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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
One of the most enigmatic and mysterious characters of Arthurian legend is Arthur's illegitimate son, Mordred. Unfortunately, he is also one of the least explored. In a market flooded with preachy, badly-written Arthuriana, "I Am Mordred" shines like a rare, dark gem.
The book opens with King Arthur sadly setting dozens of newborn babies adrift on the ocean. Several years later, we see a young boy living peacefully with a fisherman and his wife. Their happy lives are interrupted when a woman named Nyneve rides in to bring Mordred back to his biological family, the royal family of Lothian. However, they are not pleased to see him.
He soon finds out why: he is the product of incest between King Arthur and his half-sister Morgause, and is destined to kill his father someday. Shocked by this, Mordred goes to Camelot and soon begins craving his father's love and acceptance. He is also terrified of the prophecy that he will kill Arthur, and does everything he can to fight it. But can he fight his destiny, or only fulfil it?
This is probably the best book I've read by Nancy Springer, a dark, beautiful, suspenseful and very sad novel. It's very rare to find an inspired Arthurian novel with any new material, but she pulls it off by creating a new Mordred -- this is not the monster who wants to kill Arthur for no reason, but a confused young man who only wants to be loved by his father, while knowing he is doomed to destroy him.
One of the primary themes is whether a person is "born bad"; Mordred has, in his lifetime, done nothing wrong. Yet he is treated as a pariah by the people around him. His loneliness is broken only by Arthur and by Mordred's dog, Gull. While traditional Arthurian legends seem to be based around the idea of Mordred being evil because of his incestuous conception, Springer simply breaks those ideas apart. Nobody is simply born to be evil. Destiny and fate are some of the items that are also explored: Mordred seeks a way to avoid fulfilling the prophecy, but risks fulfilling it through avoidance.
Mordred is an incredibly appealing character. He's merely a shy, introspective teenager who has been shunned by his relatives and by others in Camelot. His desperation is present on almost every page, as is his isolation, but Springer makes it sympathetic. Nobody will want to say "just shut up and quit whining"; rather, they'll be hoping that Mordred can somehow beat the prophecy, while knowing that he's all but certain to fail. Arthur is a good supporting character, surprisingly complex. Springer portrays him as an essentially good man who committed a terrible crime in an effort to save himself and his kingdom, and who regrets it. He wants to love Mordred as Mordred wants to be loved, but is as afraid of the prophecy as Mordred is.
Springer's writing is descriptive and evocative; it's a little flowery, but not too flowery. She has an excellent sense of buildup and suspense, that grows as the book progresses. The first and last chapters are written in third-person style, which may seem like a jolt when most of the book is written from Mordred's perspective; however, it becomes clear why this is necessary.
I would not advise this book for younger children. There's no objectionable content in it, but a great deal of focus on incest and the social stigmas attached to children born of it. The overall storyline is rather dark and occasionally violent, and Mordred's perpetual struggle against fate is a very psychologically intense storyline that may upset smaller children. Mature 9-12 kids and all teens ought to be able to handle this, and all the subtle undertones and nuances.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful and original Arthurian book published in recent years. "I Am Mordred" is an amazing addition to anyone's library, whether they are a fan of Camelot or not.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One day you're just this normal little kid and the next you find out that you are the son of a king who tried to kill you. That's how it was for Tad (Mordred) when Nyneve came to his simple house one day. He was King Authur's one and only son. It was prophesied by Merlin that his son would grow up and kill him. So king Athur killed all of the baby boys of that year, well Mordred survived. He grew up and became a knight of the round table and served Authur until that fateful day, when the prophecy was supposed to come true. Read this book to find out what happens to Mordred. This book is probably one of the saddest books that I have ever read. It is also one of the best written books that I have read. The suspense of it kept me right on the edge of my seat the whole way through. To see Mordred's fate unfolding right in front of him will live you breathless at times. I feel that although it made me cry that it is a book worth reading. Fiction
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I thought the book was good.I'm 11 years old, and thought that there was a lot of description and detail. There was also a lot of gore and bloody scenes. It is very sad at the end, but I really lked the book. It is very entertaining and makes you want t o keep reading. A real page turner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read Morgan le Fay first, and although it was good, one must know that I am inclined to like the predecessors more than I do "sequels," so I had to pick up I am Mordred. I am so glad I did because I think it is even better than Morgan le Fay, although I do recommend both books.

