Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Child of the Dark Prophecy (The Great Tree of Avalon, #1)” as Want to Read:
Child of the Dark Prophecy (The Great Tree of Avalon, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Child of the Dark Prophecy (Merlin #9)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,771 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
Long ago, the great wizard Merlin planted the seed that would become the peaceful world of Avalon. Now, though, Avalon is suffering from mysterious droughts. Then the very stars begin to lose their light, and it seems that the Lady of the Lake's dire predictions are about to come true. The fate of Avalon now rests with Tamwyn, a wandering wilderness guide; Elli, an apprent ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Philomel (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Child of the Dark Prophecy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Ebony Ocasio This book is the first Tree of Avalon book. I read it many years ago followed by Shadows on the Stars and Eternal Flame. I think these three books are…moreThis book is the first Tree of Avalon book. I read it many years ago followed by Shadows on the Stars and Eternal Flame. I think these three books are a spinoff of the Merlin story, so they *could be* considered books 9-11. Merlin is referenced in these three books, but you definitely don't need to read books 1-8 to understand these three. Hope that helps!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read my thoughts on my blog, PicaReads:

Snippet from my review:
Overall, I really liked this series, although I wouldn’t recommend reading them back to back in five days. (By the time I got to the middle of the third, I was getting sick of the storyline and needed a break.) The trilogy is a hero’s journey with three interconnecting plotlines that might be a little confusing at first: Tamwyn, a wilderness guide trying to find his brother and his own sense of self; Scr
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written. Barron's characters were strong and felt real (anyone else in love with Scree? XD lol). His flow was a bit slow, though, and I caught my thoughts drifting away every once in a while. Some of his creatures were a bit unbelieveable, too...I forgot the name of the one creature that kept annoying Tamwyn....a boggart, maybe? I dunno. The creature with big hands, circular eyebrows, and a taste for mischief. While I was interested in him enough, I found I couldn't quite believe in hi ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written novel, and this series stands out as one that I used to read over and over again when I was younger. The characters are sympathetic and engaging, and the series is overall a fun read. I remember this being one of my favorite series, but I will have to go back and read it as an adult to see if the series stands up from different perspective.
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
This book was just extraordinary – a great start to what I am confident will be an excellent series! T.A. Barron’s prose is absolutely beautiful – somewhat lofty, but more along the lines of elegant and occasionally didactic. He is still a “modern author” and you can see differences between his style and say, the 50s-60s style of C.S. Lewis or Lloyd Alexander, but he’s pretty close. I’d say Barron and maybe Clare Dunkle come the closest to emulating that style. In other words, his writing is a l ...more
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read one of T.A. Barron's books when I was younger, and it was one of my favorites. When I found this series, I was excited to dive right in. That said, for some reason, it was a slow start for me. It took me 269 pages to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. I think I didn't really connect with the characters at first, and there were too many story lines being introduced to really hold my attention. But once you get all the characters straight, and their stories start convergin ...more
Crystal Ganatra
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Tree of Avalon: Child of the Dark Prophecy was an incredible read. The cover it truly intriguing, in a simple kind of way. The cover is simply an old tree against a brilliant blue sky with stars. In front of the tree, the title and the author's name are a gleaming gold. I loved every moment of the book, every word. Tamwyn, Elli, Brionna, and Scree were amazing characters and I enjoyed learning all about them as they searched for Merlin's staff. This magical story is indeed one I would ...more
Ea Solinas
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T.A. Barron created a sweeping fantasy classic in the "Lost Years of Merlin" series. Now he follows up with a brand new series, taking place eight hundred years after the creation of Avalon -- "The Great Tree of Avalon: Child of the Dark Prophecy," full of magic, chills and humor.

As the book opens, legendary wizard Merlin rescues an orphaned eagleboy from a pair of mercenaries, and gives him to a flamelon woman with a half-human baby. He also leaves his staff with the eagleboy. The boys are rais
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has such a high rating that I'm simultaneously intimidated and confused. The writing is kind of old-fashioned, which is fine, and makes me think that perhaps it's some kind of foundational fantasy classic that I've just never heard of for some unearthly reason? Yes? Maybe? No?

