Laura's Reviews > Here Lies Arthur

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve
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's review
Jun 15, 2011

really liked it
Read in June, 2011

If you're intrigued by the legend of King Arthur, this is a must-read. But even if you just like well-written historical fiction, I also highly recommend this book. There are not many facts about King Arthur, and this author creates an unusual spin on the existing tales. It is told from the point of view of a young girl taken in by Myrddin (Merlin - the names in this telling are from the Welsh) after Arthur burns the manor she works for. We meet all the main characters, but the story shatters the happy, idyllic lore of the men of the Round Table. Arthur is a thug, and life in the 5th or 6th century is hard. Myrddin the bard spends his life creating stories that will bolster Arthur's claim to glory - and this is possible because in post-Roman Britain, the pull of devotion to Roman gods was still strong in spite of the new religion of Christianity. Just like today, people believe what they want to believe. And Myrddin spends his life creating a legend for Arthur that will allow him to unite Britain against the Saxons. The girl Gwyna, who spends much of her time disguised as a boy (Gwyn) is a perfect voice to show the times as they really were, according to this author.

While there is some violence and nudity, I still highly recommend this book for anyone 8th grade and up. It's such a good example of the power of story throughout history. The chapters are very short and each ending begs the reader to continue reading. Adults will like it, too, as a quick read and as still another look at the legend of King Arthur.
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