April 21, 2010

Here Lies Arthur - Philip Reeve

From the outset, I have to confess that I love stories about King Arthur, and have read every version that I can get my hands on. But this one left me cold.

It was well written, and very readable, but it was author's take on the legend that I didn't care for. Arthur is portrayed as a small-time ruffian with his band of followers, pillaging and raping at will; Gwenhwyfar is a bit of a cougar (in the modern usage of the term); there is no round table and the building built to house the round table has a straw roof and collapses; and Merlin is a teller of tales and a petty conjurer, who is spreading his vision of who Arthur should be rather than who he really is.

I do appreciate the value of different perspectives on legends, but I could have done without this version. All of the magic, chivalry, and questing nature - everything that I love about the Arthurian legend - are gone. This is not going to make my re-read list, and I am going to have to try very hard to forget it.

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