Friday, May 19, 2006

The Forever King - Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy [May/06]

I was in the second hand bookstore the other day, and I happened to spot a novel titled The Third Magic. It looked like it had never been read before and for some reason seemed to speak to me from the shelves that it was retelling of the Arthur story. Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was book three of a trilogy, with book two beside it. After a search of the older books in the store, I found The Forever King and that really made my shopping trip.

The Forever King was a very interesting read. All I had to go by when I bought it was what it said on the back:

In a darkened house not far from the place where Camelot may once have stood, a madman schemes, plotting toward the day when he will wrest the cup that men call the Holy Grail from the boy who is its guardian.

Arthur Blessing is no ordinary ten-year-old. The Grail is his by chance, this time, but the power to keep it - a power as ancient as time itself - is his by right. Now he must stay alive - battling foul sorcery and indefatigable assassins - long enough to use that power.

Arthur retellings are always books that I like to buy because the Arthurian legend has always been something that interested me. This one is very different from others that I have read, though, because it takes place in the 1990's... A.D. Not in the Medieval period. Taking a chance on this book was helped by the fact that Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of my favourite authors, reviewed it on the back. It is a very original take on Arthur, that is the plain and simple allure to this book.

In this novel, Arthur is a ten-year-old boy living with his aunt after the death of his parents. One day while down by the water he picks up a mysterious cup and suddenly his life is changed forever. There are men that have been searching for that cup for millenium, and they will stop at nothing to have it. There is one man in particular that has held on to that cup many times through the ages and is not about to let a meddlesome boy take it away from him forever. Suddenly, Arthur is introduced to his old mentor, Merlin, and a knight that would do anything for him, even die. In case you are missing this, this young boy has the memories of histories ancient Arthur and he has come again to rule Camelot. The only problem is that people will kill to keep that from happening, because wherever the Grail goes, trouble is sure to find it.

You have to be open-minded to read this book because it is not your general run of the mill fiction. It is fantasy in nature, but in many ways Arthur is just a regular boy blessed with a special right. To rule England once again, we shall see. I must read book two of this trilogy soon and see what further adventures Arthur has.


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