Sunday, December 7, 2008

Book Review: Here Lies Arthur

TitleHere Lies Arthur
AuthorPhilip Reeve
Tagsking arthur, merlin

Everyone has stories that have had so much of an impact on them that attempts to revise them, to be "realistic", about them, are infuriating. I rejected the Star Trek Enterprise series in its first season, for example, because they made "my" Vulcans into a sneaking, deceptive race and I couldn't stand that. This version of the Arthurian romance has that same problem. Reeve's Myrddin (Merlin) has no power other than the power of a bard to shape a culture's tales. Arthur is a thug, warring only to gain wealth. Gwenhwyvar is selfish, grasping tightly a love she needs. Reeve does it well, and there is some power in the main character, Gwyna, a girl who is servant to Myrddin and does her best to help as many people as she can. Yet for me Reeves is fighting too many years of adoration of the Arthur story, particularly as told by T. H. White's The Once and Future King and Mary Stewart's Merlin series.

Still, if you like having your heroes debunked, Reeves provides a quick good read.
PublicationScholastic Press (2008), Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication date2008
ISBN0545093341 / 9780545093347

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