Blades of Valor (Merlin’s Immortals #4) by Sigmund Brouwer
Blades of Valor is the final book in the Merlin’s Immortals series. The series itself does not take place in Merlin’s time, but 1,000 years later in 1313. The first three books in this series are: The Orphan King, Fortress of Mist, and Martyr’s Fire . From what I’ve read in other reviews, the four books are based on a book Brouwer wrote on an adult reading level: Magnus. The series was re-written for youth ages 8-12. This is an appropriate series to appeal to that age group as well as carrying appeal for anyone else who enjoys medieval fiction. Blades of Valor is best read as part of the series rather than as a stand alone book because it picks up immediately where book three leaves off and refers to the events of the earliest books.
Like the other ones in the series, this book is packed with non-stop action and suspense. Thomas of Magnus flees England where he had briefly ruled the kingdom island of Magnus, only to have his life threatened by Druids posing as Priests of the Holy Grail. Friends helped him escape. He has finally arrived in Acre, the city of the knights’ last stand in the era of the Crusades. But even in Acre assassins followed him and attacked his hiding place along with Katherine and Sir William. After many life threatening events eventually Thomas is faced with doubts as to whom to trust. He has caught Katherine, Sir William and Lord Baldwin in deceptions that leave him as distrustful of them as they are of him. How he tackles this quandary draws us further into the story and earns the respect of the reader for Thomas’ intellect.
It is obvious in this series that the Druids and Merlin’s Immortals are locked in a secret battle against each other, but it isn’t evident until the very end of the book how large and sweeping the scope of this conflict really is. Apparently Thomas holds the key to a treasure both groups have sought for centuries. He does not know what the treasure could be until all clues lead him to what and where it is. At that point, the scope broadens from a regional skirmish, territorial claims and petty political disagreements to continental and even world wide significance, and from natural to spiritual in nature. Truly good is pitted against evil and the consequences of failure on either side is enormous.
Blades of Valor along with the others in the series is exciting to read and well worth owning. Back when I was homeschooling my children, this would have been a great series to read for its attention to historical detail, the captivating way the author develops Thomas’ character over the time allotted by the series, and for its ability to capture the readers’ attention through the author’s writing style. He knows how to keep everyone in suspense and the way he write encourages his readers to speculate about the upcoming events.
This book also reveals that the series is not so much a fantasy series for which it appears in the three earlier books, but a historical series. The Druids and Merlin’s Immortals are revealed as being completely human, but with knowledge that made them appear to the common ordinary person of those times to be supernatural. Thus the true fight was between ignorance and knowledge. Keeping the people from education and learning translated to power over the superstitious. It is an ageless battle that is as relevant today as it would have been a thousand years ago, even many thousands of years ago. This additional insight makes Brouwer’s books appealing for older readers.
Because of some of the violence and implied violence within this volume, I would caution parents of younger children to use discretion in reading. I arbitrarily categorize this book as more of a thriller and suspense than an action and adventure book. There is plenty of action and adventure, but the upgrade is just a warning of the increased intensity of the material. I still highly recommend this book to those who love medieval fiction and historical literature with a hint of fantasy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Waterbrook Press and the website, Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This trailer of the first book, Orphan King, applies to the final book of the series.