Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard is a good novel. It tells an entertaining tale. It maintains moderate tension. It exhibits clean writing. But truthfully, it is a story to which I would not give much additional thought except for one thing: Merlin.
Because of Merlin’s actions, I was drawn into the story.
Because of Merlin’s character, I kept reading and thought about the story after
closing the cover. Why? Because Merlin was heroic.
Now, it is not uncommon for me to find characters I like,
who make me laugh, who make me cry, with whom I identify and whom I cheer on.
Yet these things are not heroism. Heroism goes beyond these, something that is
easy to forget in the world of flawed but likeable characters. Indeed, heroic
protagonists are quite rare, and they are becoming rarer, even in a genre which
lends itself easily to such characters.
True heroes, I suppose, appear unrealistic to our cynical
society. Too perfect—though interestingly, the characters with the greatest
heroism are not those without faults, but those whose heroism trumps their
flaws and doubts.
Yet when a true hero appears on the pages of fiction, we are
often irresistibly attracted to them. Why? Because heroes
embody all the things we crave.
They are strong, for how else would they be able to take the
stands they do? They are caring; their sacrifices would be impossible without
it. They are hope-filled; they believe good will triumph in the end, though
they may never see it. They are dependable and trustworthy; they are champions
of second chances; they’re principled; they’re generous of heart and hand;
And despite all our cynicism, we
want to believe true heroes can exist. We want to believe, to paraphrase
another heroic character, there’s good in the world and it’s worth fighting
for. We want to believe there’s hope.
Heroic characters, whether in story
or life, give us that hope.