I had high hopes for The Great Tree of Avalon because it has Avalon in the title, and features mythos based on Arthurian figures like Merlin and the Lady of the Lake - just my type of thing. However, I finished it
Lauren C
This review was also posted on my blog The Hobbit of Pemberly Place

I picked up Child of the Dark Prophecy, by T.A. Barron, as a part of a project for my “Teaching Reading” class. We needed to pick several young adult books, a graphic novel, and some other texts (film, other novels, poetry, etc.) that were all based around a theme or genre. Several potential ideas bounced around in my head for a while as I went book surfing on GoodReads and Google. I eventually settled on Arthurian Legend.

This bo
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, fantasy, arthurian
By the end of this book, I rather liked it, though I dislike books written for a younger reading level than the main characters. For example, I would dislike a book if the issues dealt with are clearly 17-year-old issues, but it's written to an audience of 12 year olds. Clearly, the three main characters here are all 17, but the writing was very juvenile. It would fit better in Children's than in Young Adult.

This is not to say that 12 year olds should not read about mature problems like politic
This is one of those books I wish I read as a child. Although T.A Barron creates a fascinating and colorful world, it's obvious that this book was geared towards those a bit younger than myself.

The Good:
This book is about the land of Avalon, envisioned by Barron to be a giant tree with seven realms. Each realm has a special characteristic (woods, water etc.). It's a place that I would certainly like to visit. Each region is unique and vividly described.

The characters are interesting, if a bi
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was nothing like I thought it would be from the cover, which was nice because the cover blurb sounded too clichè. If you liked anything else by T.A. Barron, either the Seven Songs of Merlin quintet, Heartlight, etc, this is a no-brainer. If you've never heard of him... Two brothers were born in the same year, a year a prophecy says two children will be born: the heir to Merlin, and the Dark Child who will destroy the world. Needless to say, people born in that year tended to get killed ...more
Bryce Tim
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Child of the Dark Prophecy is all about the backstory of Merlin, the wizard. The story is Merlin lives in a place called Avalon but has never been seen since he last left. One thing that Merlin left was his staff and only the true heir of Merlin can hold the power. There are hidden symbols on the staff and when the true heir holds it, the symbols will light. The problem is that a dark prophecy was told that a child born in the darkest year of Avalon will soon destroy it. A group of people, Tamwy ...more
Neil Hepworth
Mar 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read 180 out of the 400 pages. What on earth do people see in this book? How does it have such a high rating? I did read that some of the reviewers found the characters to be two-dimensional --understatement of the year. The characters are flat, boring, and spout dialogue fit for a toddler. The plot, what little was divulged in 200 pages, was equally cliched and uber tree-huggery. I just ain't gonna waste any more time.
Ashlin Fletcher
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It quenched my thirst for fantasy, with a dash of old myths, and a little bit of magic. This beautifully written and elegantly spun tale was worth every page of paper it was written on.
Silvio Curtis
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This author's Lost Years of Merlin series was one I started off liking very well way back when. But that was during the early-teen nadir of the quantity and variety of my free reading, and even then I cooled off a bit on the series before I finished, so I wasn't sure what to expect from revisiting the author. Child of the Dark Prophecy starts a new series in the same universe, about a thousand years after the Lost Years books, with a new set of characters, also aimed, as far as I can tell, at th ...more
Lydie Blaizot
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Chose extrêmement rare, j'ai abandonné ma lecture. J'avais aimé le premier tome du premier cycle qui, malheureusement, avait baissé de qualité rapidement, l'auteur reprenant à chaque fois les mêmes ficelles sans vraiment faire évoluer les personnages (au début du livre, Merlin se comportait toujours en imbécile et devenait soit-disant plus sage à la fin, sauf qu'au tome suivant, c'était rebelote). Du coup, je n'avais pas lu le second cycle. Ce troisième cycle, avec des personnages différents, re ...more
Galion Public Library Teens
Review by B.M.: "I feel as though this book was well written with wonderful plot twists. The book was addictive and hard to put down."
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters and a well-paced plot, probably best for 4th graders and above.
Queen Elizabeth of Gondor
Story: 5/5 stars.
Writing: 3/5 stars.
While I loved the story and premise of this book, the way it was written was quite cringy at times, and I can hardly believe that so many run-on sentences made it to publication. Overall I think this book just needed more editing. However, the story was very well developed and the setting was charmingly built.
One small thing in the story that bothered me, though, (view spoiler)
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This book annoyed me for a silly reason, and that was that until I was just over half way through I thought it was called the Great Tree of Avalon and I was confused because I couldn't find the book on Goodreads. Then I searched the author and found out that this book is actually called Child of the Dark Prophecy. I think they should have rethought the cover design, which - although beautiful - is unnecessarily confusing. I also couldn't tell if it was the first book in a series or not - and the ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the legend goes in the book, the wizard Merlin planted a magical seed on a long forgotten island, and that seed sprouted a tree, which would eventually have roots stretching out so far and wide that whole civilizations are built on them, and branches which would reach up to the stars and beyond. I enjoyed it quite a bit. My main qualm with it was that the whole story seemed like a prelude (and indeed T.A. Barron, the author, said that it was merely the first book in a series of three). Thus, ...more
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Synopsis: "THE FATE OF AVALON...

