An Uplifting, Inspiring Magical Fantasy
The Lost Years
by T. A. Barron
Series: Merlin Saga (Book 1)
Paperback Reprint: May 12, 2011
Publisher: Puffin Books
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The Saga begins …
A raging sea tosses a boy upon the shores of ancient Wales. Left for dead, he has no memory, no name, and no home. But it is his determination to find out who he is—to learn the truth about his mysterious powers—that leads him to a strange and enchanted land. And it is there he discovers that the fate of this land and his personal quest are strangely entwined.
Until recently, my only experience with the work of T.A. Barron was Atlantis Rising and its follow up, to be published in May, Atlantis in Peril. Acutely aware that Barron first made his name with the best-selling Merlin Saga, and inspired by the upcoming release of The Wisdom of Merlin, for which I’m helping to roll out the carpet, I decided it was high time I met Merlin.
When The Lost Years begins, we’ve got one up on Merlin — we know his name. And, if you’re even vaguely aware of the myth, you know his future. Yet having washed up on an unfamiliar shore, his head bleeding from having been bashed into the rocks, our young hero knows nothing of himself — neither his name, nor his birthplace. He knows not of his past, of his mother or father. Washed clean of memories, he finds himself accompanied by a beautiful woman named Branwen who tells him his name is Emrys and says that she’s his mother. Branwen, as pained and secretive as she is beautiful, is unwilling to share Emrys’ story with him. As a result, he doubts whether she’s actually his mother. The one thing he knows for certain is that he must have answers about his past. And if Branwen won’t supply them, Emrys will have to find those answers himself. So begins the quest to find himself and his way home…
I forgot to mention that Emrys has mysterious powers. These powers complicate things for him while making him more certain that he needs to find the truth about his identity. He learns that magic is not without consequence, and that it can be as much a curse as a blessing.
As he journeys forth, Emrys makes some interesting friends, human, animal, and otherwise, who teach him important things like how to talk to trees, how to listen and put others first, what it means to sacrifice, and how love can stand against even the fiercest foe. By the end of this chapter of his journey, Emrys has lost the bitterness that accompanied his lack of memory. He’s begun to explore what it means to be himself, and most importantly, he’s learned that his actions and his heart dictate the shape of the man he will become more than his forgotten past or birthright ever could.
There’s something comforting and uplifting about reading a T.A. Barron book. With vivid, descriptive language, Barron brings his fantasy world and its inhabitants to life in a manner that inspires hope and wonder, encourages imagination and compassion, and uncovers the magic and heroism that not only surrounds us in our own natural world, but lives within us. A special kind of magic — a spark — that lies in wait, requiring, in order to ignite, only that we first believe.
Don’t worry. It’s okay if you’re unstudied in Arthurian myth. With his Merlin saga, Barron is simply filling in the gaps in the legends concerning Merlin. So don’t delay, as I did, thinking you must first read Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Snatch up The Lost Years before you lose more years during which you could have been adventuring alongside Merlin.
— Dawn Teresa
4.5 of 5 Hearts. An Uplifting, Inspiring Magical Fantasy.
Pick up a copy of The Lost Years and embark on a journey with Emrys, a young man on his way to becoming the famed Merlin the Magician. Like Odysseus before him, Emrys is not a hero without flaws. He has much to learn. But with the help of some interesting friends and some troublesome foes, he’s on his way to understanding the meaning of words like friendship, love, sacrifice, heroism, and home.