Philip Reeve Here Lies Arthur

ISBN 13: 9780545093347

Here Lies Arthur

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9780545093347: Here Lies Arthur
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Welcome to the dark side of Camelot.

Gwynna is just a girl who is forced to run when her village is attacked and burns to the ground. To her horror, she is discovered in the wood. But it is Myrddin the bard who has found her, a traveler and spinner of tales. He agrees to protect Gwynna if she will agree to be bound in service to him. Gwynna is frightened but intrigued-and says yes-for this Myrddin serves the young, rough, and powerful Arthur. In the course of their travels, Myrddin transforms Gwynna into the mysterious Lady of the Lake, a boy warrior, and a spy. It is part of a plot to transform Arthur from the leader of (con't)

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About the Author:

Philip Reeve is the bestselling author of the Predator Cities quartet and the award-winning Fever Crumb series. His other books include the highly acclaimed HERE LIES ARTHUR and NO SUCH THING AS DRAGONS. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son. Visit him online at philip-reeve.com.

Review:

Is there room for yet another reworking of the Arthur legend? If it s this one, yes. Reeve imagines a turn-of-the-fifth-century Britain abandoned by the Romans, with Saxons poised in the East to sweep across the West, which is held, uneasily, by a motley collection of warring warlords. Into this disarray rides Arthur s warband, with Myrddin at his side to spin his story. Gwyna, newly homeless by Arthur and his thugs, finds herself pressed into a legend-making role as the Lady of the Lake and then into Myrddin s service as a boy, Gwyn. It s a hard-edged, unromantic examination of Dark Ages realpolitik. As Myrddin tells Gwyna, There s nothing a man can do that can t be turned into a tale...I am the story-spinning physician who keeps [Arthur s] reputation in good health. But it s Gwyna who, horror-struck, sees Gwenhwyfar and Bedwyr s ill-fated affair and its bloody aftermath, sees Arthur s rout at the hands of his nephew Medrawt, buries Myrddin in the trunk of an oak in midwinter and begins to spin her own tales. Absorbing, thought-provoking and unexpectedly timely. --Kirkus

Powerfully inventive, yet less romanticized than most stories set in the medieval Britain, this novel retells the story of King Arthur from a fresh perspective. Readers first glimpse Gwyna, the novel s disarming narrator, as a snot-nosed girl hiding in the brambles from a marauding band of brutes led by Arthur, the King that Was and Will Be. Taken under the wing of the king s bard and advisor, Myddrin (the Merlin figure), who disguises her first as a lad and then as that fictional lad s half sister, Gwyna takes part in or observes many significant scenes, from the day Arthur takes the sword offered by a lady beneath a lake until the day of his death. In Gwyna s telling, many traditionally esteemed characters are revealed as unworthy, and some reviled ones are shown as heroic. Seemingly supernatural elements of the storied events are shown to be mere conjuring tricks, while the most magical power that Myddrin wields is the creative storytelling that shapes history into legend and makes it immortal. Events rush headlong toward the inevitable ending, but Gwyna s observations illuminate them in a new way. Arthurian lore has inspired many novels for young people, but few as arresting or compelling as this one.
Carolyn Phelan --Booklist-starred

The last word is Hope, yet Reeve (Mortal Engines) injects deep cynicism into every other phrase of this Arthurian fable. As he tells it, Myrddin the enchanter is a charlatan of high degree, possessing no magic but a mastery of storytelling and fraud. Gwyna, the narrator, is perhaps nine years old when Myrddin sees her swim down a river to escape a house set afire by callous, marauding warlord Arthur. Myrddin promptly disguises her first as the Lady of the Lake and then as a boy apprentice. Gwyna soon learns to trust no one, doubt everything and scorn both male and female roles. She even becomes skeptical of the empire-building ambition behind Myrddin's efforts to recast Arthur's unremarkable exploits as the stuff of legend. Nodding to canon and history while not particularly following either (Lancelot and Morgan le Fay are notably absent), Reeve, like Myrddin, turns hallowed myth and supple prose to political purposes, neatly skewering the modern-day cult of spin and the age-old trickery behind it. Smart teens will love this. --Publishers Weekly

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