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The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf (The Squire's Tales) Hardcover – April 24, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-A rollicking treatment of a lesser-known episode from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur. Teenaged Lady Lynet sets out for Camelot, looking for a champion to free her family's castle from the siege of an evil knight. Along the way, she befriends several mysterious companions, none of whom is exactly as he or she first appears. Scattered throughout Lynet's saga are droll, unusually modern portrayals of many familiar Arthurian characters. The heroine, nicknamed the Savage Damsel, is a take-charge kind of gal. Noble Sir Gareth appears as a "clothheaded ninny," whose turbocharged sense of honor forces him into an unnecessary duel with every knight he stumbles across, and brave Sir Lancelot has burned out on chivalry and admits he has become a media creation. The novel is also enjoyable for its good-natured spoofing of the conventions of its medieval setting. Knights of the Round Table avoid any tournament where the prize is a lady's hand in marriage, figuring there must be something wrong with her. Characters poke fun at one another's lofty, Maloryesque language. Also, some of the most courageous knights are shown to be none too bright, which explains why they risk their lives so readily. Although the story lacks the majesty of other tales closer to the heart of the Arthurian legend, it is great fun and will be enjoyed by fans of the genre.
Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A perfectly delicious, not entirely serious, reimagining of part of Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Sixteen-year-old Lady Lynet, younger sister of the beautiful, shallow Lyonesse, is tired of watching the Red Knight slaughter Lyonesse's suitors and stealthily rides to Camelot to ask King Arthur to send a knight to defeat Red. She's worried, though, because her father died opposing Arthur. She's aided by a dwarf she meets along the way, a polite, knowledgeable fellow, who helps her navigate the paths to Camelot, joining her and the kitchen knave Beaumains--or is Beaumains really someone else? As they travel, Lynet sees a lot of knights fighting, learns that appearances can be deceiving, and finds true love. There's a lot of commentary about the foolishness of men--certainly this gaggle of knights offers much to giggle at--and Lynet's directness contrasts strongly with her sister's simper and whine. Lancelot, Gawain, and Morgan Le Fay make cameo appearances, but no previous knowledge of Arthurian legend is required to enjoy this sweetly amusing tale. GraceAnne A. DeCandido

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Squire's Tales
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395971268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395971260
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,674 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

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I recogmend reading the first two books before this one.
Kindle Customer
In that case, I strongly recommend Gerald Morris' other works, about Sir Gawain and his squire Terence.
The book is filled with action, humor, romance, and, on top of all that, magic!
Fiona Barton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Bechaz on July 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I would honestly give this book more stars if I could! Don't be deceived into thinking this is simply a kids book--whilst I thoroughly recommend it as a great read for kids and teens, it is in fact fabulous literary fodder for readers of any age, especially those with a fascination for Arthurian legends, or anyone interested in seeing Sir Thomas Malory's work Le Morte D'Arthur updated and made more accessible. This is the BEST interpretation of the tale 'The Kitchen Knight' that I have ever read (and I've read a few of them). This one actually explains all the loose ends and incomprehensible plot twists that the original version contained, and improves the story no end. Gerald Morris is a truly gifted author, and I frequently laughed out loud at the delightful, witty dialogue in this book. So enthralled was I that once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down, not even to go to sleep (my eyes were red and puffy the next day, but it was worth it!) Not only that, but as soon as I finished it, I started reading it all over again. It was just that good!

I loved the underlying premise of this story--that beauty is more than just skindeep, and that one should not choose their friends and allies just for their looks. None of the main characters in this book are what they seem, and the fun is in unravelling the mysteries surrounding them. I adored the character of Lady Lynet--she is brave, smart and not afraid to speak her mind or take chances. Furthermore, she is a big, strong girl with a healthy appetite, which makes her a very refreshing change from your usual insipid, willow-thin, eat-like-a-sparrow heroines. And although she starts out as a damsel in distress, she is never a weak and helpless girl, but rather a resourceful go-getting kind of woman.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoy a good adventure novel, and this one has plenty of disquised knights, corageous ladies, and magical sidekicks. Lynet leaves her home at the castle Perle to request Arthur's help in freeing her family from a troublesome knight. Unfortunately, the only help she can muster is a kitchen hand with a name that means "beautiful hands." She also encounters a helpful dwarf named Roger who gladly accompanies her on her quest. The travellers meet many original characters and old friends that make an appearance from Morris's other novels, A Squire's Tale and A Squire, His Knight and His Lady. A novel for anyone who likes an adventure, it also contains an inkling of romance. I read parts of it over and over!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Each book in this series is a genuine pleasure to read! If you enjoy good fantasy, yet shy away from the Arthurian legends, please give these books a try. They are full of all the great fantasy features: quests, battles, damsels, knights, dwarves, sorcery, etc, yet do not bog you down with a confusing cast of characters.They are also written with a wonderful humorous flair, as well as a touch of romance. Just a lot of fun!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I figured that this book couldn't be as good as the previous two, if Gawain and Terence have minimal roles. But instead we have a few of the holes filled into their lives in the forms of a mysterious dwarf named Roger and a fiery young woman named Lynet.
Quite annoyingly, a killer knight has appointed himself the champion of Lynet's sister, Lyonesse. Lyonesse is an air-headed, blonde ditz, while plain Lynet sets off to King Arthur's court to find a champion-without revealing who she is. She ends up taking a fancy-talking kitchen boy to do battle with the knight, but virtually everyone she meets has a strange secret...
Lynet is a glorious heroine, a gal who is unafraid to threaten someone with a spear or venture to Camelot. Roger is wit incarnate, with a very surprising secret at his core. And you MUST read more about King Arthur.
Some of the favorite characters return, including the excellent Morgan le Fay, who teaches Lynet some excellent lessons. It also teaches the quality of a good heart above a pretty face.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Friedman on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I don't normally like YA fantasy (anymore...I used to love it, when I was a YA), but this book was absolutely delightful. It's a vaguely Arthurian tale of a strong young woman who sets off to find a way out of 'family problems' (a brute who's in love with her sister has the family under siege in their home). She arrives at King Arthur's castle seeking aid, only to be assigned a kitchen boy as a champion. Does she inevitably fall in love with the handsome kitchen boy? Yes. Is that the end of the story? Not even close.
What I like best about this writer's style is the character development over the course of the story. No one is who they were assumed to be at the beginning--sometimes literally (there is at least one enchantment and two or three people living incognito), but more often simply because their personalities are fleshed out, elaborated, and often changed by events and by each other over the course of the entire book. Sometimes a character you like surprises you with a spate of pigheadedness; sometimes a handsome man who is smart with a sword turns out not to be smart in other ways. In the end we know these characters like we know our friends: we accept their shortcomings even as we admire their good points.
Morris has a gift for dialogue, and in reading kids' reviews of his books, what you see most is the word 'funny': humor seems to be a necessary ingredient in his novels. Fun, light, easy-to-read, not the least bit historical (but who cares?), and utterly involving. I highly recommend this book to anyone who values these characteristics.
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