The Merlin Effect by T. A. Barron.
Philomel Books/Putnam & Grosset Group: NY, 1994.

Kate's historian father is searching for The Horn of Merlin as the ultimate proof of Merlin's existence. Part of an old folktale, the horn may be onboard a Spanish galleon that may have sunk off the coast of Baja, California in 1547. Add to the excitement a dangerous whirlpool just off the coast, non-migrating grey whales, an ageless fish and youthful fishing village, and a twisted Nimue.

While the Horn does not ensure immortality, it does have a power of agelessness. However, it is harmful to drink from it without proper understanding. Kate's fate is to find the lost treasure, keep it safe from Nimue, and leave it in a place that King Arthur can find upon his return.

As with Barron's other books, philosophical questions arise-agelessness, creation and the continuaion of it, rejuvenation, elemental spirits, faith, and free will. I find Barron's mix of genres and topics exciting-mystery, adventure, history, myth, and science. I particularly like the appearance of Merlin, though the story is otherwise unrelated to the King Arthur stories.

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