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The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4)
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The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga #4)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,336 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
Now, the spellbinding, final chapter of King Arthur's reign, where Mordred, sired by incest, reared in secrecy, ingratiates himself at court, & sets in motion the Fates & the end of Arthur. Born of an incestuous relationship between King Arthur and his half sister, the evil sorceress Morgause, the bastard Mordred is reared in secrecy. Called to Camelot by events he ...more
Library Binding, 417 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval (first published 1981)
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"It was coming now, surely, the future he had dreaded, and yet longed for, with the strange, restless and sometimes violent feelings of rebellion he had had against the life to which he had been born, and to which he had believed himself sentenced till death, like all his parents’ kin."

Well, once again Mary Stewart did not fail to captivate me – I adored this! In this fourth book of the Arthurian saga, Mordred takes center stage. Stewart takes the legend and dissects the whole into its many laye
Sara Steger
Jul 03, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
“The wicked day of destiny,” as Malory calls it, is the day when Arthur’s final battle was fought at Camlann. In this battle, we are told, “Arthur and Medraut fell.” (from the author’s notes provided at the end of this book).

This is what we know of Mordred, and the subsequent legend has painted him to be a cunning and selfish bastard, who rose against his father, Arthur, and in an attempt to seize his kingdom brought them both low. What if he were none of those things? What if he were c
Mar 24, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this was the last book of four and I must say thoroughly enjoyed them. An epic telling of the Arthur saga if ever there is one. I would give 5* to the series as a whole if this was possible, but as individual books tend more to lean to a very solid 4* for each. All books written with a wonderful descriptive style that keeps the reader enthralled from beginning to end.

What I liked about this last book which rounds off the story was the slant given to Modred. In the first three books we learn
Wayne Barrett
Jan 13, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, re-read, 2016

What a great culmination to the series.

i love the way Mary Stewart portrays Mordred in this version. I don't want to give too much away but don't expect the bad guy--traitor of Arthur we have so come to accept.

This is a re-read and I still consider it a fantastic series.
Arrrghhh, this book! Okay, on the good side: Stewart knew the Arthurian material well and handled it with confidence, often bringing in small details in ways which were a delight to spot (but which didn’t particularly harm the narrative if you didn’t spot them). And it’s an interesting take on Mordred: a loyal son to Arthur, once he knows about it, taking up much the same sort of relationship as between Merlin and Ambrosius, or Arthur and Merlin. His emotions are for the most part really well do ...more
Mary-Jean Harris
This was one of the best books ever! It was just enchanting, and yes, it was a "wicked day" at the end, but I expected that, and although the last chapter was rather dismal, I found that the beauty of the last paragraph of the epilogue made up for it.
The characters were all well crafted and intriguing. Even the characters just introduced in this book, like Mordred and the Orkney boys, were so fun to follow. And building on Arthur and Morgause from previous books was great too, because you can re
Nov 15, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Stewart's retelling of Arthur & Mordred's story. We now the sad ending. I enjoy her inclusion of the Legends and her reasons for telling the story as she did.
Aug 17, 2012 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Arthurian fiction
The Wicked Day is the final volume in Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga, which began with The Crystal Cave. Unlike the first three books in the series, where Merlin is the first-person narrator, The Wicked Day is told in the third person but focuses on the life of Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son, born of his incestuous tryst with his half-sister Morgause. In Stewart’s vision of Arthur’s Britain, he and his son are hapless pawns in a tragic fate that neither desire. It would make for a great story ...more
Linda Orvis
Feb 28, 2008 Linda Orvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves Arthurian legends
Recommended to Linda by: Jane Lewis
Shelves: favorites
Mary Stewart wrote the quintessential Merlin/Arthur legends. I've read all the Arthur books I could find, from Le Morte Darthur, John Steinbeck's try at it (The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights) to Lawhead. Nothing written can stack up to Stewart's obvious background of the history of the British Isles, and her love for the land. She breathes life into these legendary characters and makes them hers. To prove their excellence--you can still buy the four books of the series in bookstores.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2012 Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-times, 2012
I did not read this as a historical treatise nor do I want to dwell on the academic veracity of the story.
At the end of the book there is a section "The Legend" which summarises the relevant parts of Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th century 'History of the Kings of Britain' & Malory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur' of the 15th century. The subsequent author's note and the table of known historical dates makes clear the viewpoint of the author from which this tail-note to her Merlin trilogy was written.

