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Publisher's Summary

Was Merlin an otherworldly being or just an ordinary mortal with extraordinary powers? Over the centuries there have been many stories about Camelot, but the mystery of the magician who nurtured, trained, and advised King Arthur has remained unexplored. Some have called Merlin a sinister, all-powerful Prince of Darkness. Others have described him as a merely a man, heir to the secrets of the Crystal Cave, possessed of rare and remarkable gifts. In this first part of her trilogy of Arthurian legend Mary Stewart delves into the mystery of Merlin. Visit the strange and mystical world of 5th-century Britain - a time and place made real through the dramatic reading of Nicol Williamson, the acclaimed British actor who played Merlin in the film Excalibur.
©1970 by Mary Stewart (P)1989 Dove Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    89
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    19

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    10

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    87
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica
  • minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 02-11-08

yuck

Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, beginning with this book, is one of the greatest series ever written. It combines the interest of ancient historical fiction with the magic of fantasy brilliantly. There are passages in the story where I would swear I felt as though I were the one on a horse, traveling through the pristine forest. I have read it many times and would be thrilled to have a recording of it. This abridged travesty is disgusting. It is not the story. I would ask all people who love this story as I do to request that Audible attempt to aquire the rights to distribute an unabridged recording. You might also make a request at BBC America or Chivers Audiobooks as they have unabridged recordings that are "out of print".

74 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

What would have made The Crystal Cave better?

Making it UNabridged!

What was most disappointing about Mary Stewart’s story?

I read this book many years ago and was anxious to do so before heading to England recently. I had little time so I decided to LISTEN to it. Unfortunately the recorded version was greatly abridged. The other reviews I read also spoke poorly of it, but I decided to try it anyway. Not really worth the effort. The heart and soul of the book seemed to no longer really be there.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He's a very fine actor, I just didn't feel he made it come alive... but that could have been due to the cuts in the story.

Any additional comments?

no

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Really bad production

What was most disappointing about Mary Stewart’s story?

This is one of my favorite books, and therefore one of the first books I purchased with my audible membership. Unfortunately, the abridgment takes so much out of the story that it is impossible to follow. Also, the production/sound quality is awful.

Any additional comments?

Hopefully, someone else will make an unabridged recording in the future

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Gloria
  • PAYSON, UT, United States
  • 10-27-12

Where is the rest of the book!

What would have made The Crystal Cave better?

so much of the original book is missing in this abridged version that I missed it!

What do you think your next listen will be?

Mists of AValon if it is not abridged

Any additional comments?

don's sell abridged books!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unabridged Version Would be Far Superior

Would you try another book from Mary Stewart and/or Nicol Williamson?

Absolutely! The third in this trilogy? The UNABRIDGED version of this epic and classic story by an outstanding author? I can't wait to see the complete, unabridged trilogy as a choice in Audible's catalog.

What did you like best about this story?

Mary Stewart is an author with the ability to weave a complex, unique, engrossing story. Even with something as familiar as the Merlin/Arthur mythology she managed to find a new angle in her full length books. Abridging it was a sad choice but it's better than nothing. The reader was excellent with a rich, nuanced voice.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I had loved the book but this was shortened, terrible sound quality, and very poor narration. I plan to delete it from my Ipod.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite books

This has always been one of my favorite series. Mary Stewart does an excellent job of making Merlin human and placing the challenges and emotions of a man on his shoulders, but I didn't feel like the reader carried that emotion into the story. I ordered The Hollow Hills and I'm hoping that will be better.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged

I have long loved this wonderful story of the Arthurian legend, however the abridged version includes only the facts of the story and has cut the true magic of Mary Stewart's magnificent detailed account of merlins childhood. Her descriptions of the land, the buildings, the people and the subtleties of the emergence of a magician and a king are lost. The readers voice is not right for the story either. So disappointing to hear this tale be somewhat lost.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • HL
  • CA
  • 05-16-14

Another "gutted" abridgement

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes- I would like to hear the full version of the story.

What about Nicol Williamson’s performance did you like?

I liked Williamson's performance as a whole, and it's unfortunate they couldn't just have him narrate the entire book. Stewart's Merlin books are popular- surely there's an audience for a full version.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Depends if the movie was faithful to the book

Any additional comments?

They should create full, unabridged versions of Renault's and Mary Stewart's books. These abridged versions are unsatisfying.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Overly and poorly abridged

Would you try another book from Mary Stewart and/or Nicol Williamson?

Yes. I have read other Mary Stewart books and they are great.

Has The Crystal Cave turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Nicol Williamson?

Yes, that might help.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment - did not meet my expectations

3 of 3 people found this review helpful