The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

H. Warner Munn’s two novels detail the adventures of the last survivors of King Arthur’s court. Fleeing England, the adventurers travel to North America. After overcoming many obstacles, they establish a new empire they hope will serve as a refuge for the citizens and rulers of Rome. In an effort to communicate with Rome, the ruler of this new empire, Ventidius Varro, sends a message with his only son, Gwalmachai. During a quest that spans centuries, Gwalmachai travels through strange lands, faces immense challenges, and searches for his lover, Corenice.

The first part of Merlin’s Godson, “King of the World’s Edge,” begins with the discovery of a lost manuscript written by Ventidius Varro, a Roman centurion. He describes King Arthur’s final battle and the flight of a small group of survivors from England. Before departing, Myrdhinn (Varro’s name for Merlin) hides Arthur so he can heal and be revived when the time comes for the monarch’s return. Varro and his hundred soldiers then embark on a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. After overcoming several challenges, they reach Alata (Varro’s name for North America).

The fifty survivors of the voyage are taken prisoner by a tribe known as the Chicamecans. During an ambush by their enemies, the Tlapallicos, Varro saves Hayonwatha, the Chicamecan’s leader, which results in an alliance between the Romans and Chicamecans. Hayonwatha takes them to the city of his rulers, the Mias, where they are all held prisoner. With the aid of Merlin’s magic, they escape and slay the Mias’ ruler, Kukulcan, in the process.

Varro and Merlin swear to overthrow the Mias. Their first action is to reunite the five Chicamecan tribes with the help of Merlin’s magic. Searching for allies, Varro and a few comrades travel west, where they discover the Aztecas. Varro becomes their leader after helping the Aztecas defeat a group of attacking Mias. After these alliances are formed, it is not long before the Mias fall beneath the combined power of the Chicamecans and Aztecas. Merlin apparently is slain by a traitorous Saxon, Guthlac.

Varro intends to hold his new kingdom for the Roman empire. He sends his son, Gwalmachai, to deliver an invitation to Rome. Gwalmachai’s first...

(The entire section is 934 words.)