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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  7,811 ratings  ·  188 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 (first published 1983)
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Mark ~ Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
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...more
Feb 28, 2008 Linda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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...more
Aug 17, 2012 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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...more
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...more
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
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!
One of the best modern renditions of the classic Arthurian saga I've ever read, Mary Stewart brings her characters to life with vivid details and makes the reader feel great empathy for them, especially in the case of Mordred. Stewart's ability to take the very tricky situation of Mordred and make him both a character we find awe-inspiring while also still retaining aspects of his classic role of a villian in the Arthurian legend, plus her ability to render details of historical setting and acti...more
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...more
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.
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is listed on LibraryThing as Book 4 of Mary Stewart's "Arthurian Saga." The first three books are the story of Merlin as he tells it, and are a beguiling mixture of fantasy and historical fiction, with an emphasis on the historical. The first book, The Crystal Cave was assigned to me in high school. Not the usual kind of assigned reading, but I suspect my teacher was wise enough that above all, the best you can do is spark a love for reading and history, and one does not feed that on Cather...more
A good book, though not as good as the Merlin trilogy, partly because of the “absurdities” (the author’s term) inherent in the Mordred romance. Stewart does her utmost to iron out some of these problems, but is less successful here than in the Merlin trilogy. Merlin’s “magic” can be explained by natural causes as well as his role as a prophet. Some elements of this story simply cannot, especially when relating to the inconsistent behaviors of some of the main characters, particularly Arthur.

At the start of this book I really liked it, perhaps more than the Merlin trilogy, for its simplicity and writing style. The characters were interesting, and I liked seeing the story from a different point of view. Mordred's backstory was well-explained and believable. However, as the pages got closer, and the inevitable would unfortunately have to happen, the ending seemed out of place. The Merlin trilogy ended happily, as a contrast to Merlin's original fate, which fit and led me to believe th...more
Good book. It was interesting coming from a narrator besides Merlin. Mordred was well written. Once again, Stewart portrays everyone in the best light possible. There are very few true villains in her version of the legend. I think it is appreciated and nuanced in the case of Mordred, maybe not in every other case. Gawain is a very effective flat character who is not a villain, but definitely not a sympathetic character. The customs of manhood and nobility of the time are just barbaric. It's sad...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in December 2001.

"The wicked day of destiny" is how Malory described the battle of Camlann, at which Arthur was victorious but was mortally wounded by his traitorous son Mordred. The tragic ending of the story interested the medieval mind more than it does our own, with our cultural yearning for the cosy, happy ending; and this is why today's retellings tend not to concentrate on the event which gave Malory the title for his whole poem, Le Morte d'Arthur.

Normalyn Espejo
I like this part of the book, "You and I, Emrys,"she had said, giving him the boyhood name Merlin had used for him,"have let ourselves be blinded by prophecy. 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. Our own follies, not the gods, foredoom us. The gods are spirits, they work by men's hands, and there are men who are brave enough to stand up and say; "I am a man; I will not."

All throughout the...more
Such a tragic story. Mary Stewart is an amazing writer; each character lives up to and beyond the legend. Mary Stewart brings a knowledgeable historian type understanding to the tale. She makes me believe that it could have happened this way.
This story is told from the perspective of Mordred. Born of an incestuous relationship, Mordred is a pawn in a game of revenge and betrayal, a deadly game that began when his mother, Morgause, Arthur's half-sister, seduced the young king. Mordred is reared i...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...more
As a child I loved this book. I'm still not sure why. Maybe it was the blend of mystery, intrigue and sex that I was reading way before I was ready for it. Maybe it was the air of legend that hung about the proceedings.

This reread has been quite illuminating. For whatever reason, Stewart's saga has lost some of its allure. Now I notice how slow the pacing is, how all of the major action is told and not shown and just how cardboard the female antagonist is. I didn't mind these flaws so much when...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
4.5 Stars

"All that we have," she said, "is to live what life brings. Die what death comes."

I really enjoyed this book. Mordred is an interesting character and I really liked this version of his and Arthur's story, where he is overall a very loyal and good person. Although I recommend reading the other three books of the Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart before, this book could also work as a stand-alone novel. I gave four stars to the other three books, but this one I enjoyed more because I liked M...more
Bit of a disappointing end to Mary Stewart's Arthurian tales.
Loads of details at some points then bits where things fast forward or big events are dismissed in a brief description.
The tight prophecy driven plots of the 1st 3 books unravel here, the prophecy (and much else besides) driven by random events and accidents.
Expected more from Gawain in this tale, and the fact that the book focused on Mordred doesn't balance this lack of Orkadian swashbuckling as it doesn't actually get it's teeth into...more
I loved the first two books in this saga. In the third book, I felt like I lost a loved one at the end of the novel, and while it was sad, I made my goodbyes and was ready to move on from this character and this story. When I heard there was a fourth novel, I was excited (because everyone is always excited to revisit beloved characters) but also somewhat confused. The end of the 3rd book had a very clear ending, at least for Merlin, and for me, that was the only character I really cared about. I...more
Debby Allen
I really wanted to like this book. But it was more of the same. Thank goodness the narration moved from first person Melin to third person Mordred, because I was well and truly sick of Merlin. But once again, we have a child born to greatness but growing up all unknowing, First Merlin, then Arthur, and now Mordred? I suppose you could call it keeping parallels in the story structure, but its also hackneyed. I did enjoy the different take on Mordred, he was more interesting than the usual evil sc...more
The fourth volume of Mary Stewart's Arthurian series takes place after Merlin has left the story. It is told in Mordred's voice. According to the Annales Cambriae Medraut and Arthur fell at Camlann. That is the closest thing to a historical record 300 years after the fact that we have for the existence of someone that came to be known as Mordred. In early Welsh tradition he was not Arthur's son, but a noble who slapped Gwenhwyfar in a conflict that led to Arthur's fall, but the medieval tellers...more
This was a re-read from when I was a teenager. I enjoyed it and what brought me to read it again was my girls watching of the tv show Merlin. I enjoyed Mary STewart's interpretation. It is a story with an unsatisfactory ending, for me. The story or Merlin, arthur & Mordred are interesting and she give the actual legend details at the end of the book. The books are a little slow & while pretty clean - there are a lot of children born out of wedlock!!
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Mordred, son of Arthur 14 31 Jun 27, 2014 11:10PM  
Can I start with this one? 10 37 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
More about Mary Stewart...
The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1) The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2) The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3) Nine Coaches Waiting The Moonspinners

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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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