Quest for a King: Searching for the Real King Arthur

Catherine M. Andronik, Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-689-31411-7
Andronik's first work offers a conscientious, deliberately undramatic survey of modern knowledge of and recent research into the facts behind the legend of King Arthur. His rule brought 20 years of peace to sixth-century Britain, then a politically primitive, long-favored butt of marauding conquerors from the Romans to the Saxons. Inevitably, though, most questions relating to Arthur remain unanswered: such basic information as the location of his court is still not known, for example (sites in central Scotland, southwestern and northern England have been proposed, to no conclusion). His royal ``entourage'' Andronik narrows to a select but definite few including Guenevere, his wife; Lancelot, a stellar knight who was also Arthur's best friend; and the scurrilous Mordred, either Arthur's nephew or his illegitimate son, who killed him (and was killed) in battle. Though the legends and their factual loopholes are inherently fascinating, Andronik's tendency to plod in the writing may dull a reader's appetite. Not a storyteller by inclination, she collects alternate plots and characters with fastidious care yet ignores the suspense innate in historical detective work. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
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