Martyr’s Fire (Book 3 of Merlin’s Immortals) by Sigmund Brouwer
Martyr’s Fire is the third book in the Merlin’s Immortals series. It is a revised and expanded version of The Winds of Light series. I do not know how many books there are in the series, but this is definitely not the final book. While it is an integral part of the whole, this book can be read independently. I have not read any other books from this author as of yet, nor have I read any of the other books in this series. Obviously, there are important events in the first two books that provide a much needed background to fully understand the overall theme. These are alluded to in the Martyr’s Fire, but I was still able to discern enough for this tale to flow smoothly. In addition, I am impressed enough with the author’s writing style that I intend to look for the rest of the books and read them as soon as possible.
The series, Merlin’s Immortals, seems to contain a story within a story. The immediate tale is about Thomas, who is ruler of the city of Magnus; the reader learns later that this city is a lynch pin in the events of the broader story. But Thomas has only ruled for three seasons when a small ragtag group of priests claiming to be the Priests of the Holy Grail enter the city and eventually use
psychology and the superstitions of the uneducated populace to grab the reins of the city from Thomas’ grip. He barely escapes with his life. Before he leaves Magnus, a wizened adviser gives him cryptic instructions to aid in his search for answers to his questions.
Setting out on this quest for information, Thomas is unaware of being watched by two groups of people representing two opposing factions that date back to the time of Merlin. Members of both groups want Thomas to join them, yet at the same time he is not completely oblivious to their presence and the undercurrents of tension. However, sometimes the course of events leave him baffled. Thomas’ fighting skills, previous education and training, the assistance of unseen friends and watchers, and even just dumb luck makes this an intriguing adventure.
I enjoy how the author gives the reader just a tiny bit more information than Thomas has. We get to view his predicaments with a different point of view while admiring how well he extricates himself from one mess after another. Yet we are not given enough information to know all that is occurring. The reader is left trying to understand the undercurrents, just as Thomas is doing. This is all part of great plot and character development; we see Thomas maturing through his ordeals.
I would recommend this book for a wide range of ages. For example, the author employs short chapters and fairly simple vocabulary (about fourth grade level) which makes this book a good choice as a read aloud chapter book for group use such as the classroom, library story time, or family story time. Good readers in the middle grades may like this selection, especially those who would enjoy medieval themes and adventurous activity.
While there are elements of warfare and violence, none of it is grossly graphic. At the most, I would say it could be rated PG. It is a family friendly series, with emphasis on the importance of education, training, inner discipline, mentoring, and the love of God. The pace is quick and would appeal to older readers as well as middle grade readers. The book is less a historical fiction piece and more a tale of fantasy. And finally, because of the complexity of multiple story threads, young adults may find this series appealing. I know as a person that’s young at heart, I enjoyed it.
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.”