August 08, 2008

Here's Arthur. Here, Also, Are Lies

I am not a fan of the great myths and stories of the English tradition. Robinhood and his Merry Men are, well, thieves, and Robin risks his loyal friends over and over and over for petty power plays with a sheriff and for the admiration of a girl who seems always to be in trouble, and too daft to save herself. The mythos of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table has never held much charm, and so it was with glee that I chanced upon Here Lies Arthur, by the inestimable Phillip Reeve. "No one's heard the truth" the cover says, and I thought, "Oh, yeah. Cool."

Gwyna was only a slave girl, fleeing disaster, when she found a new master, Myrddin, who taught her the power of tales. His stories transformed her -- from slave girl to goddess, to apprentice to spy. Each borrowed role fit like a glove as long as Myrddin willed it so, but eventually, the Gwyna who once was wants more thant to play a role in one of Myrddin's magical tales. Is she something aside from Myrddin's dreams and Arthur's ambitions?

There's more to life than legend... isn't there?

An absolutely fantastic book, for which Philip Reeve won the 2008 Carnegie medal. Definitely pick this one up.

Buy this book from an independent bookstore near you!

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