Monday, November 17, 2008

Here Lies Arthur

Here Lies Arthur
by Philip Reeve
Scholastic, 2008
review copy provided by the publisher

I'm always in the mood for a good retelling of the Arthurian legend, and Philip Reeve did not disappoint me.  

This story is set during the formation of Arthur's legend. Arthur is pretty much of a bully and plunderer; Merlin's magic is in the stories he spins to reinvent the truth. Sound like modern politics?Art does indeed imitate life and vice versa.

The story is told from the point of view of an orphaned servant girl who is used by Merlin to pull off the Lady of the Lake stunt, then disguised by him as his servant boy until she is too old to pass as a boy. Merlin then reintroduces her as a cousin of his servant boy, and plants her as a lady in Guenevere's court so she can spy for him. 

The whole book is a meditation on the power of story to create an enduring "truth." And maybe that's not always a bad thing. Not always.


The Telegraph reports that Here Lies Arthur won the 2007 Carnegie Medal. 

The Guys Lit Wire post is entitled "King Arthur, Lout."  (cross-posted at the excelsior file)

1 comment:

  1. I really need to read this book. Really. It sounds like a fascinating take on the Arthur legend.


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