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Stormy Petrel and Thornyhold are both later books written after Touch Not the Cat and I didn't think that they were as good as the earlier ones which make up most of the set, which is fantastic value for money.
Madam Will You Talk is the first and having re-read it last year, I enjoyed it just as much as when I first read it in the 1970's!
I adored The Crystal Cave and credit it for my passion for the 'real' Arthur of the 4th or 5th century rather than the Medieval version in Camelot.
You certainly have a good few hours of enjoyable reading ahead of you.

Ruth M.

I've been a Mary Stewart fan since my sister brought one of her books home in high school, which is way more years ago than I'm telling. I agree with LizF's assessment, but any of her books is a treat to read. The Merlin books (called a trilogy, but isn't there a fourth one?) are above and beyond the others, altogether a cohesive, comprehensive labor of love, lore and imagination. I might just have to re-read them in front of the fireplace this winter. Thanks for the inspiration. And do enjoy!


I am still struggling to finish Touch Not the Cat! It's the only Mary Stewart novel I haven't enjoyed - I read The Ivy Tree recently for its Northumbrian setting and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I loved the Merlin books. And Thornyhold is one of my comfort reads, a wonderful evocation of a house.

Barbara MacLeod

Yes! That's the house ... and the garden ... and the view! I thoroughly enjoyed the 25 minute interview! What a lady! So articulate and, as she says, she's always been a story-teller.


She's great, isn't she! I was delighted to find that, and very taken with Lady Stewart.

Margaret Powling

I have enjoyed all of Kate Morton's and Rachel Hore's novels, but if I have to choose, Rachel Hore's are just ahead of Kate Morton's. I will say, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed Kate's latest, The Secret Keeper, which involved three time zones: WW2, the 1960s and the present.
I do not think Mary Stewart a great writer, but she's one who has stood the test of time. I have enjoyed Stormy Petrel and Airs Above the Ground although even when I read it, years and years ago, I thought it a little bit far-fetched, which it is of course. But that doesn't make it any the less enjoyable. Suspension of belief is what we sign up for when we read novels!

Julie Fredericksen

I would add Rose Cottage to your list of later books that do not match up to her earlier body of work.

Julie Fredericksen

From Wikipedia:

Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy refers to the first three of Mary Stewart's quintet of Arthurian novels. It consists of:

The Crystal Cave (1970)
The Hollow Hills (1973)
The Last Enchantment (1979)

They were published under this title in an omnibus volume in 1980 by William Morrow and Company.

Yes, there is a fourth one: The Wicked Day, 1983. I loved the first three and own The Wicked Day, but can't bear to read it because of course I know the end of the story.

Some even consider a fifth book, The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995), to be a part of the Merlin series.


Julie Fredericksen

Karen, you're in for a treat! But - those horrid covers. After I lost all my books in a fire in 1982 I searched used bookstores so I could have the Mary Stewart books in either the original hardcover dust jackets or paperback covers.

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