Monday, April 14, 2008

Sword of the Rightful King

Yolen, Jane. 2003. Sword of the Rightful King.

Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur by Jane Yolen is a more realistic, less legendary presentation of King Arthur. What do I mean? Well, it shows the behind-the-scenes drama of Arthur's court, Arthur's kingdom. It shows in some ways how those legends got started--some directly, some indirectly. Merlinnus, for example, created and fabricated the Sword in the Stone. It was a deliberate hoax on his part. A way to fool the people, manipulate them in such a way that the doubters of Arthur would be convinced that he was DESTINED to be king. Arthur was in on the secret. As was Merlinnus' new apprentice, Gawen. This angle removes some of the glamour, some of the glory from the story, in my opinion. But it doesn't necessarily mean that the story is any less compelling. Another legend debunked is Gawaine and the Green Knight.

Told from multiple view points, the reader is able to get into the hearts and minds of Arthur, Merlinnus, Gawaine, Morgause, Gawen, etc. The reader is able to get the full story, the full spectrum of what's going on in this turbulent spring and summer as they prepare for the Solstice.

I enjoyed this book. But I didn't enjoy it as much as The Sword in the Stone. It may be more realistic, more practical, but I like my legends to be legendary. So it's a good book, an enjoyable book, but not a great book.


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