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The Last Enchantment

(Arthurian Saga #3)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  13,475 ratings  ·  372 reviews
Arthur Pendragon is King! Unchallenged on the battlefield, he melds the country together in a time of promise. But sinister powers plot to destroy Camelot, and when the witch-queen Morgause -- Arthur's own half sister -- ensnares him in an incestuous liaison, a fatal web of love, betrayal, and bloody vengeance is woven.
Paperback, 513 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Harper Voyager (first published 1979)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,475 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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"Here, away from lights and sounds of town or village, the night was deep, the black sky stretching, fathomless, away between the spheres, to some unimaginable world where gods walked, and suns and moons showered down like petals falling. Some power there is that draws men's eyes and hearts up and outwards, beyond the heavy clay that fastens them to earth. Music can take them, and the moon's light, and, I suppose, love, though I had not known it then, except in worship."

There has been nothing mo
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
It is a shame to rate this instalment the same as The Hollow Hills (as I found that book leaden in parts) & less than The Crystal Cave, but I do have good reasons. Bear with me.

I found the first two parts of this novel absolutely enthralling, with Mrs Stewart's trademark lyrical language & description of place. But in Part 3, along with the waning of Merlin's powers, came the waning of the story. I know this was the story of Merlin the Enchanter. But my late parents were musical lover
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third in Mary Stewart's extremely enchanting and brilliant Merlin trilogy, this book is like it's predecessors extremely engaging, magical, thrilling, absorbing and holds you interest. The passion, intrigue, romance, emotion, and the panoramic sweep of events holds your attention throughout
It begins at the beginning of Arthur's reign in Dumpeldyr in Scotland, where King Lot and Arthur's wicked half-sister Morgause reign and sexual encounter with Morgause.... Following the narrative through t
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
The Last Enchantment is Mary Stewart’s third installment in her Arthurian novels, and the last of the trilogy that centers around the character of Merlin. In her inimitable way, Stewart gives us the final days of Merlin and brings us full circle to the beginning of The Crystal Cave, in which we are introduced to an old man setting out to tell his tale of wonder in service to his god.

Arthur, now King of all Britain, must deal with all the obstacles to his reign that have become so much a part of
Sotiris Karaiskos
The third book of the series, essentially the book that closes Merlin's trilogy. In this we generally follow the well-known story, although because of the nature of the series so far we are following the events mainly from a distance, with the exception of some very important moments where the magician of our story is directly involved. On the one hand, of course, that does not mean very good things, since essentially very important pieces of King Arthur's story that have even some historical ba ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I've been reading this King Arthur series over and over since I was a teenager. I love it so much, I have a hard time reading any other version of the King Arthur tale. The series is written from the viewpoint of Merlin.
John Porter
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
And now a happy story.

I read the original Merlin trilogy pretty much when it came out...I was 10 when I read The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills, and had to wait until I was 16 before Mary Stewart put out this book, the final book of the (then) trilogy. And what I remember was being disappointed in The Last Enchantment. It seemed like an afterthought, and a muddled one at that.

So, okay, fast forward--I couldn't sleep a couple of nights ago, and I wolfed down The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hil
I tried very hard to get into this book. It was so hard. I think that it ended up ending in a weird place and after going forward and reading “The Wicked Day” I really wish that Stewart had ended this book better to just stay away from continuing the Arthurian saga.

There is really not much to say that I haven’t said in the other books. I like Merlin as a narrator, but everyone else is given very little development. The book starts to feel repetitive after a while. The only new thing in this one
The Last Enchantment really suffers the most from the fact that it’s written from the point of view of a supporting character. Merlin’s an epic, iconic figure, but he’s not Arthur — and this version emphasises this even more, with Arthur’s seemingly endless heroism, patience, temperance and sensitivity. I love the Arthurian story too, but it feels like Stewart shielded almost all the characters from harm — even, in this case, some of the female characters, despite the misogynistic to ambiguous t ...more
debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
Getting back to this with the Mary Stewart group. July 2018

Oooo! This is the best of the 3 for me. Full review to follow. Very satisfying read.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arthurian, fantasy
I have to disagree with Landon's review of this novel, as I think it misses the point. This is not a series that's particularly interested in the great doings of Arthur and his knights. It is interested in depicting the way people relate to each other within a framework set by prophecy.

