From Publishers Weekly
Though usually portrayed as the worm in the bud that was Camelot, Mordred, the illegitimate offspring of King Arthur and sorceress Morgan le Fay, gets sympathetic treatment in Clegg's revisionist Arthurian fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy. Born into exile on the Isle of Glass, the young Mordred knows his father only through the stories bitter elders tell of Arthur's theft of Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. Mordred flourishes under the instruction of his mother and the wizard Merlin, but he's distracted from his education in druidic mysteries by his adolescent passion for a hermit living in the nearby wilds. That hermit's identity, coupled with a transgression that alienates Mordred from his community by the novel's end, all point to the inexorable destiny that shapes the tale's events and tinges them with pathos. Clegg (The Priest of Blood
) maintains a nice balance between the human and mythic dimensions of his characters, portraying the familiar elements of their story from refreshingly original angles. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Clegg puts an inspired wrinkle in the hoary tale of Arthur and the grail by casting Arthur's kindred enemy, Mordred, as a gay man. An injured stranger in a cloak and odd, paganish mask, is captured and held in a monastery, igniting wild speculation among the locals, who believe him a notorious traitor. And so he is. He is Mordred, the bastard son of Arthur Pendragon and his half sister, the witch-queen Morgan Le Fay, and he now awaits trial for murder and treason. The young monk tending him is keenly interested in him, and so for a small price, the bastard son unfolds his story. All his life, Mordred has been at the center of powerful drives--his own and those of his mother. Morgan is obsessed with vengeance against Arthur, and Mordred is absolutely devoted to his unbalanced mother. But he is terribly conflicted about his father and wildly, passionately, hopelessly in love with Lancelot. The tale he unfolds culminates in an unholy betrayal of his own magical talent by someone he loved and trusted all his life. This is the riveting first volume in a trilogy. How excellent. Paula LuedtkeCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved