Book Review

“The Brotherhood of Merlin” by Rory D Nelson

The Brotherhood of Merlin: Book OneDescription: Five hundred years after the death of King Arthur, a sadistic tyrant of Visi-Galia, attacks unprotected and vulnerable townships in Gilleon, igniting a deadly chain of events. Because he was unfairly denied a proper chance to compete for valuable mine rights and outbid by a Councilman from Gilleon, he reasons that he can invade Gilleon’s vulnerable townships and force the Council to negotiate with him. 
Merlin, the lead knight in Lycenea, has foreseen just such a predicament. With the gifts of premonition, telepathy and intelligence, he and 9 of his most formidable knights go into battle against Jason and his force of nine thousand. 
At stake is everything. The fate of the prisoners who are awaiting to be sold into slavery rests in the hands of the deadly knights. Specifically, two girls who were attacked in Missalia and are now orphaned, are at the mercy of the sadistic King. Will Merlin and his band of knights be able to rescue them in time? 
Adele, the older sister, has plans of her own for escape. Will she prove successful or will her plans be foiled? If she is caught, what will become of her and her sister, Sylvia? 
Dante, a boy from Coifen, is also now orphaned. He is the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family. An unlikely heroine has come to his rescue- a mysterious white wolf. Unfortunately, the attack has left him blind. He and his guardian make their refuge in a remote cave. He clings desperately to the hope that God has spared him for a reason. Every night he goes to bed, he says a prayer to his talisman, the Merlin, a game piece that his father gave him before he was forced to abandon him. It was the last gift he received before all hell broke loose. Will he be rescued? Will he find a permanent haven? His fate also lies in the hands of the Merlin. 
Merlin and his troupe lead the Visi-Gauls in a high stakes game of cat and mouse. Jason, though capricious, is not stupid. He uses every means at his disposal to eliminate Merlin. Who will prove the victor? Fighting a severe war of attrition, it seems at times that Jason will inevitably win; but don’t count the Merlin out. He is beyond slippery. Every time it seems that Jason has the gifted knight, he is thwarted yet again.

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The Brotherhood of Merlin” by Rory D Nelson is an Arthurian fantasy novel detailing an epic battle of Merlin and his brotherhood attacking an army of nine thousand Visi-Gauls.

While I typically love stories of Merlin, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Roundtable, this story wasn’t really the type of book I generally gravitate toward. “The Brotherhood of Merlin” begins with a family whose patriarch seems to be one of Michael’s fallen angels. After the family flees from an attack, the story line drastically shifts to the progress of Visi-Gaul King Jason as his army attacks several villages on his quest to take a port town and the kingdom. The shift in the story was abrupt and confusing, and even once the brotherhood’s path crosses with the boy from the beginning, the two narratives were unnecessary and completely disjointed.

There are many gory battle scenes and graphic descriptions of violence surrounding rape and plunder. These scenes were the only times that Nelson really detailed what was happening and even so, the characters were never properly developed in order to understand where all of the aggression might stem from. King Jason in particular was extremely narcissistic and cruel, but it felt like there were a lot of underlying emotions that could’ve explained and helped to define him. While the battles were gory, albeit repetitive, none of the more mundane interactions that could’ve developed the story merited history, explanation, or detail.

Nelson set up the novel with phrases that might have been attributed to the time period of the knights, but was forced and he struggled to maintain it as the language continuously fluctuated and took on more modern expressions. “The Brotherhood of Merlin” began with a lot of potential, but fizzled out as quickly as the language shifted. Overall, the novel was unrealistic and confusing. It’s poised to be a series, which just makes me wonder why this first installment wasn’t broken down a bit further to make it more coherent and palpable.

Check it out on Goodreads, or buy it on Amazon.

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About the Author:

Rory D Nelson

Author Rory D. Nelson is an accomplished actor and has been seen in several high school productions of “Oedipus Rex,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He owns a window cleaning business in the Sacramento area, enjoys wine tasting, snowboarding, traveling and working out. Rory is an eclectic and prolific writer, having written numerous comedy skits, commercial parodies, and ghost-written many humorous t-shirts. He has the most unusual imagination of any fantasy author, living or deceased.

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*I received this book through Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For additional information about this novel, please visit http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelves/book.php?id=84803 

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