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The Squire's Tales #1

The Squire's Tale

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Life for the young orphan Terence has been peaceful, living with Trevisant, the old Hermit in a quiet, isolated wood.

That is, until the day a strange green sprite leads him to Gawain, King Arthur's nephew, who is on his way to Camelot hoping to be knighted. Trevisant can see the future and knows that Terence must leave to serve as Gawain's squire. From that moment on, Terence's life is filled with heart-stopping adventure as he helps damsels-in-distress, fights battles with devious men, and protects King Arthur from his many enemies.

Along the way, Terence is amazed at his skills and new-found magical abilities. Were these a gift from his unknown parents? As Gawain continues his quest for knighthood, Terence searches for answers to the riddles in his own past.

212 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 11, 1998

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About the author

Gerald Morris

21 books467 followers
Gerald Morris is an award-winning author, best known for his retellings of Arthurian legends for preteen and teen readers.

His first series, The Squire's Tales, focuses primarily on a squire named Terence, alongside his knight, Sir Gawain. The ten-book series began with The Squire's Tale, first published in 1998.

His second series, The Knights' Tales, is for younger readers and began with The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great, published in 2008, followed by The Adventures of Sir Givret the Short in the same year.

Morris was born in Riverside, California in 1963, the son of Russell A. Morris. He was educated at the Oklahoma Baptist University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He married Rebecca Hughes, has 3 children, and now lives in Wausau, Wisconsin. He also lived for a short time in Oklahoma. Apart from writing, Morris teaches theology and serves as a pastor for church.

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5 stars
3,588 (38%)
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3 stars
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224 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 481 reviews
Profile Image for Lee.
351 reviews189 followers
February 3, 2017
2.5 Stars!
So as far as light reads goes, this hits the spot. For being a fun read, it comes and goes. Potentially this could be a very good story, but for me, at times it just got a little silly. Some of the character dialogue gave me eye strain as I tried to unroll my eyes. It took your traditional chivalrous knight talk, added a pinch of Monty Python and then hammed it up to ridiculous. The writing is actually pretty good, there is no doubt that the author can spin a tale or two. I can imagine a lot of people liking it as a fun read, Knights of the Round table is always a popular subject and following Gawain instead of Arthur made for a nice change. There is a big junk of Fae in the story and this was only the intro, so I can imagine that side of the story growing. I put this style of writing in the Terry Pratchett type, of which I have never enjoyed and never finished one of his books. So maybe if you love that big floating turtle and like a quick light read, you might find this fun. Again as I said, a good solid writing skill, but not told in the way that makes me get into book two.
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,412 reviews536 followers
Want to read
October 14, 2009
bratfarrar says, "whimsy and maturity and general decency are why I really like Diana Wynne Jones and Garth Nix and Gerald Morris. That is, each writes characters that I care about and worlds that I want to explore, and tells stories that make me want to be a better person."
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,007 followers
June 3, 2012
The Squire's Tale is quite a light treatment of the Arthurian legend, suitable for young readers and an enjoyable -- but very quick -- read for adults too. I've had it on my list for a long time, but I only actually eventually bought it because supposedly the series has a sympathetic Kai, and my dissertation is on the various permutations of Sir Kay.

This one, however, would've been more useful for my Gawain essay. It turns a lot of the stories, even Malory's, to Gawain's advantage, and plays up the idea of him being the Maidens' Knight, and so on. Terence is, as far as I know, a completely invented character, but he's likeable enough for me, particularly because of his devotion to Gawain, which I entirely approve of. I wish there'd been a longer treatment of the story of Ragnelle (though here she is conflated with Lady Florie and called Lady Lorie), but I appreciate Morris' feeling that Malory was rather too hard on Gawain, and his comments on Gawain's earlier character.

There's very little about Kai, but he is at least a character you can sympathise with in his concern for Arthur, with nods back to his literary ancestry in the way he clings to traditions like squires not sitting in their knights' presence.

