This has got to be one of my favorite fantasy books. It is a shame the author died recently. I would have to say it falls in the middle of her lighter style of writing (Howl’s Moving Castle) and her darker writing style (The Time of the Ghost).
The story is about a boy named Nick who appears to be a normal boy from Earth who travels through different worlds. He travels to a world called Blest where he meets Roddy, the daughter of two court wizards. Roddy and her friend Ambrose Temple/Grundo discover a plot to control all the magic in the multiverse which seems to include the Merlin, the keeper of magic in Blest.
The narration switches between two main characters telling the story – Roddy and Nick. One minute Nick is in London with his father and the next he’s in Blest, summoned by Roddy to help her solve a problem she suspects is spiraling out of control. Roddy thinks some witches and wizards are plotting to overthrow the King of Blest. The Merlin seems to be in on it, too (you’ll have to read it to find out what The Merlin is. It’s not the same as in our Camelot stories). When the Merlin dies of a heartattack at the worst possible moment, Roddy, Grundo and Nick refuse to believe his death is “natural”. No one believes their suspicions until they meet two very powerful wizards, Maxwell Hyde and Romanov.
I found a lot of humor in this book and made some friends with some really charming characters. Romanov’s goat cracked me up. The story has a huge cast of characters and has everything from magical islands, to time manipulation, imposters, and even a mini elephant! The story is filled with fascinating ideas and has a twisting, intricate plot in which every little detail can end up having great importance.
Roddy and Nick are both great characters and very 3-dimensional and I found “The Merlin Conspiracy” to be a very entertaining read. I would read this again.