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The Wicked Day

(Arthurian Saga #4)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  10,574 ratings  ·  292 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
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published 1983 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,574 ratings  ·  292 reviews

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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
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

This book is only part of a series in Goodreadsland. Lady Stewart quite clearly wrote this novel as a standalone - she just revisited a legendary world she loved. So a part of this story runs parallel to The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3) by Mary Stewart . And some characters are realised slightly differently, most notably Nimuë in this reinterpretation of a well known legend.

But once you readjust your expectations, this is a cracking tale.

Morgause remains evil - people don't have to wrong her to get bumped off and her interest in her sons is, at best, capritale.
May 26, 2011 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/>“The
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
The Wicked Day explores the story of Mordred—prophesized to bring doom to Arthur. Mordred in this version is certainly an ambitious young man but not a ‘villain’ or evil as (Stewart herself notes) other accounts may have made him out to be, but instead perhaps a victim of circumstances. Mordred is sensible and level-headed—very different from his half-brothers, who are inclined to fly off the handle. The other Arthur book I read earlier this year was for younger readers, where although the chara ...more
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
Holy moly this was bad. I lost any sense of interest in this book about 1/3 of the way through. I think that Stewart did the best she could. She wanted to keep the legend of Arthur and his Round Table on point as much as possible. However, the characterizations in this whole book were off for me. Arthur pretty much is not that smart. Mordred is just misunderstood. And Guinevere is not bright at all, and is only wanted by every man it seems due to her beauty. I don't read any of Marion Zimmer Bra ...more
Dec 19, 2012 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

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.
Sotiris Karaiskos
Leaving back the story of Merlin, the author leads us to the story behind the ultimate and fatal battle that is the epitome of King Arthur's history. This story is followed through the look of Mordred, who has the role of the bad guy in the whole affair. The author, however, follows a different approach presenting him to have much more complex motivations. By watching him from childhood to the end, we see a man who wants to do the right thing, is sensitive to injustice, has logical thinking, and ...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
Nov 26, 2008 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 – two dece ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2015 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.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book #4 surpasses with intriguing conflicts and real eye to eye oppositions - far more than #2 or #3. It was much easier to read than the middle two books of the tale of Arthur, as it held far less of the magical and mystic semi-conscious states of Merlin's "eyes". This one was from a Mordred lens instead, the only one of the 4 books that comprise the Arthurian Saga that doesn't hold Merlin as the narrator.

Evil people, power mongers galore, and the spirit of the beginning times
Linda Orvis
Feb 28, 2008 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.
Jonathan Donihue
This fourth book in the Arthurian Saga series followes the life and exploits of Mordred, Arthur's son.

This book approaches its subject matter from a considered and unique perspective. All the other versions of the story that I've read or watched have portrayed the incestuously begotten Mordred as thoroughly villainous. He is often shown as mentally disturbed - sometimes even as physically misshapen - and the reasons for his treachery are shallow, if they are given at all.

Ms Stewart, on the other h
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this retelling, from a very different view, of the King Arthur and Mordred story. I found this book almost more absorbing than Mary Stewart's original Merlin trilogy. I especially like how the author gave the details of the legend at the end of each book, as well as the few historical facts that are known or believed. I have always been fascinated by the King Arthur legend and found this book particularly compelling.
debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
Wow! Just wow. Full review to follow!
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, other-times
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. ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: king-arthur, own
The book that made me realize how much I liked Mordred, and how much it would suck to be him.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel stands alone, though the fourth in truth. With so many intricate characters sharing the pages with their own perspectives, the read is a speedy and knowledgable one. Much awareness of the occurring accounts, from separate sides in war even, the fortunate reader has.
So begins early in the novel and is somewhat a cause to deter, though this could be due to its incredibly jarring dissimilar writing style as the previous trilogy? Mordred as a lad is approached by the Orkney Queen Mo
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A random thing that I noticed:
"Bedwyr, still with the gentleness that Mordred would never have suspected in him, said, half to himself: 'She has a lovely face. God give her rest.'"

This reminded me of the ending of the poem "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred Tennyson:
"Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, 'She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.'"

Not to mention, the lady in the book is named Elen while th
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. Ta
Mary Stewart has a magical touch when bringing the Arthurian legends to life. Her Crystal Cave is a classic and I read that and The Hollow Hills several times during the 1970s. It is my loss that I had not read The Wicked Day before now. (In my defence, it had not yet been published when I was infatuated with the others in the series.)

The Wicked Day brings the tale of Arthur to a close. Ms Stewart has made her viewpoint that of Mordred, the illegitimate son of Arthur by his half-sist
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 review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 tale
Sep 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2014 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 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.
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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, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, 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, an

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)
“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
“All that we have is to live what life brings. Die what death comes.” 2 likes
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