Friday, 10 April 2009

Here Lies Arthur - Philip Reeve

Read: August 2008

Have you ever wondered how a legend is born? Ever doubted the power of a story to cascade down history like a snowball, growing bigger and bigger until, eventually, it takes on a life of its own? If so, then this is the book for you.

All his life the storyteller Myrddin has worked hard to make Arthur the most loved and respected man in England. Through a web of mythical stories and legends, he has sought to unify England around one single king. It does not matter that Arthur is a violent thug seeking only power and glory because in Myrddin’s tales he is noble, honest, and righteous. And people remember stories much more clearly than they do reality. But now Myrddin is planning his most ambitious project, to demonstrate that Arthur is favoured by the old heathen Gods by having him pluck a sword from the depths of a river. And when Gwyna, a young servant girl escaping the ransacking of her master’s lands by Arthur’s warriors, climbs from a river, Myrddin has an even better idea…

As Myrddin and Gwyna follow Arthur around the country, building a mirage about him which will turn him from the brigand he is into the mythical king he is remembered as, they encounter adventures and challenges which neither of them ever dreamed possible. And Myrddin has another feat of magic to weave: can he turn Gwyna into a lake goddess, a boy, a lady? It is on the success of this project which Myrddin’s very life may rest.

Here Lies Arthur, Philip Reeve adds his own, fascinating story to the plethora of mythologies which surround Arthur and Merlin. The Green Knight, the Knight’s of the Round Table, Lady Gwynavere, Tintagel, Excalibur, the quest for the holy grail: all of these find a home here. And at its heart, Here Lies Arthur is the story of a young girl and her quest to find a place in a harsh, violent, man’s world.

If you like stories then this is a must. Like
Haroun and the Sea of Stories, this is a tale to delight readers of all ages, for stories have a life of their own, and once they have been told, there is no knowing what will happen.

7 out of 10

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