlin and the dragon.

Once again, I really liked this book. The series is continuing really well, with a great plot line like the others. It leads well off of the last to, and also connecting to the story of King Arthur. It had a great set of characters, with amazing descriptions that really made them come to life. I think it really is an amazing series, I would definitely suggest it.
Profile Image for Courtney Giraldo.
158 reviews1 follower
August 2, 2018
When the long sleeping dragon, Wings of Fire, is awakened and threatens to destroy the entire land of Fincarya, Merlin is tasked with defeating him to restore peace and order. Merlin is still developing and learning his skills and talents with magic and an ancient prophecy predicts his demise if he faces the dragon in battle. Filled with trepidation, Merlin sets off to locate the dragon and defend the land he now calls home. Along the way Merlin encounter other lethal foes, fiercely determined to provide him with a disadvantage against the dragon, and some worse, kill him outright.  Merlin must face not only formidable foes, but an inner struggle with his own mortality and magic. Can Merlin defeat Wings of Fire and save Fincayra, or will the dragon be the death of both Merlin and the land?

Another captivating read from Mr. T.A. Barron! This one takes us on so many twists and turns in Merlins quest to defeat Wings of Fire (because of course it does, does ANYTHING ever go straightforward and smooth for Merlin?). There was plenty of trickery, sabotage, and deceit to keep me guessing. One thing I really have come to expect and love with these books is the vast array of unusual and exciting new characters, and this one was no different. The deer people were fascinating to read about (I hope to see more of them in the future). Barron has a way of writing these characters that leaves me longing to roam the lands of Fincayra to meet and befriend them; to maybe be given a piece of magical antler and dash across the meadows and leap up mountains myself as a deer. *sigh* For now I suppose I will be content to be swept up in the words and pages of his books. 
303 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2018
Merlin must face the evils of Fincayra without his magical powers. The Kreelix have been awakened and are not only seeking to destroy all magic but magical creatures including the dragon eggs of Wings of Fire. Merlin feels as though he is the only one who can defeat the now awake dragon just as his Grandfather did, but wonders how he will do it since he has lost the Galator, his staff, his liar, and his powers.

Rating: PG

Like the others so far in the series, I feel like we spend alot of time on Merlin's angst. We know that he has many things to overcome, but often the story gets bogged down in his feeling sorry for himself or the hopelessness of it all. In the end, I enjoy the story line am happy with filling in a childhood that would explain such a powerful wizard as Merlin. But sometimes....

ps. Enjoy Kevin Isola as a narrator. He brings the characters to life. (Including a very large dragon whose voice left me hoarse just listening to him!)
Profile Image for Valerie.
43 reviews4 followers
December 6, 2017
Ich liebe es mir die Bücher von T. a. Barron aufzuheben, es ist immer wieder wahrlich eine Freude.
Er beherrscht es wie kein anderer den Menschen mit der Natur und den Lebewesen die diese Bevölkern, zu verbinden. Das ganze geschieht jedoch so unterschwellig liebevoll, so das man die Liebe zur Natur in jeder Zeile und jedem Satz liest. Auch was seine Figuren angeht, so sind sie spürbar mit viel Vorsicht und Liebe gestaltet. Keiner von ihnen ist ein Held wie man ihn erwartet, gerade Merlin ist es nicht. In seinem handeln und denken, bekommt man das Gefühl einer wirklich Person gegenüber zu stehen, gebeutelt von Schuldgefühlen und so menschlich, aber gleichzeitig so weise wie ein alter Mann. Jede Seiner Prüfungen ziehen ihre Verbindungen zu seiner Umwelt und zur Natur. Es handelt sich hier nicht, um ein Kinderbuch, sondern viel mehr um ein Tief philosophisches Werk.
Es ist mir somit immer wieder eine Freude diese Reihe weiterzulesen und ich bin gespannt auf die weiteren Teile.
8 reviews
September 23, 2018
"The Fires of Merlin" by T.A. Barron set in the magical land of Fincayra is a story about Merlin and his journey to defeat Valdearg, a dragon. I found this book from reading the earlier books in the series and plan on finishing the series.

