Readers of A Darker Magic This Way Comes will already realise that I love Arthurian legends and medieval history. I am currently writing the sequel to ADMTWC called Curse of the Dragon Kings. Here’s a little reminder about one of the key characters, Merlin, his nerdy appeal and his amazing shapeshifting abilities all of which will become as important in the new novel as they were in the last one…
Merlin had always known that one day he would serve a future king of Britain. A king, who would face foreign invaders and whose job it would be to protect the homeland. Of course, he also understood that to be taken seriously by a king he would need to learn and understand the arts of war. He was going to need to speak his military language and advise him on strategy. He was also going to need to assist his king in building the necessary infrastructure of war.
But there was a wrinkle, and that was this, “I, Myrddin am also a Druid, and as such I am exempt from fighting in any wars in my home country.” Therefore, if Merlin wanted to stay a Druid and a magician and be an effective advisor, would need to learn his trade in a foreign country from the best trained war machine in the world. So, at aged sixteen and a half, he joined the Roman Army in their Corp of Engineers in Gaul. It was called the Architetura. At the age of 20 he was appointed a Centurion responsible for a hundred men, the youngest ever in his legion. Merlin, was also far from humble.
“I am Ambrosius Marcus Cotta, twenty-one years old, and I am rich, lettered, and accomplished in music, poetry, physic, astronomy and architecture. I can say that I am able to build tunnels, camps, aqueducts, bridges, sewers and siege machines and that I can speak more languages than you could name, and because my father is a patrician, of senatorial rank and shares a common ancestor with Julius Caesar (his mother was a Cotta) we wear the purple on our toga. I am, therefore, a Roman prince.” (The Curse of the Dragon Kings, p. 5.)
Merlin’s mind was always occupied with mathematics and engineering, and sometimes, when stressed, calculating square roots! I am sure that readers remember how Merlin’s mother described her nerdy son, “Myrddin is more interested in calculating the stresses and strains on a span of a bridge rather than bedding girls.” That was of course up until he met the beautiful and smart Emily. That’s when things changed!