Overall, it's a very simple story, but that didn't make it unenjoyable.
Profile Image for Sherrie Lynn.
13 reviews
August 15, 2009
I love this book. I don't know much about what is true and what isn't as far as Arthurian legends go (honestly... who does?), but I really love this story. It is based in medieval times when King Arthur ruled England. It follows a boy named Terence from humble circumstances who becomes a squire to a Gawain who is off to become a knight. Throughout the book they face many adventures together with quests and learning more about themselves and others. The main quest they encounter together is one quest, with different endings. Terence learns his heritage, Gawain helps save King Arthur's life, with the help of Terence. It is one of my favorite books, and this is just the beginning of the series!
Profile Image for Connor.
681 reviews1,657 followers
March 4, 2016
This was fun, quick book, but I think I had too high of expectations before going into it. I did like the direction of the story, and I think it sets up some interesting things that could happen. But I didn't really get into the story for half the book, and I thought it was going to be more humorous than it was. Don't get me wrong, there are some funny bits, but I was wanting more. It's a very tell and not show kind of book, so if you can't appreciate that style, I'd suggest staying clear of this one. That being said, I'm now more invested than I thought I would be, so I want to continue with the series and see what happens next!
Profile Image for Ghost Ryter.
67 reviews43 followers
April 14, 2015
Clever, light-hearted, and some times down right hilarious, The Squire's Tale is an excellent story of the days of King Arthur. Whatever your age, you should read this!
Profile Image for Beth.
1,137 reviews110 followers
March 14, 2021
This is quick and funny and packs a surprising amount of legend into its pages. This is told from the perspective of Gawain’s fictional squire, and the outsider’s perspective is a good thing. So is his getting his own backstory.

I like coming back to old books and finding out they’re still good. I’m going to keep reading.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,554 reviews389 followers
May 12, 2011
Despite the fact that my library has had this book since as long as I can remember and doubly despite the fact that you'd think in at least one of my rambles through the teen section I'd have picked it up, I just never have. In fact, it was Anna who got it from the library. I think I might have read a different book in the series once, but that was a very long time ago and out of order to boot. I might have avoided it because the story is an Arthurian legend and I've had some bad experiences with those, but I don't think so.
I just never got around to reading it.
It was a delightful surprise. The Squire's Tale is both charming and funny, with some good plot elements and likeable characters.
Terence (the "Squire") has grown up living with a hermit who sees time backwards. That is, he sees the future like it was the past and the past like it was the future. When a young knight shows up at the hermit's hut, the Hermit informs Terence that he is to go with Gawain and become his squire.
I don't recall if that is before or after Gawain manages to defeat an evil knight with a stew-pot.
Anyway, Gawain and Terence ride off to Camelot where Gawain is made one of the Knights of the Round Table (anyone else want to start changing Monty Python?) and sent off on a variety of quests.
Wonderful book. If it weren't for a few things, I'd probably give it five stars. One hilarious adventure after the other, The Squire's Tale is a buddy-story similar to The Last Knight (one of my favorite books) but with less swearing. Terence is a fun character who clearly grows through character growth yet never gets annoying, and Gawain (once I dis-associated him with Lancelot who is great idiot) was a perfectly good character.
I've never been particularly fond of Arthurian legend, which is odd considering how much I love most other myths. I won't waste any time musing about it (though I suspect I could come up with a great childhood back-story, given the opportunity), but this is easily some of the best stuff I've read. Knights and the Round Table and such, heroics and bravery and even a few plot twists.
While it is mostly a fluffy kind of "brain candy" if you prefer the classics or non-fiction, there are even some deeper elements that are touched on (I would hardly call them explored in any sense of depth, but certainly touched on in an unique and interesting way). Like women - whether they are silly and what counts as lady-like.

The plot elements flow really well together, guided by a "thread" if you will instead of a road. The adventures lead to their end, and while some things were predictable (like who Terence's Father was) others are slightly more supring (like who the Enchantress is)

I had one or two criticisms with the book (which brought it to four stars) but they mostly involve spoilers.

I was surprised and interested to learn that many of the adventures in this story came from the actual legends. I definitely want to read the other books in the series,
Delightful and interesting!
118 reviews2 followers
September 18, 2015
This book was alright? I think I would have loved it had I read it when it first came out (which I was convinced I HAD done... turns out there's more than one book with this title), but as an adult the humour fell a bit flat. There's also a weird thing where like, the moral lessons the characters learn are important things about How To Treat Women but the book itself doesn't seem to particularly LIKE any of its female characters? So you end up with "Gawain learns he should let women make their own choices, even though their choices are usually pretty stupid" which.... I'm not sure I'm comfortable with.

