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The Quest of the Fair Unknown (The Squire's Tales) Hardcover – October 30, 2006

11 customer reviews
Book 8 of 10 in the Squire's Tales Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–Morris continues his tradition of effectively translating the tales of King Arthur for a new generation of readers. Beaufils spends the first 17 years of his life in a forest cottage with his loving mother, never meeting another human being. Then, upon her urging, he goes forth into the world of men, to seek out King Arthur's court and his erstwhile father. This unique background makes the protagonist the perfect foil for the other characters' antics. He bumbles along, innocently taming evil as he seeks his father and helps his friends complete their own quests. While less mature readers will be carried away by the compelling story line and interesting characters, more sophisticated teens will appreciate the dry wit with which Morris reveals his character's flaws. A heartwarming and thought-provoking tale, this story is sure to entertain readers.–Nicki Clausen-Grace, Carillon Elementary School, Oviedo, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Morris' retellings of Arthurian legends--and others from English lore, mostly medieval--never disappoint. His language is sly and charming and funny; his characters embody both the tale and the gentle lessons he imparts. Here a Candide-like innocent, called Beaufils ("Fair son"), buries his mother, the only other person he as ever seen, and sets out to find his father, a knight of Camelot. Beaufils encounters the uptight Galahad and the blustery Sir Bors; makes a friend of the fiesty Lady Ellyn; finds the Grail and a dragon and the World of Faeries--and his father and his real name. The theme of finding and recognizing real goodness runs like a bright gold thread through this tapestry of unholy hermits, stodgy knights, and devious ladies, braided with the silver of good friends, wise counsel, and Beaufils' sweetly blinding innocence. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: The Squire's Tales (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618631526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618631520
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,621,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gerald Morris grew up in Singapore, where his parents were Baptist missionaries. Singapore was a great, safe place to grow up, and he remembers that time with fond nostalgia. (Ditto for being Baptist, actually.) Since reaching adulthood, he has worked as a minister, a religion professor, a landscaper, and a teacher, all to support his predilection for writing children's novels. Or maybe the writing income supports his ministry habit.

He now lives in Wausau, Wisconsin with his wife and three kids. (Okay, one's at college and another's about to go.) There he serves as associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church, writes children's and YA novels (mostly about King Arthur), and still occasionally scapes land.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Thomas on October 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Gerald Morris' work, and this is a delightful addition to his Squire's Tales Series. The story follows an innocent who goes in search of his father after the death of his mother. Supporting characters include new characters Galahad, Ellyn, Bors and Lionel, and old favorites Gawain and Terrance. There are no fools in this book, a change for the series, and I think it is an improvement. Everyone seems to have a motivation; each of them is trying to do right in his own way (some failing miserably), which is appropriate for the subject matter. Yes, admidst the light banter, there are suprisingly deep themes. Gerald Morris explores the nature of right and wrong and the purpose of existence, and I think he pulls it off nicely. This book can be enjoyed by children for its wit and adventure and by adults for [the same reasons plus] the questions it raises.

This book is a bit different from the rest of the series in it seems to set itself up for a sequal. It is much shorter than previous novels, and I suspect that this book may be half of the original story idea. Lancelot, for instance, is mentioned at the beginning of the book, but he never appears later on, even though the events of the book could be really close to home for him. A new bad guy character is introduced, and some characters are warned about him, but afterwards he disappears from the narrative. You should not take this to mean that the book has plot holes. It is more a sense that future events in the series are being foreshadowed here, and I look forward to reading that book as well.

Now, as a bonus, I will talk about my favorite aspect of the series as a whole--the cover art. This book is as ridiculous as ever (part of the charm), a hodgepodge of victorian clip art with visible scan lines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Quest of the Fair Unknown is a very good book. Starting with Beaufils (pronounced Bo-feece) burying his mother and taking off to Camelot, the story is filled with transformations, magic, and adventure. It is really funny and is a great read.

The speech is realistic, the details descriptive yet not boring, and the characters very interesting. While Galahad and the hermits are just hilarious, others are more quiet, fun, active or, (in Beaufils' case)innocent.

I gave this book four stars simply because in my opinion The Squire's Tale is better. But really, this book is a must read, as of all Gerald Morris' books. The Quest of the Fair Unknown has a surprising but happy ending, and I enjoyed it very much.

P.S (The lady on the front cover is NOT killing the donkey!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben Bookman on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have read all the Squire's Tale Books. I enjoyed number 8 very much, just as I enjoyed all the others. Stories of knights and King Arthur in particular have always been enjoyable to me. One of the professional reviews referred to the beginning age for this book as 5th grade and another said age 9. I disagree, though not drastically. My daughter is in the 4th grade. I would not want her to read it until she is in middle school, which is now the 6th grade in our district. The main character is looking for his father who does not know he was born out of wedlock. There is at least one reference to young knights "tomcatting around". The earlier books could perhaps be for a slightly younger age, but the stories are a little more mature in the later books for at least a middle school age. Of course, the Arthurian legends contain many references to faithfulness and unfaithfulness in marriage. Other than this simple caution, I think the books are a wonderful read. I would have read everyone of them straight through if I did not have two wonderful kids to distract me. Gerald Morris does a great job with his characters, the way he uses the original legends in the stories, and the hilarious situational and verbal humor. I am delighted to have discovered all the books by Morris while browsing and waiting on my kids at the library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
THE QUEST OF THE FAIR UNKNOWN provides a fine fantasy telling of a boy's quest to find his father, a knight of King Arthur's court. Beaufils leaves his isolated forest home in search of a man he knows only as 'Father' and finds himself on a mission to seek the Holy Grail in this fine story of adventure and exploration.
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Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed every one of Gerald Morris' books based on the Arthurian romances. They are witty and wise. At first I thought this one might be a let-down after the previous volumes; Galahad is so tiresome. Beaufils saves the day: His innocence and naivite remind us how odd we humans are.

However, I am saddened to recognize the dissolution of the Round Table in the quest for the Holy Grail. I fear it means no more of these marvelous books, as enjoyable for me as for my ten-year-old grandson, who has been devouring them at the rate of two or three a week since getting out of school.
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By Me on January 16, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
WOW gold medal for the book of DRAGONS and a old-fashioned lamp the first time since the Earth and another I wish it were a dog in this side effects on the Earth and another one store and another for kindle is coming from the Wardrobe YouTube video games and a old-fashioned support for the first place in the Wardrobe with the support of these things are looking to see the Earth and a old man in this stuff is coming from the Wardrobe with the Earth and I would do well in thirst for me yt? and a half-man in this side of DRAGONS effects on the first time
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