Jarrah's Reviews > The Quest of the Fair Unknown

The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris
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's review
Apr 03, 2008

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bookshelves: ya, z-arthurian, z-faeries, setting-hidden-world, setting-england, ya-specfic, historical-fantasy, fantasy, z-folklore-and-mythology
Read in March, 2008

YA historical fantasy, based on a melding of the quest for the Holy Grail and another tale called Lybeau Desconus (the Fair Unknown of the title). Beaufils grows up in the forest with his mother, and never sees another human being. On her death, she tells him to go out and find his father, and Beaufils, who assumes on the basis of limited information that his father is called Father, and thus should be fairly easy to find, sets out.

Morris' style never fails to make me happy. Having written about scores of knights, one or two princesses, rather a lot of faeries, a fool and a minstrel, in this book his hero is a religious one; or, rather, his quest is a religious one. My tolerance for religion in fiction is fairly low - it doesn't take many missteps to alienate me. But Morris takes on the religious journey with humour, including a marvellous passage involving a forest full of hermits, and of course the ridiculous Sir Galahad, purest of knights. It's all good.

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