Cursed from the day he was born, Mordred must live with his awful fate that he will, one day, be the one who kills King Arthur of Camelot. Mordred is the bastard son of Arthur and his half-sister, Morgause--the evil product of incest. To try to avoid fate, King Arthur tries to kill Mordred, along with hundreds of baby boys, but Mordred, of course, survives. Mordred survies to live with a fishermen family before one day moving to live with his "mother" Queen Morgause of Lothian. There, he is raised as one of her sons, and when he turns fifteen, he is sent to King Arthur, as all young lads are. He learns more about his horrible fate, and although he hates his father for trying to murder him, he cannot help but feel for this noble man the king, and struggling between his soul and fate, Mordred tries to save King Arthur and himself. Mordred is so much more well-rounded, and he's a character that readers can empathize with. Readers will read as Mordred struggles with his inner "demon" so to speak and his loving, tender side. The Lady of the Lake, Merlin, and Morgan le Fay are only a few of the characters that come alive in this portrayal of Mordred, and they play very important roles in Mordred's story. It is lyrically written, one of the better Camelot books I have read. It is a little short, but still a worthwhile read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
How would you feel if you were destined to kill the greatest king that Camelot ever saw? What would you do if that same king were your very own father? These are the two things that Mordred, son of the wise and noble King Arthur, must live with all his life in this enchanting novel. All of Mordred's life, his name has been the most feared in Camelot. When he was born to King Arthur, Merlin, a wizard, prophesized that Mordred would kill his father. The people believed this and to prevent his death, King Arthur was forced to put his baby in a boat and send him off to sea. However, Mordred miraculously survived and when he was six years-old, then living with a fisherman and wife, he was taken to his mother, Queen Morgause, King Lothe, her husband and king of Lothian, and their sons Gaiwan and Garet. However, Lothian does not feel like home, mostly because he is never called son, so he decides to go to Camelot when he is 15. About a year before he is due to leave, his brother gets mad and tells Mordred about Merlin's prophecy. After he hears this, Mordred decides to try and fight his fate. In Camelot, it feels a little bit more like home, but not completely. He still is not called son. When Mordred is knighted, he goes on a quest and finds Merlin. The wizard, now in bird's form, shows Mordred how he will kill Arthur. Mordred returns to Camelot more determined than ever to fight his destiny. The book I Am Mordred was mostly good. One plus was all of the plot twists. However, some of them were a bit confusing. Another plus was adding a more magical touch in the story of Camelot. Normally, all you hear about is Merlin and dragons. I think the addition of magical trails, castles, and sorceresses helped Nancy Springer a lot. Although the plot is difficult, kids from grades five to nine would like it. I think it is the kind of material that young teens might enjoy. For these reasons, I give I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer a four out of five stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think this book was the greatest. It sucks you in and makes you want to keep reading. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes to read about King Aurther. This book makes you feel sorry for Mordred. At the end you will have tears in your eyes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Before I read this book, I had never read any stories just about Mordred. I love Arthurian lore, and this is a great book portraying Merlin in a new light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book and was very pleased after I finished reading it. The characters are very well written and there is always a lot going on. In fact, I couldn't put the book down. Towards the end of the story I felt as though Mordred was someone I knew in real life, and in fact, I wept for him towards the end. He fulfilled his destiny, and what a sad destiny it was.
The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is because, I felt as though the story could have been a bit longer, just to detail a bit more on Mordred's experiences in life. Wonderful book though!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most people familiar with the Arthur legend know of the father-son conflict between Arthur and his illegitmate son, Mordred, a product of a one night stand with Morgause, Arthur's half sister. Because of the unfortunate events leading up to his conception, Mordred is seen as being born evil, predestined to do harmful acts. The wizard Melin phrophesizes that Mordred's fate is to kill his father and destroy Camelot. Thus Arthur tries to kill Mordred when he was a baby, yet Mordred is saved by a fisherman and his wife. When young Mordred learns of his true identity, he rides to Camelot hoping to become a knight and finally get to know his famous father. Yet Camelot is not what Mordred had hoped for. His father, Arthur, doesn't even so much as acknowledge him and the affection that Mordred hopes Arthur would show him is nonexistent. Mordred becomes a loner in Camelot and soon begins to hear voices in his head telling him to fulfill his phrophecy. Mordred, longing for Arthur's love and acceptance, would do almost anything to cheat his destiny, even selling his soul.

I Am Mordred is one of the best works on Mordred I have ever seen. He is one of the most misunderstood characters in the myth and the preconception that he is evil because of the circumstances of his conception is quite unfair. Springer tries, and effectively, pictures Mordred as a young man trying to fight his destiny, yet the more he tries, the more closer he comes to fulfilling the fate we all know happened. The reader feels very sympathetic towards Mordred, yet sits there unable to save him. In the end you realize that Mordred was not what the famous Arthur authors wrote him to be, born evil, but instead a boy that needed love and attention from a father he so wanted acceptance from, but in the came up empty. Like I am Morgan Le Fay, this book is more of a physcological work that raises new questions to previous assumptions. I definitely recommend this book to all fans of Camelot. It is one of the best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I am Mordred" Is a book retelling the afamed story of Camelot, the hero king Arthur, his beautiful queen Guinevere, and his trusted knight Lancelot, along with his witch sister Morgan Le Fay and Merlin. Mordred is shown in a new light as Nancy Springer shows him as a boy growing into a grim fate. Hated by the kingdom, his name whispered through corridors, all fearing him even as a baby. I really felt everything he was going though and recommend this book highly.
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