The author's note talks about wanting to redeem Gawain who has, since Lancelot was introduced to the story-cycle, been demoted from Arthur's Greatest Knight. Gawain is probably my second-favourite Table Knight so I understand the sentiment behind the series, and probably will read more despite being ambivalent about this one.
Profile Image for Kerat Jhaj.
Author 3 books81 followers
March 7, 2021
This book definitely had me invested in it. The action never stops! And the adventures and the thrill of them, and the medieval feels, and all the lessons I've learned from this, plus, the comedy. I can't find anything wrong with this book!
The book is fast paced and the world building is great. Along with that, the detailing of the time period also seemed to be done right. The fight scenes and the knighthood, the friendships and the retorts.. I've loved this. And the fantasy aspect of the fae blood and other creatures the magical feels of the quest and enchantresses. The story as well is great, the plot started a bit late or at least the main conflict did but still the little sub plots in each chapter were enough to keep you going. I would highly recommend this if you want some action..or if you are into percy jackson series..
Profile Image for Richard.
Author 4 books429 followers
February 4, 2017
This was fast-paced, humorous and enjoyable. In an attempt to rehabilitate Sir Gawain, it retells some of the stories about him from the point of view of a minor character, his squire Terence (a character invented by the author). Like Arthur himself, Terence was given to foster care from an early age and his parentage is a mystery. He is presented at first as likeable and docile, but not all that quick on the uptake. However, he does have special aptitudes and abilities which appear from the opening chapter, and which are used in the service of others. Gradually he grows into a person of importance, and provides an example of how even the little people who are ignored or overlooked by many can play a crucial role in the lives of those around them.
Profile Image for Ariana.
282 reviews48 followers
July 11, 2012
I have a special place in my heart for books in which the protagonist has a strong, good character. Despite the choice of being mildly selfish, or denying one's own wishes, these characters choose to act in moral ways that strongly benefit those around them.

Terence is such a character. He learns to be a squire and serves his master and any that have need of his help to the best that he capable. I really loved this book. (I don't five-star lightly)
7 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2011
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Amazing. The whole series, actually
Profile Image for Ashley (JaffaCaffa).
205 reviews8 followers
February 12, 2016
This is hands down my most disappointing read so far this year. I've been looking forward to reading this for five months now after hearing about what a hilarious, fun book it is. I've been saving it specially for when I was struggling with reading physical books and wanted to laugh out loud...but it just overall left me feeling let down.

First off, this book is definitely a set up story for the rest of the series. If it wasn't for about 10 pages in the beginning and 10 pages at the end, I wouldn't have even been able to tell that this is an Arthurian retelling. You barely hear about or from King Arthur and even less of Merlin. I'd say 5% of this book contains magic, otherwise it just feels like this mediocre medieval adventure story without any real plot structure. It wasn't until page 155 that I became interested in where the story was going, out of a 210 page book.

The Squire's Tale honestly reminded me a bit of The Hedge Knight, since there is a large knight who gets a squire, while neither of them really know what they're doing. There's lots of jousting and encounters between knights and "fair ladies". They both have a very comedic relief type of feel to them, except I actually loved the characters in The Hedge Knight and the humour wasn't as childish. I know The Squire's Tale is supposed to be a young adult, fun book so I can't compare the two...but everything just felt so black and white. People die left and right for no reason whatsoever and there are good guys and there are bad guys who start fights for (again) no reason whatsoever, just to be fought off by said good guys.

The characters are completely one-dimensional, being incredibly daft, lovesick, and over-the-top to the point it's not comedic...it's eyeroll-worthy and gets annoying after a while. Thankfully the two main characters Terence and Gawain are a lot more well-balanced and interesting to read about, because if they were as insufferable as every other character in here I would've DNF'd it. It reminds me slightly of Alice in Wonderland where the characters are all very stubborn, matter-of-fact in that nonsensical way...except Alice in Wonderland managed to pull it off with a balance of interesting and endearing characters meeting in varying fun events. In The Squire's Tale it's just all so repetitive, the encounters between these people seem so staged, while their personalities are all the same and ridiculous, that it just isn't enjoyable to read about.

I just had a lot of issues with this book and sadly didn't have a fun time reading it. I did enjoy the last 50 pages or so but not enough to continue on with the series, as I can imagine the characters and comedic relief feel doesn't change too much in the following installments.
Profile Image for Eloria.
114 reviews10 followers
May 21, 2020
I love this series so much!

So lately I have been a bit lazy and not writing reviews. Well I have one for you all today!!!!

First of all this book is so eventful and is full of non-stop action + adventure. If you like knights, squires, faeries, and hot headed damsels then this book would be perfect for you. The Squire's tales is a series that is based off of the lesser known poems of King Arthur. In the first book(this one) Sir Gawain, and his squire Terence are the main characters. Now I remember that last time I read this book I found it boring and a bit too slow for me which is really shocking because this time that I read it was so fast paced and there seemed to never be a dull moment.

This story is rather plot driven and most of the time we have no idea what the characters are thinking or how the events are affecting them but for me that did not matter because I just love these books so much! And the characters are great! I love both Gawain and Terence's personality so much.

