Here Lies Arthur

Philip Reeve, Author . Scholastic $17.99 (339p) ISBN 978-0-545-09334-7

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. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 339 pages - 978-0-545-09463-4
Prebound-Glued - 339 pages - 978-0-606-10557-6
Prebound-Sewn - 339 pages - 978-1-60686-586-6
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-1-4071-0358-7
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