Reeve, Philip. Here lies Arthur.

Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Position::Book review
 
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REEVE, Philip. Here lies Arthur. Scholastic. 340p. c2008. 978-0-545-09334-7. $16.99. JS*

Reeve, the author of the excellent Mortal Engines quartet and the Larklight series, turns his attention here to a different fantasy, the legend of King Arthur--but Reeve's Arthur is a far less noble, far more brutish man than in other retellings. In Reeve's dark reimagining, set in post-Roman Britain around 500 AD, when belief in the old gods vies with Christianity, Arthur is a marauding warlord, a crude thug. His legend is deliberately crafted by Myrddin the bard (possibly a real historical character, who was the prototype for Merlin, Reeve mentions in an author's note), who has an agenda of his own in elevating Arthur to heroic status. "Men do love a story," Myrddin explains to Gwynna, a girl he comes across hiding in the woods when her village is burned. Her ability to swim plants an idea in Myrddin's fertile brain: he makes Gwynna into the Lady of the Lake, to further burnish Arthur's legend. He then takes the girl with him to Arthur's camp, disguising her as a boy warrior; and when she outgrows the disguise, he has her attend Arthur's wife Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere) so that she can be a spy for him...

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