PurplyCookie's Reviews > I Am Mordred

I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer
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Sep 12, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: mythic-fiction, young-adult
Read from September 10 to 11, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

One of the most enigmatic and mysterious characters of Arthurian legend is Arthur's illegitimate son, Mordred. Unfortunately, he is also one of the least explored. In a market flooded with preachy, badly-written Arthuriana, "I Am Mordred" shines like a rare, dark gem.

The book opens with King Arthur sadly setting dozens of newborn babies adrift on the ocean. Several years later, we see a young boy living peacefully with a fisherman and his wife. Their happy lives are interrupted when a woman named Nyneve rides in to bring Mordred back to his biological family, the royal family of Lothian. However, they are not pleased to see him.

He soon finds out why: he is the product of incest between King Arthur and his half-sister Morgause, and is destined to kill his father someday. Shocked by this, Mordred goes to Camelot and soon begins craving his father's love and acceptance. He is also terrified of the prophecy that he will kill Arthur, and does everything he can to fight it. But can he fight his destiny, or only fulfil it?

One of the primary themes is whether a person is "born bad"; Mordred has, in his lifetime, done nothing wrong. Yet he is treated as a pariah by the people around him. His loneliness is broken only by Arthur and by Mordred's dog, Gull. While traditional Arthurian legends seem to be based around the idea of Mordred being evil because of his incestuous conception, Springer simply breaks those ideas apart. Nobody is simply born to be evil. Destiny and fate are some of the items that are also explored: Mordred seeks a way to avoid fulfilling the prophecy, but risks fulfilling it through avoidance.

King Arthur is a good supporting character, surprisingly complex. Springer portrays him as an essentially good man who committed a terrible crime in an effort to save himself and his kingdom, and who regrets it. He wants to love Mordred as Mordred wants to be loved, but is as afraid of the prophecy as Mordred is.

Like "I am Morgan Le Fay", this book is more of a psychological work that raises new questions to previous assumptions. I definitely recommend this book to all fans of Camelot.


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Book Details:

Title I Am Mordred: A Tale from Camelot
Author Nancy Springer
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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04/09 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my review Anabel :)


PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my review, Pinky222!


PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my review, Anya! :)


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