cover image The Return of Merlin

The Return of Merlin

Deepak Chopra / Author Crown Publishing Group $24 (442p) ISBN

The bestselling holistic health guru and popularizer of Indian Ayurvedic medicine plunges into fiction with this oddly engaging, complex tale that grafts Arthurian legend onto a police procedural set in modern England. The story begins in Camelot, as the evil wizard Mordred, King Arthur's banished bastard son, blasts the kingdom to rubble. We then leap into a grimy 20th-century British country town, where police detective Arthur Callum is investigating a case of arson and possible murder. Chopra's conceit, only partly effective, is that Arthurian figures-Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, arch rival Merlin and others-live on through the centuries, secretly assuming the identities or occupying the souls of ordinary people. In addition to these royals, knights and mystics, the plot is replete with dragons, magic, Tarot cards, sacred stone circles, the Holy Grail, Arthur's sword, Excalibur, dreams and spells. As the forces of good and evil do battle, Chopra, with sparkling wit, spiritual insight and a light touch, weaves an inspirational parable imbued with the hope that trust, love, empathy and awareness will one day supplant fear, hatred and ignorance. This is a bold, occasionally brilliant retelling of Arthurian lore, at once livelier and less pedantic than the comparable The Celestine Prophecy but still inflected with Eastern wisdom and with Chopra's New Age perception of the temporally interconnected universe posited by quantum physics. Major ad/promo; simultaneous Random House Audio; author tour. (July)