One negative thing about this story that may bother some people is the lack of good female characters. In this story most of the women are hot tempered, have no character at all, and are just a bunch of senseless bobble heads. Honestly for me that did not bother me much, as I have read most of the other books in the series and later on Morris writes about some pretty awesome female characters but the lack of good female characters in this book could get on some peoples nerves.

And now.... I am going to do a content review because not many people include that in their reviews and I really appreciate it when people do so here ya go!


There are multiple fights in this story, and quite a few deaths and beheadings. None graphics but still quite a few dead people in this book. A horse is killed along with five dogs. A women is killed when she steps in front of her husband to try and save him and her head rolls between the two knights. A knight is killed and a women picks up his head and declares that she is happy he is dead, then the knight who killed him ties the head to a string and hangs it around the ladies neck(reason explained in the book). One lady describes the time when she was with a knight who cut off his foes legs at the knees and how bloody they were. The same lady then tells of when a knight stepped on the head of a beheaded man (All of this is not detailed at all)

There are a few mentions of knights drinking lots of wine.

Also a married couple kiss and there are mentions of knights wooing all the ladies at court. About halfway through the book one of the main characters kisses a lady to make another knight jealous.

...Now that I am done with literally taking all the negative parts of this whole book and compacting them onto only a few hundred words I hope you'll still want to read this book!...

Anyways I better go now! and start book two!
55 reviews
August 13, 2012
Just not my thing. Found the interactions between characters forced and stilted rather than genuine. The book didn't move from scene to scene in small steps but flew between them from one place talking about going to place "b" then BAM at place "b" dealing with a situation. It is a style I do not prefer (but then, I'm well aware I do not speak for everyone).
Profile Image for Sarah TheAromaofBooks.
581 reviews3 followers
April 3, 2018

I can't believe how long it had been since I had read this one. Within a few pages of picking it up yesterday, all of my happy feelings towards this book came flooding back, and now I want to reread the entire series! This book has a perfect balance of humor and thoughtfulness, and the series on the whole is a fun and interesting take on the Arthurian legends. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Athelas Hale.
47 reviews14 followers
April 15, 2015
It was quite some time ago when I read this, but I liked it a lot then... I shall endeavor to review it when I reread it.
Profile Image for MasterGamgee.
1,359 reviews22 followers
January 24, 2023
Silly, sarcastic humor in this one which was very much enjoyed. If you are in the mood for something light and fun this would be a good choice. Looking forward to continuing with this series soon.
Profile Image for Mike Bright.
126 reviews2 followers
January 12, 2022
This is an imaginative retelling of some of the Arthurian legends, centered around Sir Gawain and his squire, Terence (a made up character added to the legends). I assume this is intended for the teen market, as the storylines are fairly simple and the writing straightforward. That is not a criticism, as the stories are engaging and fun. There is the standard knights doing battle with a variety of enemies to defend their king and their ladies. This series seems a bit more engaged with the world of fairy than I remember my Arthurian legends, but that may be my aging memory. Gawain and Terence both quite virtuous, but also have nicely wry senses of humor.

Yet again, my daughter (who doesn't think I have anything else to do) brought me this book and two follow-ons. Yet again, my daughter knows me well and is a fountain of excellent book recommendations.
Profile Image for Margery Bayne.
Author 9 books4 followers
December 6, 2020
Between three and four stars. As an adult reader, it is more of a three star read in terms of my personal enjoyment. As a piece of kid lit and getting into my own child self's brain, this was four star quality fantasy writing.

My first reaction to this book was a sense of nostalgia for the more straight forward high fantasy/sword and shield fantasy books I read as a young person that aren't really in vogue right now (nevermind that I read another of Gerald Morris' books). There is a sort of charm to being immersed in a story of questing knights without any twists or edgy reimaginings.

The Squire's Tale is a retelling of a snippet of Arthurian legend, some adventures of Sir Gawain as told via a newly invented character, his squire Terrance. It is written in a way that is very approachable for kids without any of the condescending implications of "for kids." It doesn't blunt some of the more brutal aspects (people get beheaded), but it moves along at fairly fast pace giving enough to description to be vivid without any beleaguered descriptive passage. Morris' biggest strength is his way he draws characters with strong personalities as revealed by behavior and dialogue. There were a few points I laughed out loud by some of the banter.

As a consequence of the source material, it is a very episodic book. About two-thirds through, that drained some of my reading enthusiasm, which I probably my one primary mark against it.
Profile Image for Jess.
549 reviews22 followers
June 16, 2013
I have always loved and been repulsed by the Arthurian tales. Why I keep reading them despite my disgust at the violence and almost silliness of the characters is beyond my understanding, but whenever I come across a retelling of these stories I am compelled to read it.

