Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur

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9780152025274: Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur
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The newly crowned King Arthur is unsure of himself; worse, the people are unsure of him. Too many people want the throne, and treachery is everywhere. Merlin must do something before the king is betrayed, or murdered, or--worst of all--gets married. So Merlin magically places a sword into a slab of rock, lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.
After a bit of showmanship, Arthur will draw the blade (with a little magical help, of course), and the people will rally around the young king.
Except someone else pulls the sword out first. . . .

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Review:

Bestselling author Jane Yolen does not retell the tale of King Arthur in this imaginative novel for young readers so much as re-invent it. There are familiar characters such as Arthur, Gawaine, and Merlin (here called Merlinnus), and elements from the traditional story, including the famed sword in the stone. But The Sword of the Rightful King treats these as ingredients to cook up an entirely new story. In Yolen's version, Arthur is a young king. He wears the crown but sits perhaps a bit uneasily upon the throne. It has been reported to the king that there are some who will betray or even kill him in order to rise to power. To assure the subjects, the magician Merlinnus places a sword in a stone and announces that whosoever pulls it out, will be the rightful ruler of England. The fact that someone else pulls the sword out of the stone first is just one of numerous intriguing twists. Yolen manages to update the legend and make it fresh for a modern younger audience without resorting to gimmickry and incongruous references (no one says "dude", Lancelot does not ride a skateboard). Instead, she recasts the characters as real people: flawed, troubled, and altogether human. And while they still exist in long-ago England, the people we meet and the situations they find themselves in are accessible to readers of any age. (All ages) --John Moe

About the Author:

JANE YOLEN has written more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the three volumes in the Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin. She has won several of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. She lives in western Massachusetts and Scotland.

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