Nimue: Freeing Merlin (Copy)

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is a story in three acts: the first and last concern the teenager Nina, while the middle dives into the story of Nina’s past incarnation as Nimue, a powerful sorceress. As Nimue, Nina must free Merlin, who she herself had trapped, and find the Holy Grail. In Nina, author Ayn Cates Sullivan creates a realistic and relatable character who quickly draws the reader into her quest to discover more about her past. NIMUE: Freeing Merlin well written, with strong diction and a mystical tone, as when Nimue says “I imagined moving into the circle, dancing as flames” or “I am the stars and the spaces between them. … I am the pulse of the Earth. I am the lightning made manifest.”

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To discover what is true about ourselves, we often have to take a quest and undergo initiations that test us to the core. In this Celtic Heroine’s journey, a young modern-day woman, through a series of mystical events, realizes that she was a Lady of the Lake in a previous life. Believing she is a normal person just like any other, Nina has no idea of the mysteries that await her in Britain. She was, as it turns out, 5th century Nimue, the one responsible for sealing Merlin up in a tree until the hour of his return. Now, she is the only one who can find him, and the world depends on it. Traveling back in time to Ynys Witrin, the Isle of Glass, she discovers more than she ever imagined possible.


Nimue: Freeing Merlin is a stand-alone novel, and also part of the Legends of the Grail series. The books do not need to be read in order, but all of the legends and folktales interrelate. The earlier books in the series focus on Celtic Goddesses and Heroines. Like the other books in the series, there are Celtic rituals, mystical practices and visualizations for the avid reader who wishes to delve more deeply into Celtic and Arthurian mysteries.



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NIMUE: Freeing Merlin- "A Masterpiece" -

"Nimue: Freeing Merlin (Barnes & Noble Edition) by Ayn Cates Sullivan is a historical masterpiece that illustrates Celtic culture at its finest. This bestselling publication opens with the introduction of Nina, a seventeen-year-old American who just recently lost her dad due to issues arising from alcoholism. Seeking closure and connection to their British heritage, her mother, Diana, arranges for a trip to the UK, hoping to heal wounds while being closer to her roots. Back in the States, Nina had been having numerous dreams in which she saw a lady in a green dress calling her "Mage." Upon getting to British soil, Nina, a passionate enthusiast of all things related to ancient Celtic culture, embarks on a journey to decipher the significance of her dreams. What she discovers profoundly alters the course of her life.

Kidnapped by Morgen, the legendary sister of King Arthur, Nina learns that she is the reincarnation of Nimue, a powerful sorceress and "Lady of the Lake" known for imprisoning Merlin in a tree. Morgen assigns her the task of finding the Pair Dedani, a grail, and eventually freeing Merlin from his confinement, as the time has come for him to restore the balance between light and darkness. Lacking clear knowledge of the events leading to her current dilemma, Morgen’s magic and hidden memories in Nina's subconscious lead her to relive her life as Nimue, the powerful mage. Her goal is to unravel the mystery of why and how she imprisoned Merlin in the Hawthorn tree, discovering the precise means to liberate him and ultimately fulfil her destiny.

To be completely honest, I’ve always loved Celtic myths, as their mystery and uniqueness highly captivate me. Given that, it's unsurprising that I felt a strong affinity for this book right from the start. The initial aspect that caught my attention was the storytelling style employed in recounting this enchanting tale. The narrative began with a short poem, subtly signalling to readers that they were in for an immersive journey into the rich tapestry of Celtic mythology. It actively immerses you in the story, where you feel like an onlooker witnessing the initiation of mages, the wild hunt of the underworld cronies, and Nimue's training with the immaculate priestesses of Ynys Witrin, among other enthralling events.

Acknowledging the positive aspects of this book wouldn't be thorough without noting the beautiful romance that ensued between Merlin and Nimue. Somewhat crucial to Nimue's quest to liberate Merlin from his tree prison, this refreshing element added to the story's enjoyment and heartwarming appeal, as it created a richer reading experience. It's evident that this book was exquisitely crafted, skillfully presenting Celtic myths and legends with remarkable realism.

I appreciated the blend of fiction and reality in the story, particularly with the introduction of Nina, the young American reincarnation of Nimue. Her lack of knowledge of her powerful mage past added an essential touch of realism to the narrative. The glossary at the end was also of significant help, as it lightened the tremors in my head caused by the ambiguous Celtic and “Atlantean” words. Furthermore, the author included an engaging exercise at the end of the book to facilitate a connection with Avalon, a serene place of beauty and light, offering a potential healing impact on the soul and mind. Given these elements, it's unsurprising that the book has achieved bestseller status at Barnes & Noble.