Liked: Terence, Gawain's squire. He's humble, sweet, and a little mysterious, loyal, and kind. I also enjoyed the author's handling of Gawain himself, better than Mallory's pouting and sullen bully.

Didn't like: The women were not treated as well as the men; they never were well developed characters despite driving the plot more than the knights themselves. I also was annoyed at the whole Pelleas and Lady Ettard interlude. I know it's the ancient story but I was hoping it could be told in a way that didn't come off so sexist... his rejecting her because she was no longer pure, her rejection of him because of his supposed weakness. I hope the sequels have a better treatment of the women.
Profile Image for Jacob.
879 reviews49 followers
January 5, 2016
Although targeted to a youth audience and easy to read, this book was charming, amusing, and witty. It's a take on Arthurian legend with the main character becoming Sir Gawain's squire and accompanying him through a number of adventures. It's fun to see how the author ties his story into the legend, and what he adds. It's also kind of fun seeing the Celtic influence so soon after reading Heroes of the Dawn, such as a reference to the story of Chuchulainn and Gawain's tossing of his sword into a pool of water. I only wish the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was more included.

I will probably want to read this again with my kids, and may give it five stars in the future.
Profile Image for Lo.
171 reviews57 followers
May 7, 2013
I read this book about a week ago so things may be a bit muddy.

The main reason I didn't like it was because the characters were constantly discussing what was and was not lady-like. I understand that this was set in a time period where women were expected to be polite and not do certain things, and if they only discussed it a couple of times I would be fine, but I was encountering one of these conversations in every single chapter! There's got to be some kind of limit.

While the beginning intrigued me, the rest fell flat. There didn't seem to be any set plot; I was shocked when I realized I had already gone through half of the book and nothing really major had happened yet. The use of magic and such was wasted on me as it didn't contribute the plot as much as I would have liked.
14 reviews
July 14, 2010
This is the first in a series of King Arthur adventures from the viewpoint of Morris's created character, a squire for one of the Knights of the Round Table. The story manages to capture the mood of the Arthurian setting. I enjoyed it and found the perspective to be fresh and funny. I recommend this book for Middle School aged children (My daughter found it in her middle school library and devoured the entire series!), but I also enjoyed it as an adult. What I liked: the squire's character, the honesty of the telling--morris doesn't whitewash that affairs occur but covers them cleanly and without unneeded detail, and Morris's sense of humor. I am not a Arthur fanatic, but I recommend this series.
Profile Image for Sky.
100 reviews2 followers
May 16, 2018
Man, I was so excited to start a series that had a billion books in it to occupy me for a while! But I didn't like this one bit :(

The whole plot of the book was literally the main knight having to learn "Maybe... women... are people too??" and I was sitting there like "UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH". At least it was short because it was middle grade crol.

-The Letter to the King, by Tonke Dragt
-Protector of the Small series, by Tamora Pierce

(Also... what the heck is with the default Goodreads star rating system? 2 stars is not "it was ok" - 2 is "I wanted to poke my eyeballs out but only half the time, not the whole time" get it together rating system.)
17 reviews
October 14, 2009
Terrence comes from where he knows not, but was raised by a wise and humorous magician who sees the future but forgets the past. Terrence is lucky to be picked up by a soon-to-be Knight of King Arthur's Round Table, Sir Gaiwan, and together they begin their life of questing. As they seal their friendship, Sir Gaiwan and Terrence manage to find adventure, magic, love, and possibly where Terrence really comes from. A fantastic, funny, medieval tale, filled with a kooky and lovable cast of characters. I can't wait to read the next book in this so far eight book series!

For fans of fantasy, myth, humor, and Arthurian legends.
Profile Image for Leah.
81 reviews
October 12, 2018
I'm the kind of person who really enjoys revisiting past favorites. I first read this book in middle school and it opened the door for me to fall in love with Arthurian legend. Having since read many adaptations of various parts of the legend (from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court to
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), I'm still very grateful for this accessible and fun little book.
Profile Image for Ann.
116 reviews
June 27, 2009
I really enjoyed this book. I generally tend to avoid all Arthurian legend retellings, but this one did well. I really liked both Terrance and Sir Gawain. It was funny and heroic, a great afternoon read. Can't wait to read all 8 books in the series!
Profile Image for Erica.
406 reviews48 followers
July 14, 2010
As a huge fan of King Arthur, I absolutely loved this story. It tells the story of Gawain from the point of view of his squire, Terence. There is questing, love, magic, fighting, and all of my favorite characters and it is written at about a fifth grade level.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 481 reviews

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