Book Review: Wizards From Merlin to Faust

Before they began publishing such interesting games, Osprey Publishing was known for it’s source books that could be used for wargaming and RPGs. I was given a copy of one of their Myth and Legends line to review.

Book cover with Merlin art

Wizards From Merlin to Faust cover © 2014

Wizards From Merlin to Faust caught my attention right away. Mostly because it reminded me of a set of books I’d always wanted to have when I was a child. The infamous Time-Life Enchanted World series. I have acquired a few of those, used, as an adult, so it was refreshing to hold a similar overview book filled with both new and public domain illustrations that was in shiny new condition and didn’t smell musty. Those Time-Life Books served as an introduction to Pre-Raphaelites as well as John Howe and that’s where Osprey’s Myth and Legends line really shine in imitating that illustration heavy format.

The number of pages, of course, doesn’t allow them to cover the subject completely, but it makes for a good jumping off point for kids being introduced to mythology. I especially likes how first, the legend was introduced for each wizard, followed by a less fantastical account of what is known about the historical character that inspired the tales or how the stories might have evolved from a small kernel of truth.

Looking at the rest of their line, I would have devoured the Myths and Legends books as a kid both as an inspiration resource and because I loved books like this. I’m very happy there’s newer books like this to introduce to a generation.

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