I fo
Jul 28, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, king-arthur
The book that made me realize how much I liked Mordred, and how much it would suck to be him.
The epic consolidation of Mary Stewart's Merlin Quartet -- it is, perhaps, ironic that this last edition to the series is not about Merlin at all, but rather Mordred, the bastard son of Arthur Pendragon and his half-sister Morgause. Yet despite this unusual switch of main character, The Wicked Day closes the Arthurian legend with grace and elegance and leaves the growing legend of Merlin delightfully unfinished, fated to haunt the mists of Bryn Myrddin as either man, myth, or both.
As for the ta
Earlier I commented that Mordred's head, even painted as sympathetically as Stewart does, wasn't a comfortable place to stay for long. I think I know now what Lewis was talking about when he said that writing his Screwtape Letters gave his mind cramps; I think my heart's got a few new knots to be untangled thanks to this book. Don't get me wrong--the style is not bad (though not, I would venture, on the same level of beauty as the Merlin trilogy). And its not even that Mordred himself is particu ...more
Benjamin Thomas
The Wicked Day is the fourth and final book in Mary Stewart's "Arthurian Saga". It's sort of interesting that the first three books are referred to as "The Merlin Trilogy" but when the fourth book is added it becomes "The Arthurian Saga". This time, Ms Stewart applies her considerable talents to the story of Mordred, telling the entire story from his birth, through his growing up, and to its inevitable conclusion.

This has to be one of the most difficult things to do in fiction writing. Take a we
Mar 13, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great end to a wonderful series. I really wish more people in my generation would read this series because even though it has been many years since it was published, this is a series that I have read multiple times. If you have read the rest of the series and are wondering whether or not to finish it, I would definitely recommend finishing the series!
Aug 12, 2016 Vendela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhhhhh this series. Favorite version of the Arthurian saga, favorite rewrite of complex source material, favorite redemption of someone who always seemed to be a caricature villain in most other versions. This is so good, and so sad at the end, and so beautiful, and I love that Stewart wanted a rewrite to make sense of it all.
Debara Zeller
Feb 28, 2016 Debara Zeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this one "extra credit" for presenting events through the eyes of the much-maligned Mordred. I think Stewart pulls it off.
This book was an unnessecary edition to an already bad ending of a series.I am sad to say that the third book "The Last Enchantment" was utterly underwhelming and anticlimactic. The "Wicked Day" reminds me of "Breaking Dawn" of the Twilight series. A fourth book to what should have been a trilogy that should never have been written. I had hope that this book which is considerably longer than Nancy Springer's "I am Mordred" would treat Mordred, who is one of my favorite characters in Arthurian li ...more
For a time back in the 80’s & 90’s, my reading material of choice was frequently bodice rippers, historical fiction, and regency romances with a few contemporary best sellers thrown in for good measure. Most of them were pretty steamy (blush) &/or overly romantic, but I read them during a time in my life when I found myself as a single parent, and these books fit the bill. I found them to be highly entertaining.

I recently donated a slew of them, but I wanted to catalog them all the same
Nov 15, 2014 Roxie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, fantasy
After slogging through the Merlin trilogy, I picked this book up mostly to finish the series. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Most authors in the Arthurian genre are content to leave Mordred as the dark foil to bright shining Arthur; an unrepentant villain. But I really liked Stewart's take on him; that he was ambitious but not treacherous, and that it was tragic miscommunication and the fate of the gods that led to Arthur's downfall.

