Merlin's Godson/Merlin's Ring Critical Essays

H. Warner Munn


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Merlin’s Godson and Merlin’s Ring constitute the major work of H. Warner Munn. “King of the World’s Edge” was one of Munn’s first stories, and Merlin’s Ring represents his later work. These two novels constitute a fascinating contribution to both Arthurian literature and the fantasy genre as a whole. Although fantasy writers such as Lin Carter have praised Munn’s work, his novels are not as well known as other books dealing with the legend of King Arthur. These novels deserve high praise for Munn’s flawless combination of mythical and historical figures and for his powerful portrayal of two lovers separated time and again by circumstances beyond their control.

Munn creates a world in which readers are confronted by fictional characters moving through and influencing historical events. The legendary figure of King Arthur and the fictional character of Ventidius Varro are set in the historical background of the Roman withdrawal from England and the subsequent Saxon invasions. Similarly, Gwalmachai travels through many realms, in which he encounters various historical figures including Kublai Khan and Joan of Arc. Munn preserves historical accuracy on a scale from large events such as the attempted Mongol invasion of Japan to minor ones such as the multiple murders committed by Gilles De Rais, a close ally of Joan of Arc. This careful attention to detail enables Munn to create a realistic setting that helps...

(The entire section is 498 words.)