I must emphasise the fact that I found nothing significantly negative in this book. Even though it made use of numerous Celtic words like Gwyn Ap Nudd, Efnisien, glefiosa, and Atlantean sentences such as "Muardo Ake Badra Rada," the majority of these terms were thoughtfully explained in the glossary. However, navigating through those words and phrases did pose a bit of a challenge. Despite that, the writing itself is flawless—a kind of story that lingers with you, replaying in your subconscious—and no other aspect of the book bothered me in the least.

This book contains some sexual content, although the depictions are not very detailed. This commentary is intended to convey the notion that the book is best suited for a mature audience.

Without an inkling of doubt, I'm certain that this book underwent professional editing, as I only managed to find two errors in it. From my perspective, Ayn Cates Sullivan has created a masterpiece that belongs on the top shelf, and I’m delighted to rate this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. I wholeheartedly recommend it to history enthusiasts, especially those with a keen interest in Celtic culture and early British myths. If you enjoyed the "Merlin” series or revelled in the legends of King Arthur, this book is a must-read for you. Get your copy and complete the cycle!! "

review by Oleabhiele Joseph

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is a story in three acts: the first and last concern the teenager Nina, while the middle dives into the story of Nina’s past incarnation as Nimue, a powerful sorceress. As Nimue, Nina must free Merlin, who she herself had trapped, and find the Holy Grail. In Nina, author Ayn Cates Sullivan creates a realistic and relatable character who quickly draws the reader into her quest to discover more about her past… The story is also well researched, with several figures and items from legend making an appearance. Unlike legend, however, Sullivan’s retelling roots hard for girl power, focusing on strong and witty female characters. When Nina’s love interest, Owen, tries to take control of the narrative, he’s told, “Right now, we need a Heroine.” This theme continues throughout the novel, all the way to its empowering climax and Nimue’s realization of her own potential — a perfect reminder for today’s readers, especially those of the “gentler” sex, that they too have unmatched potential and agency. Along with the captivating story of NIMUE: Freeing Merlin, Sullivan has filled this book with original artwork. Her sketches feature a deliberate use of light and shadow, reflecting the novel’s motifs of dark and light, good and evil. Plus, the author provides readers with short blurbs that give more information about the characters, practices for honoring those mythological figures, and even a meditation for healing. These extra tidbits are a blessing for those who don’t want to leave the world of magic just quite yet.

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is well written and researched and successfully flips the Arthurian tradition on its head to reveal a powerful, feminist look at the hidden potential within us all.

Christina Doka for IndieReader

A chilling love story that spans centuries…

“Nimue: Freeing Merlin by Ayn Cates Sullivan takes a teenage girl back many lifetimes to remind her of who she had once been. Nina Liber and her mother Diana take a trip to Britain for a healing vacation. Diana wants to reconnect with her roots and to shed the years of dealing with her husband’s illness. Nina learns her boyfriend from the United States is missing and she may have a way to find him, but she must walk a path she has forgotten. At a time when Merlin held her heart, the Lady of the Lake still appeared to kings, and magic was not forgotten but was heavily relied upon. There are times Nina feels her destiny is already chosen and her freedom to choose is impossible.

From the beginning, you can feel the love Ayn Cates Sullivan has for metaphysical or supernatural fiction as she weaves it deep into her medieval novel, Nimue: Freeing Merlin. It is a chilling love story that spans centuries as her characters live many lives. Nina was once a mage, Nimue, that trapped Merlin in a hawthorn tree, but the events that led up to this point are told in a mystical and thrilling way that keeps the reader engaged and mesmerized. This novel has strong female roles that show the strength and guidance of women in an enchanting world. Overall, this novel is well written, with much study and imagination entwined. The author leaves you feeling as if you stepped back in time to a world where fairy tales and magic are just around the corner.”

Reviewed By Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers’ Favorite

A Most Wonderful Journey Into The World of Magick!

The most beautiful stories are those which move and uplift the Soul, touching it so deeply and profoundly that one cannot help but feel changed inside. This is a true gift, and Ayn Cates Sullivan is a master at creating such stories. Nimue: Freeing Merlin, is a wonderful journey in which you will be drawn into the world of Creation, Magick, Enchantment, Wisdom, and above all, Love. You will be transported into ancient Celtic lands, hearing the whispers of those who were keepers of what was and still is, Sacred to humanity. And you will become witness to a Love story between Merlin and Nimue which is boundless and eternal. Your Heart will be ever transformed. Thank you Ayn for writing this beautiful story, reminding us all of the Love, Light, and Magick we hold inside…that anything is possible.

– Leslie Sloane, creator of the Auracle Cards