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Mary Stewart
Born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow
September 17, 1916 (1916-09-17) (age 93)
Sunderland, County Durham, England
Nationality English
Ethnicity English
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater Durham University
Occupation Novelist
Spouse(s) Sir Frederick Stewart

Mary Florence Elinor Stewart (née Rainbow; born 17 September 1916)[1][2] is a popular English novelist, best known for her series about Merlin, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and the fantasy genre.



Stewart was born in Sunderland, County Durham, England and graduated from Durham University, from where she received an honorary D.Litt in 2009.[3] She was a lecturer in English Language and Literature there until her marriage in 1945 to Sir Frederick Stewart, former chairman of the Geology Department of Edinburgh University.[4] Sir Frederick died in 2001. [5]

She is also the author of many crime fiction, gothic fiction and romance novels, several of which have been adapted for television and/or film. Several of her books are set in Scotland; others are set in more exotic locations such as Damascus, the Greek islands, Spain, France, Austria, etc.

She was at the height of her popularity in the 1960s and 1970s when many of her suspense and romantic novels were translated into many languages. Stewart is considered one of the founders of the romantic suspense subgenre, blending romance novels and mystery. Her novels seamlessly combined the two genres, maintaining a full mystery while focusing on the courtship between two people.[6] In her novels, the process of solving the mystery "helps to illuminate" the hero's personality, helping the heroine to fall in love with him.[7]



The Merlin Series

  1. The Crystal Cave (1970)
  2. The Hollow Hills (1973)
  3. The Last Enchantment (1979)
  4. The Wicked Day (1983)
  5. The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995)



  1. ^ Telegraph (accessed 5/28/2007).[1]
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica Student Encyclopedia (accessed 5/28/2007).[2]
  3. ^ Durham University Honorary Degrees [3]
  4. ^ Author biography in the 1988 paperback edition of her novel, Thornyhold
  5. ^ The Guardian (accessed 5/28/2007).[4]
  6. ^ Regis (2003), pp. 143, 144.
  7. ^ Regis (2003), p. 146.


  • Regis, Pamela (2003), A Natural History of the Romance Novel, Philadelphia, Pennsylania: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0812233034  

External links


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