GRAIL PRINCE

Nancy McKenzie, Author . Del Rey $14.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-345-45648-9

In this imaginative retelling of the Grail legends, with alternating timelines between a younger and older Galahad, McKenzie (Queen of Camelot) offers a psychological study of the "best knight in all the world," obsessed with honor and disdainful of women. We first meet Galahad, perforce a man at age 15, traveling through a bleak, cold North Wales landscape with his 11-year-old cousin Percival, who was sorely wounded six weeks earlier in the cataclysmic battle that ended Arthur's reign. The regent, Percival's uncle Peredur, welcomes them to Percival's home castle, but Peredur's wife, Ennyde, resents their presence. They winter in the crowded castle, where Galahad spars with Percival's twin sister, Dane, a hoyden who challenges his beliefs about women. Preferring not to go home to his estranged father, Lancelot, Galahad is eager to head out on the quest Arthur gave him, to complete the set of powerful items said to ensure the health of Britain: the Grail and the Spear, locations unknown, and the Sword that Arthur threw into a lake as he lay dying. Taking Percival along on the quest serves to remove Galahad from the dangers of growing to majority under Peredur's rule. Thus proceeds a tale of prophecy, fulfillment and maturation. Familiarity with the Arthurian legends isn't necessary to enjoy this engrossing medieval fantasy, though the genealogy tables at the end do help. (Jan. 1)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 01/01/2003
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