Long ago, Merlin planted a magical seed that grew into the Great Tree of Avalon. And for centuries, Avalon flourished. But Now Avalon reels from brutal attacks, mysterious droughts, and strange evils. And then one night, all the stars in the sky suddenly go dark. Now the fate of Avalon rests with three young people: Tamwyn, a homeless wilderness guide; Elli, an escaped slave turned priestess; and Scree, an eagleman with a secret. One is the true heir of Merlin - t
Jiaqi L
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great of Avalon
T. A. Barron
384 pages

This book is about a fantasized world where a gigantic tree separates the seven realms of a place called Avalon. A prophecy says that for twenty years, the stars of Avalon would go dark and in the seventeenth year, a child would be born to bring the end of The Great Tree. But there is also hope that a child born in the same year would save the tree and that is Merlin's true heir. In the story, there are three main characters named Elli, Tamwyn, and
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wooden dialogue and one-dimensional characters aside, The Great Tree of Avalon is one of the top five books I've ever read. It's a tale with clever and intriguing prose and wonderful character development. From exciting and humorous scenes to the discovery of startling secrets, Avalon is an interesting, thought-provoking ride from start to finish. As the legend goes, the Tree of Avalon was planted ages earlier by the wizard Merlin who tries to oversee the worlds of Avalon and Earth simultaneousl ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritebooks
I read this a long, long time ago and had completely forgotten it until I was searching for good books to buy on Amazon.

Suddenly, these thoughts came into my mind about a book with wizards, fire, a girl with a secret, a giant bird of sorts and a giant nest, and portals. But I couldn't recall the name, or the author, or any of the main characters' names.

I Googled, I searched on the site, nothing.

And then out of the blue the title came to me, and I bought it. It arrived today in a beautiful small,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What is your favorite root? 1 1 Dec 31, 2016 08:04AM  
  • Rise of a Hero (The Farsala Trilogy, #2)
  • Troll Mill (Troll, #2)
  • The Book of Mordred
  • In Camelot's Shadow (The Paths to Camelot, #1)
  • Sword of the Rightful King
  • Wise Woman's Telling (Morgan Le Fay, #1)
  • Grail Prince
  • Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy
  • The Purple Emperor (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, #2)
  • The Excalibur Murders (Merlin Investigation, #1)
  • The Magician's Apprentice
  • The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight (The Squire's Tales, #6)
  • Bright Shadow
  • The Seeing Stone (Arthur Trilogy, #1)
  • I Am Mordred
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 d ...more
More about T.A. Barron...

Other Books in the Series

Merlin (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Lost Years (Merlin Saga, #1)
  • The Seven Songs (Merlin Saga, #2)
  • The Raging Fires (Merlin Saga, #3)
  • The Mirror of Fate (Merlin Saga, #4)
  • A Wizard's Wings (Merlin Saga, #5)
  • The Dragon of Avalon (Merlin Saga, #6)
  • Doomraga's Revenge (Merlin Saga, #7)
  • Ultimate Magic (Merlin Saga, #8)
  • Shadows on the Stars (Merlin Saga, #10)
  • The Eternal Flame (Merlin Saga, #11)

Share This Book