The first three stories in this series are told from Merlin's perspective. Although Merlin cares about the outcome of the battles, his powers let him know that they will turn out alright. He's also not worried ab
So much for this binge; now I'll have to settle down and catch up on required reading. But it's been lovely. This, like vols. 1 and 2, is a very satisfying retelling of the story of Arthur from Merlin's point of view. Such a nice rereading to start the year! Even if you've read the series, do listen to the audio. Story and narrator combine for a fabulous experience.
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This third book of Mary Stewart's "Merlin Trilogy", The Last Enchantment has proven to be my favorite of the set. I tend to judge the books I read by the style of book it is and how well it meets my expectations for the genre. For example, a really good adventure/thriller novel makes me want to keep reading faster and faster to get to the, hopefully, satisfying conclusion. A good mystery may make me read a bit slower to make sure I'm not missing some vital clue along the way. The Last Enchantmen ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
For me this was 3.5 stars rounded up for the beautiful imagery and ponderous beauty of Merlin's thoughts and "hibernation" period quite after Arthur's reign has started. It covers numerous events in the Arthurian saga from "outside" Merlin eyes- which is often for/from great distances and context misty. And also it follows Merlin's teaching and mentoring the next "seer" and enchantress.

It was enthralling in parts and also an extremely, for me it was, a difficult read. Because there is so much t
Wayne Barrett
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is part III of the series and a re-read for me.

Arthur has revealed himself and begun to establish himself as King and his half-sister Morgause and established herself as the witch she truly is.

Still a great story and I am off to part IIII.
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this is the correct edition. Mine isn't abridged, but I didn't see the correct one. I think the reader is correct & very good. An excellent end to the trilogy. I know Stewart added another book years later & while I have read it once, I don't really want to listen to it. This is plenty.
Jonathan Donihue
The third of five books in the series and I am thoroughly enjoying them. The writing is poetry and magic abounds.

The young king grows into a man.....The young queen, innocent and wise, dies....and another rises in her place......Friends are enemies and enemies are friends........The spider sucks the last of the life from Merlin but......

Oh, and the love! Light and airy and heavy and filled with wisdom.......And polyamory......Acceptance.....No jealousy.

Just love....

"Rest here, enchanter, while
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian fiction
The Last Enchantment covers the first decade or so of Arthur’s reign. While I found myself enjoying it more than The Hollow Hills, it suffered from the same flaws I found in that book – namely, the second-hand nature of much of the narrative. Nearly everything is related to Merlin by a third party with the exception of Melwas’ abduction of Guinevere and Merlin’s tutelage of Nimuë, whom he believes is a boy in the beginning. Yet even in the latter episode, Merlin spends much of the time in a drea ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone :))
Shelves: myfavorites
Wow, what was that :))), after first-half finished, Mary Stewart make me feel all joy, sadness, happiness, and excitement. Until half of the book, I was thinking I loved this book too, but something was missing if I compare with the first two book and after finished half of this book she gave all the things that was missing and more and more...
I was busy, tried, it was late and I knew I should wake up early after the day but I did go on reading until I finish it because even if I would take a br
Bish Denham
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: myth-legend, fiction
I know I read this trilogy when it first came out, but that was long, long ago in a place far, far away. I had forgotten I loved Mary Stewart's writing. Reading the third book as a stand-alone was easy. I didn't need to know Merlin and Arthur's history to enjoy this book of the last years of Merlin's life as told from his POV.

I loved the detail, which to some might be too much, but to me was beautiful. Every sentence it seems, is packed with nuance of color, sound, smell, sight, feeling, giving
July 2018 group read for the Mary Stewart group.