I did have a little trouble with transitioning from Mer
Garth Mailman
Sep 24, 2014 Garth Mailman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the book begins we have jumped back at least 10 years to the Orkney Islands and the small-holding where Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate incestuous son is being raised in secret. As reward for their care the couple have the 10-year-old ripped from their home and they murdered that same night. The witch Queen Morgause had repaired to this remote Orkney stronghold after the death of her husband Lot--interesting symbolism there--with her three sons with number four still in her womb. Life in this ...more
d Kate dooley
After so thoroughly enjoying the Merlin trilogy, I was thrilled to find this book, yet found it a bit less enjoyable than the other three. I don't like how Mary Stewart took the story here. I don't buy the premise of Mordred as innocent bystander, nor Morgause as ultimate evil.

With The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment, I was willing to believe Ms. Stewart was perhaps the once and future bard of Camelot. But this one tarnished the image.

There are two passages I take with m
Aug 15, 2012 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd read her Merlin books the Crystal Cave, etc., 30 years or more ago. Didn't know there was a fourth in the series and ran across this at a used book store. Retells the latter part of the Arthurian tale (in a sort of mash-up of Monmouth & Mallory) from Mordred's point of view, and portrays him as a better man than is traditional. Of course that bar is set pretty low... An absorbing read.
Apr 03, 2016 Micaela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I definitely liked it, a nice slow-going story focusing on Mordred as an actual human being, portrayed much more as a victim of fate a la Oedipus than an actual active Treacherous Bastard. I was pleased with the way Stewart balanced the eccentric storylines of the source material and modern literary aesthetic. I actually liked Mordred enough that I was half hoping she would throw out the source ending entirely and give us a happier story, but no, we all knew how this was going to end.

I wouldn't
Carla Nayland
An intriguing and attractive retelling of the latter part of Arthur's legend from the point of view of Mordred, who is much more interesting than the black villain of tradition.
Apr 15, 2016 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the book for years, but I never was fond of Mordred, so I kept putting it off. I finally made myself read it and I am so glad I did. This book puts Mordred in an entirely different and plausible light. I liked the honorable man that Mordred became. We all know how the story must end, and I mourned that it came to that -- two honorable men made enemies by ill-luck or the gods.

This was an excellent book and well worth reading. If the only Mordred you know is through the musical Camelot, be p
Nancy Ellis
Apr 02, 2016 Nancy Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the absolute best retelling of the story of Mordred. I have read several books about King Arthur and Mordred, but none of them ever held my interest the way Mary Stewart's books have. She portrays both men, as well as all other characters in the story, as totally believable, fully human in all qualities, neither superman nor villain. I feel her portrait of Mordred as an exceptional man, not a sneaky, conniving weasel, is so beautifully done, you can't help but be saddened by the tragic e ...more
Asher J. Klassen
I suppose it says something about Stewart that it is not surprising to have finished this book and found myself now considering Mordred to be my favourite character within the Arthurian mythos. Her Merlin trilogy had a similar effect on me: destabilizing all preconceived ideas of who these figures were and reworking their roles and motives into, if anything, a more compelling tapestry of intrigue. In the case of Mordred, well, what's not to like about a moody, quick-witted young man from the dis ...more
Andrew M.
Nov 09, 2015 Andrew M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an over all well rounded book. Mary gave a new creative retelling of the Arthurian Saga. Through the eyes of Mordred. Who was the son of King Arthur and his half-sister Morgause. Going through the original story of the knights of the round tale with her own writing style makes this book truly great. With each page making you sit up in you chair. Wondering what his final decision would be and who he would side with. As well as growing fond of the characters and the world built arou ...more
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The Reading For P...: June 2016 Buddy Read Wicked Day with the Enchanted Readers 55 29 Aug 11, 2016 07:50AM  
Mordred, son of Arthur 14 34 Jun 27, 2014 11:10PM  
Can I start with this one? 10 39 Jun 23, 2014 08:29AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
More about Mary Stewart...

Other Books in the Series

Arthurian Saga (5 books)
  • The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1)
  • The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2)
  • The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3)
  • The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga, #5)

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“We have lived under the edge of doom, and feel ourselves now facing the long-threatened fate. But hear this Emrys: fate is made by men, not gods.” 2 likes
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