The demon Lailoken, as old as time, is tricked by angelic powers, the Fire Lords, and trapped in a human body. He becomes Merlinus, a wandering wise man expert in magic, destined to work for good among humans, opposed by the Furor, Odin. An encounter with the unicorn - a spirit similarly earthbound - brings him to Ygrane, queen of the Celts, and she sets him a task to find her king, a man seen in vision and fated to be her love-match.
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Attanasio continues The Perilous Order of Camelot, the epic fantasy series begun in The Dragon and the Unicorn, with the story of young Arthor on his journey to Camelot. When Merlin discovers that Arthor's only joy is killing, he vows to turn the youth around. Merlinus has fostered the future king of Britain with Kyner, a Celtic chieftain, protected by obscurity from the jealous hatred of the sorceress Morgeu. As Arthor grows to manhood, though, he becomes a twisted creature, loving violence and hating himself. What kind of king will he be?
Arthor, Eagle of Thor, with Merlin's help has claimed the throne of Britain. Already rolling on the roads from Tintagel to Camelot is the great wheel that will become the Round Table. Though he possesses the legendary sword Excalibur, the boy-king "Arthor" discovers that he must earn the respect of the warring lords of Britain before he can truly claim his place at their head. The third volume in Attanasio's epic re-creation of the Arthurian cycle follows young "Arthor" through his first difficult year of kingship.
The boy-king Arthor has beaten back the berserker wolf warriors of the Saxon god, uniting his island kingdom - but at a terrible cost. For the Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper and the magical shield of Britain, has been stolen. Without the Grail's protection, Britain lies parched and barren, a demon-haunted landscape where sulfurous vapors taint the air. To find the Grail, Arthor's mother, Ygrane, must strike a dark bargain with Bright Night, elf-prince of the "pale people", in the hollow hills.