Monday, April 21, 2008

Full blurb for The Crystal Cave

Most of the blurbs we've posted on the Novels page for each book come from the jackets of the William Morrow hardcovers, the first editions published in the US. They're much more complete than those put on paperbacks and reissues, and I think they're very nicely written and do an excellent job of matching the tone of the books.

Of course, that meant we had to locate a copy of each edition with dust jacket intact, not always an easy thing to do. A few weeks ago I finally located a hardcover copy of The Crystal Cave with a jacket, so I've posted the fuller blurb to the website. Yay for library sales. Here it is:
Almost everyone knows Merlin as the dark, brooding figure mysteriously associated with Camelot and King Arthur’s court.

But who, really, was Merlin? Was he the enchanter of fairy tales, the magician in the black robe and pointed hat and wand? Or was he the king and prophet of old legends of Brittany and Wales? How did a man reputed to be the bastard son of the Prince of Darkness, and condemned to death as a child of the Devil, become the chief architect of the first united Britain?

Mary Stewart’s answers to these provocative questions form a spell-binding novel that catapults the reader into fifth-century Britain – a land uncertainly emerging from Roman rule and divided by conflicting loyalties, political and spiritual; a land riddled with rumor real and planted, and spear-alert with superstitious fear.

Into this strange world was born Merlin, bastard son of Niniane, daughter of the King of South Wales, and an unknown father. The novel opens in Wales when Merlin is seven, and closes in Cornwall, at Tintagel, with the begetting of Arthur.

Mary Stewart is one of the most widely read novelists writing today. Her great gift as a storyteller, her enviable flair for making places and action come alive have never been more clearly defined than in The Crystal Cave.

This is not a story to be read once, however eagerly, and then forgotten. Its imaginative truth will stand the test of time.

We are still missing Morrow blurbs for Madam, Will You Talk, Thunder on the Right, Airs Above the Ground, and The Moon-Spinners. If anyone has hardcover copies of any of these and wants to transcribe the blurb and send it to us, we'd greatly appreciate it.


MaryK said...

Madam, Will You Talk? (William Morrow, USA 1956) blurb:

This will introduce an exciting new author who writes English for Americans with taste.

Mary Stewart has a keen wit, a zest for adventure, an eye for the details that turn "characters" into interesting memorable people. From a standing start, she leads you on a swift, breathless chase that turns this quiet story into a perfectly splendid novel of suspense.

Her setting is the south of France. Two young Englishwomen arrive on vacation, expecting a conventional holiday. They are Charity Selborne, an extravagantly lovely war widow, and her amusing, irreverent artist friend, Louise Cray. The enchanting vista of Provence delights them, and Charity is pleased to make her first conquest, a young man of thirteen who is having trouble with his dog.

The young man introduces himself and Charity is charmed . . . until she senses terrible maturity behind his grave eyes.

From that point on the tension mounts steadily until it reaches breaking point, while the thirsty heat of the Provencal summer, the noise of cicadas, the dust of country roads all contribute to the superb realism of the novel.

There is a fine love affair, but as one English writer remarked, "For once love interest doesn't hold up the story."

In effect, here is a real find.

MaryK said...

Airs Above the Ground (William Morrow, USA 1965) blurb:

Vanessa March, two years married and very much in love, is propelled from London to Vienna by a shocking discovery. In her charge is young Timothy Lacy, who also has an urgent problem to solve.

But what promised to be no more than a delicate personal mission turns out to involve the security forces of three countries, two dead men, a circus and its highly colored personnel, a mysterious Mr. Lee Elliot and - among others - the famous white stallions of Vienna.

The 'airs above the ground' are the beautiful leaps and dancing steps made by the white Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School. They are also the peak points of the story, which happen literally in high places: a terrifying night on the rooftop of Schloss Zechstein; a high-wire act in the Circus Wagner; the fighting finish in the Gleinalp.

With her characteristic flair for description Mary Stewart brings alive the Austrian countryside with its clear air, rolling meadows, onion-topped churches and fairy-tale castles. Her equally characteristic understanding of animals provides her with her finest writing. This is a novel which will bring pleasure to everyone.

MaryK said...

The Moon-Spinners (William Morrow, USA 1962) blurb:

Mary Stewart returns to the Aegean for the scene of her latest novel, which is set in Crete. Although the time is the present, the forces that set the story in motion are as ageless as mankind.

It was the egret, flying out of the lemon grove that started it. Nicola Ferris, impetuous, attractive, and on holiday from the British Embassy at Athens, had arrived in Agios Georgios a day ahead of schedule, and on impulse she followed the path of the bird into the White Mountains.

Blithely savoring her independence from routine and the wild beauty of the countryside, she was quite unprepared for the shock of discovering that the bird was indeed a herald of adventure, "the white stag of fairytale, which, bounding from the enchanted thicket, entices the prince away from his followers and loses him in the forest where danger threatens with the dusk. . . ."

For a "prince" she found - one Mark Langley, an assured young Englishman who for bizarre but all too credible reasons was hiding out in the hills. He was less than pleased to have been discovered - and by a determined female, at that - and sent Nicola packing with the order to keep out of his affairs.

This, of course, Nicola was unable to do, and before long events began pyramiding in an alarming, often perilous fashion to a stunning climax among the fishing boats of Agios Georgios Bay.

Mary Stewart, in her magical way, evokes Crete as she has Provence, Northumberland and the Scottish Hebrides in her earlier books. In addition, there is keen delineation of character and an enviable blend of suspense and romance.

Jennie said...

Wow! Thanks so much, Maryk! You are awesome. :) I'll paste these onto the site soon. The blurbs that are currently there for these three are each about 2 sentences long--these give a much better summary.

Thanks again!

MaryK said...

You're welcome! I have Thunder on the Right somewhere, but it's hiding from me. If I find it, I'll let you know.