Sarah's Stars

Philip Reeve. Here Lies Arthur
Scholastic $19.99  ISBN 978-0-545-09334-7  332 pg.
Reviewed by Mena, Age 14

“Do it slowly, gracefully,” Myrddin had told me.  But when I tore the oilcloth wrapping from the sword, it almost floated free, so I had to snatch it back down and stuff it between my knees and poke the sword up with my spare hand.  My hand, out in the air, felt even colder than the rest of me.  The sword was too heavy.  I could feel it wobbling.  My fingers were so numb that I knew I couldn’t keep a grip much longer on the wet hilt.  Why didn’t he take it from me?  Bubbles seeped from the corners of my mouth.  Why didn’t he take it?

Gwyna, who is now Myrddin’s servant has been “magically” transformed into the Lady of the Lake, is no more than a girl whose home was destroyed in a raid led by Arthur, a young vagabond with a group of followers who take the manor of Gwyna’s lord. Myrddin, Arthur’s storyteller takes her as a servant to help him stage his “magic” tricks. While travelling with Arthur and his men, Myrddin transforms Gwyna into a boy by cutting her hair and changing her name to Gwyn. Gwyna lives through the legend of Arthur, whose reputation is built on Myrddin’s tales alone.

Philip Reeves’ Here Lies Arthur casts a dark shadow on today’s mythological Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. His version of ‘Camelot’ shows how legends are built on little or no basis.  Reeves has created a world that shows the dark side of men and tells a story of how easy it is to make something simple sound like a great adventure.  With a storyteller’s weaving of the Arthurian legends, you can almost believe it’s a true story. 

I give Here Lies Arthur four stars.  It’s recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

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