Merlin is on a journey to defeat Valdearg in order to restore peace to the lands of Fincayra. Not only does he have to deal with a dragon he also has to worry about an organization who hates and tries to kill wizards. These wizards use creatures called Kreelixes to steal a wizards power and leave them vulnerable.

I thought how the book ended was rather sad but joyous for Merlin lost a newly found friend but regained something he lost. My favorite part of this book was when Merlin transformed into a deer and told how differently things were as a deer.

I thought the book was good. Similar books are the other books of this series or any other fantasy type book. Readers who would enjoy this book are those who love magic and fantasy books.
Profile Image for Lynn Wallace.
Author 2 books26 followers
January 19, 2021

I can think of two great examples of backstories in the literary world. One is T. A. Barron’s Merlin series. These five books trace the origin of the great wizard Merlin – made so famous in the stories of King Arthur – starting from his early life as a young man. For me, it was fascinating to discover a version of Merlin without a long white beard or wizard’s robes. I loved watching the various skills he acquired, his romance with the deer woman Hallia, his relationship with his sister, etc. In fact, just seeing him as a young man, uncertain and still learning (as opposed to the king’s wisest advisor) was entirely refreshing.

I have more to say on this book (and others!) in my blog! Read it here:
Profile Image for Kurtis Vanderpool.
Author 2 books7 followers
June 22, 2021
Barron does a great job infusing meaningful messages into his stories, and I love the characters. The problem is the pacing. It’s too fast, too sporadic, too spread out. Merlin always seems to go on multiple adventures all crammed into one week. It’s exhausting and robs us of a lot of character and plot development that makes stories rich and inviting.

I will keep reading this series however, because I love the way he conveys meaning into his stories rather than the age old “peace through victory” narrative of most fiction.
Profile Image for Jay Wright.
1,557 reviews3 followers
April 4, 2021
I rarely give a 5. This is a heartwarming story where Merlin comes into his own. His Grandfather's archenemy has returned and has attacked the dwarves. It is an old dragon. Merlin is afraid to face him, but controls those fears. Then he loses his magic and discovers the everyday magic of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to the book. Simply, if you want a good coming of age story, this is one. It is teen friendly.
Profile Image for Judine Brey.
691 reviews2 followers
October 2, 2022
I liked this origin story better than I was anticipating, given that it's the middle of a five-book series. However, the moments of magic are well-drawn, and the descriptions make me want to continued reading. I appreciated how Merlin's relationships were drawn, but I wished I had known a couple of the back stories. I think the book will make more sense once I read its predecessors.
Profile Image for Christina.
312 reviews2 followers
January 14, 2021
My nine year-old would give this all the stars. As the out loud reader of this, the third Merlin series we've read together in recent months, I am weary of the format. But I shall persist because said nine year-old is raring for #4. It is already on request from the school library.
Profile Image for Yani.
62 reviews36 followers
May 2, 2022
TA Barron redeemed himself,in my eyes, with this book. While the second book in the series drove me insane with how much Merlin whined, this one was fast paced, and entertaining it was. I loved the new characters and the storyline.
Profile Image for Ellerim Namhar.
94 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2023
Not remarkable but enjoyable for any Arthurian fans out there although no Arthur. Keep in mind I accidentally read this book before the others but I understood it pretty well. I feel like I would have liked this if I were younger
Profile Image for James Biser.
3,039 reviews17 followers
July 10, 2023
This is another good chapter in the story of Merlin. He loses his power and works to find it again. He also associates with deer and learns the secrets of their nature. His character is stronger than magic.
Profile Image for Bethany Wade.
97 reviews
October 4, 2017
"A dragon craves life, devours it. Swallows it in great, heaping mouthfuls. He is not slain easily--and does not die tranquilly. He resists..."
Profile Image for Chris Seltzer.
504 reviews2 followers
July 1, 2020
Easily the most forgettable of this first 5 book arc. Seemed like mostly a transitional book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 128 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.