I really enjoyed this trilogy but wish I had read them straight through because it is hard for me to decide which I preferred. I did not at first realize that it was so focused on Merlin and had hoped for more on Arthur and Guinevere, but now I am happy that it was focused on Merlin. I see him and the Arthur legend much differently now and I love the way Mary Stewart weaves all the many characters and events together. She was a master.
Now, I am r
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Not bad. Stewart makes her characters likeable even the baddies. Merlin is telling the story and so he lets you see every side of the story. I think these books were written in the 70's, however they don't seem dated and I really enjoyed my time with them.
The third installment of the Arthurian Saga tracks the beginning of Arthur’s reign as king and the ending years of Merlin. The pace is quite different than the first two, and the story is sort of away from most of the action going on in Britain. This is due to the fact that Merlin is our main character, and it is told from his perspective, and Arthur is the one going off and making things happen, and while Arthur tells Merlin what is going on when he comes back, we are no longer there first hand ...more
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had a harder time getting through this book than I did the earlier two books on Merlin. Stewart switches gears in this book, and makes it just on Mordred, the bastard son of ARthur and Morgana who was to become Arthur's bane. The book is very good, and the plot is much better than any I've read on Mordred...he isn't a bad man, he doesn't 'plan' Arthur's demise or to betray his's just that fate and mistakes of man have made it so the two men are destined to destroy one another.

In s
Jeanne Johnston
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stewart's ability to portray Merlin as a real person makes for delicious reading, but I think her descriptives of simple scenes is what touches me the most. The herbs he smelled, the lighting, the arc of a raven, the ghost of footprints in the frost... All so evocative and effortless.

Even though my life has been crazy busy and I haven't been able to read my book a day as in times past (gods, have I ever taken this long to finish a book series?), every time I sat to read this, I fell effortlessl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
David Giard
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Last Enchantment" by Mary Stewart concludes the Merlin Trilogy begun with "The Crystal Cave" and "The Hollow Hills".

The story begins just after young Arthur's ascension to the throne of Britain. It covers Arthur's first decade as high king as he battles the Saxons and unites Britain.

But Arthur is a minor character in this novel, as Stewart focuses on Merlin, the king's cousin, mentor, advisor, prophet, and friend.

Arthur is betrayed by both his half-sisters; but we hear much more about Mo
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this series. It has been years since I have thought much about the Arthurian legends, and I really did not know much beyond the barest facts. I always felt that Merlin was more of an evil sorcerer manipulating things in the background than a thoughtful mentor, friend, and father-figure to Arthur. Stewart's telling of the legend from Merlin's perspective has totally changed that perspective. I found Merlin very human, kind, intelligent and the deep and emotional relationship he has ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read the 3 books in this series closer together so they would form a more cohesive narrative, but it seems like this book was quite different from the first two. This book concerns the Le Fey sisters, Nimue, Guinevere and Lancelot and Camelot but ends before Arthur's confrontation with Mordred. I thoroughly enjoyed these books in a way completely separate from Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles. If you want an Arthurian story closer to T.H. White's or just like great storytelling ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • In Winter's Shadow
  • Beloved Exile (Firelord, #2)
  • The Pendragon
  • The Child of the Holy Grail (Guenevere, #3)
  • Sword at Sunset
  • Guinevere: The Legend in Autumn  (Guinevere, #3)
  • The Singing Sword (Camulod Chronicles, #2)
  • The Child Queen: The Tale of Guinevere and King Arthur
  • Shadow of the King (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #3)
  • The Coming of the King (Books of Merlin, #1)
  • Avalon: The Return of King Arthur (The Pendragon Cycle, #6)
  • The Book of Merlyn (The Once and Future King, #5)
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, 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, an

Other books in the series

Arthurian Saga (5 books)
  • The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1)
  • The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2)
  • The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga, #5)
“The essence of wisdom is to know when to be doing, and when it's useless even to try” 27 likes
“A new moon lay on its back, and stars were out. Here, away from lights and sounds of town or village, the night was deep, the black sky stretching, fathomless, away among the spheres to some unimaginable world where gods walked, and suns and moons showered down like petals falling. Some power there is that draws men's eyes and hearts up and outward, beyond the heavy clay that fastens them to earth. Music can take them, and the moon's light, and, I suppose, love, though I had not known it then, except in worship.” 3 likes
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