Merlin and the Discovery of Avalon in the New World is a non-fiction exploration of the mystery of a historical Merlin, and the whereabouts of the Isle of Avalon. Graham Phillips has authored several books that explore historical aspects of mythic figures, including The Virgin Mary Conspiracy, The Chalice of Magdalene and The Moses Legacy.


In Merlin, he takes the reader back to the fall of Rome and explains the historical context that existed in Britain after the withdrawal of the Roman Legions. Through archeological evidence and fragments of documents, he traces wisps of historical fact, comparing them to the legends and folklore that have grown around Merlin and Arthur and were later recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth, to name just one author, during the latter half of the Middle Ages.


Mr. Phillips intersperses his historical narrative with his personal adventure in trying to locate Avalon and Merlin’s tomb. At times, the book reads like a thriller, complete with thefts, cryptic warnings from friends and a reconstruction of Merlin’s alleged final voyage. Historically, he makes a case for several sects, from the Rosicrucians to the Freemasons, acting as protectors of the secret of Merlin’s final resting place, and the secrets held in his tomb. There is a pantheon of British historical figures that participate in this conspiracy, including William Shakespeare, who may have been killed for his knowledge, Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King James I, and Sir Walter Raleigh.


I thought this book was interesting, although I felt some of the author’s conclusions were based on some pretty thin speculation. It reads fast, and has a good deal of suspense in each chapter. I think this work raises some interesting points, and is a fun read, especially if you like either Arthurian tales, or conspiracy theories.


~review by Karen Phillippi

Author: Graham Phillips

Bear & Company, 2005

pp.231, $16.00

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