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The Camelot Spell (Grail Quest Trilogy, Book 1) Hardcover – February 21, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060772794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060772796
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,356,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–During a feast to celebrate the beginning of the Grail Quest, Arthur, the knights, and every other adult in Camelot fall under a sleeping spell, and Merlin is nowhere to be found. Three teenagers don't know what to do, so Gerard, the oldest and best-trained squire, decides that he must locate the magician. He is joined on the road by Newt, a stable boy, and Ailis, a maid. They follow a map stolen from Arthur's study, which leads them to a house of ice in which Nimue has imprisoned Merlin as a prank. He charges them with finding three talismans that will release the spell on Camelot and gives them only seven days in which to complete the task. Along the way they must figure out what the talismans are, battle monsters and dragons, and win the ultimate battle against Morgain, who cast the evil spell. The episodic story is largely plot driven, following the standard quest formula. The squire proves himself worthy, the stable boy is a little less rough around the edges, and the maid shows that she's just as smart and tough as the boys. The characters, though fairly one-dimensional, are likable, and readers will be engaged in their struggles. At first readers may be surprised at the contemporary tone of the characters' language and speech patterns, but it does make them seem more real. Gerard Morris's The Squire's Tale series (Houghton) is more substantive and wittier.–Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. This first offering of the Grail Quest trilogy introduces three young teens on a mission to save King Arthur's court. On the eve of Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, a strange sleep falls over the castle, affecting all the adults. Convinced that only Merlin can undo the magic, Gerard, a young squire; Newt, a stable boy; and Ailias, a maidservant with magical powers, set off to locate the wandering enchanter and secure his help in reversing the spell. The main characters are nicely developed. They spar incessantly (many of the story's lighter moments arise from this verbal jousting), and although each teen is convinced that his or her particular training is what's needed to accomplish the task, the three eventually learn they can succeed only by working together. A fine addition to the growing body of Arthurian spin-offs, this will be popular with fantasy lovers and Merlin fans. Suggest books by T. A. Barron or Jane Yolen for starters. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fourteen-year-old squire, Gerard, is utterly disappointed that he has not been chosen to accompany the knights on the Quest for the Holy Grail. After all, it is his wish to prove himself as a great hero who is brave, and ready for anything that life has to throw at him. However, he never realized that he would have the chance to prove his bravery this soon. For, on the eve of the Quest for the Holy Grail, at a large feast celebrating the momentous occasion, every adult in King Arthur's castle, in the midst of their filling meals, falls into a deep sleep - an enchanted sleep - and nothing will wake them. Now it is up to Gerard, who has spent every waking hour of his life dreaming of becoming one of the prestigious Knights of the Round Table; along with the help of Ailis, a maidservant who has been his friend through thick and thin over the years; and Newt, a rough and tumble stable boy, to make their way through various obstacles - including an ugly bridge troll, a dark and powerful witch who wants nothing than to take down King Arthur and the realm of Camelot, and a scheming dragon - in an attempt to save their home from the evil that will stop at nothing to have its way. And, in the meantime, make a name for themselves, and prove that, even though they are children, they have the strength to save the kingdom that has given them shelter all these years.

Over the past couple of years, I have become very interested in Arthurian history, which is why I was ecstatic to learn that Laura Anne Gilman's GRAIL QUEST was being released. THE CAMELOT SPELL is an enchanting series debut that mixes the history of Arthurian legend, with fantastical elements to create the ultimate thrill ride through adventure and magic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
King Arthur declares that he and 9*3 knights will seek the Holy Grail. In Camelot, a gala occurs to celebrate the upcoming quest. However, something strange occurs when all the adults abruptly fall asleep while all the children remain awake; adding to the discomfit of those not asleep is the fact Merlin is missing. Gerard squire to Sir Rhaymond d'Abmont realizes an enchantment has occurred, but that the children must pretend all is normal or their enemies will take advantage of the vulnerability.

Gerard, Queen Guinevere's handmaiden Ailis, and Newt the horse boy know only Merlin can reverse the spell. They begin a trek to find the missing wizard unaware that a malevolent force will kill anyone who tries to prevent the destruction of Camelot.

GRAIL QUEST is a fun young adult Arthurian fantasy that looks at Camelot from an entirely different perspective as children must save the day. Though his appearances are limited, Merlin steals the show as everyone knows not to mess with someone who can turn you into a rat; in some ways he seems like the Merlin in the Disney cartoon The Sword in the Stone. The three heroes are terrific with differing personalities as the squire and the horse boy squabble all the time while the handmaiden tries to keep the peace. Targeting the Potter crowd, Laura Anne Gilman enchants her audience with her version of the Knights of the Round Table.

Harriet Klausner
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alex O. Wellins on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Grail Quest book one is a really generic series book like the Magic Tree House. It has nothing special about it. It is a better book for 8 year olds. It is fun-filled if you are 8 or 9. Though the book could be rated PG-13.
I'll give you a quick overview of the plot. You first meet a squire in Camelot named Gerard. There is a huge feast to kick off the quest for the holy grail. At midnight the whole kingdom falls asleep. Only twelve year olds and under are awake. Gerard, a stable boy named Newt, and a girl named Ailis go off to find Merlin who mysteriously left the day before the feast. Merlin tells them to find three talismans, unite them and head back to Camelot. At this time Merlin is imprisoned in an Ice house made by his arch-nemesis Nimue. On the quest for the talismans they battle a bridge troll and a dragon. The troll scene was gory, and what made the book PG-13.
There are very few pieces of historical accuracy in this book. If you are looking for some kind of biography by someone in the middle ages, and were not turned away when you read the back, turn away now! The whole book is based off of magical superstition and old wives tales from the Middle Ages. From dragons and bridge trolls to magic and portals to the land of the dead, this book has barely any historical fiction. The writer did get the talking down though. An example is that Newt calls Ailis something like little MISTRESS nosey. He also kept to the hierarchy of middle ages times, the book frequently mentions how there are four levels in the hierarchy:
Servants, the lowest form or class who aren't assigned to anything specific in the castle but help out wherever they can. Pages, who deliver messages.
Squires, who travel with their knight to aid them and carry things for them.
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