cover image Hunting with Gods: The Merlin Prophecy, Book 3

Hunting with Gods: The Merlin Prophecy, Book 3

M.K. Hume. Atria, $16 trade paper (258p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1516-2

Hume’s post-Roman, pre-Arthurian cycle concludes with a complex tale of warfare and woe. After years of traveling in the Continent, the accomplished healer Myrddion Merlinus and his companions return to Britain, hoping their homecoming will be one of peace and safety. Instead, Myrddion is immediately pressed into service, first under the noble High King Ambrosius and later under Ambrosius’s brother, the violent and treacherous Uther Pendragon. To keep Britain safe from the Saxon invaders, Myrddion compromises his honor and does despicable things. Hume’s narrative detachment makes it difficult to sympathize with any of the characters. The women are particularly ill-treated, and the men have streaks of misogyny appropriate to the era but discomfiting for a modern audience. Hume’s depiction of a Britain just after Rome’s rule has ended is fascinating, however, and the details of the setting make the historical world more compelling than any of the characters. Fans will be glad to see more of Merlin’s tale, but others may find the “exercise of cold-blooded slaughter” too brutal to enjoy. (Aug.)