Book II of the Merlin Trilogy
Once again, as she did in her international best seller The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart uses Arthurian legend to tell a spellbinding story.
The Hollow Hills takes place in a fifth-century Britain fraught with superstition and fear, where no life is safe, no law is stable, and where a king risks accusations of murder and adultery to get himself an heir. For his own safety, the boy Arthur, rejected as a bastard by his father, is long kept ignorant of his parentage.
Dangerous rides through the deep forests of England and Wales, sudden battles amidst brooding mountains, and retreats into secret hollows in the hills provide the background for this tale of Arthur's growth into manhood and his discovery of the strange sword that was to test his claim to power.
Behind and around Arthur always is the mysterious, strong, yet vulnerable figure of Merlin, who sees and knows so much but who, like Arthur, must also suffer for the sake of a nation being born. In this world of embattled kings and courtiers, hurried journeys, whispered anxieties, and sudden death, we watch Merlin and Arthur follow their common destiny.
Merlin is the narrator, and his prophetic voice communicates not only the bristling atmosphere of the ancient setting but also the profound relevance of this age-old tale to our own time.
—jacket, William Morrow edition, 1973