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Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur

by

Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur Cover

ISBN13: 9780152025335
ISBN10: 0152025332
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Summons

PRINCE GAWAINE took the stone steps two at a time, trying to guess why his mother, the queen, had sent for him. She only did that when she was angry with him, or wanted something from him, which usually came to the same thing. Either that or she was going to recite his stupid bloodlines again.

"I've half a mind," he said, puffing a bit as the steps were steep and many and he hadn't climbed them in a while, "half a mind to tell her what I've decided." He stopped on the landing and took a deep breath. "That I don't want to be king of Orkney. Not now. Not when I turn eighteen. Not ever."

He smiled faintly, having spoken aloud what he had been thinking secretly for over a year. Though of course he hadn't said it aloud to his mother, just aloud to the stone walls.

Let Agravaine have the throne, he thought fiercely. Or the twins. He took a deep breath. Or that brat Medraut. He started up the stairs again, still taking them on the double and thinking crankily about his mother and the throne. He knew that even if they were given the throne in his place, none of his brothers would have a chance to rule, anyway. Morgause would keep the power close to her own breast, with her spiderweb intrigues, with her spiteful magicks, with her absolute conviction that he or one of his brothers should not only be king of the Orkneys but High King of all Britain. And she the ruling queen.

A blast of wind through one of the arrow slits scoured his corn-colored hair. It blew sense into him at the same time. He slowed down.

No sense running, he thought. She might think I'm eager to see her.

When he made the last turning, he came face-to-face with her chamber door. No matter how often he came to it, the door was always a surprise, a trick of space and time, another of her plots. Made of a single panel of oak carved into squares, the door looked like a game board and was painted black.

Gawaine smoothed down his grey linen tunic and knocked on the one blank square. The rest of the squares were warded with arcane signs, spells that only she could read. The blank square was well-worn. No one, not any of her servants or his brothers-or even his father, when he was alive-ever dared knock on any other section of the door.

There was no answer.

Grinding his teeth-something he seemed to do only when he was home, in Orkney-Gawaine knocked again.

Still no answer.

"Damn her!" he whispered.

How she loved to play these games. Her servant Hwyll had said, specifically, she wanted to see Gawaine at once. He'd emphasized the two words: at...once. Poor Hwyll, a nice enough man, always kind and thoughtful, but he had no backbone. She had chosen him exactly because he had none. He was a conciliator, a peacemaker, the perfect servant.

"A pus pot," Gawaine said aloud, not knowing if he meant Hwyll, his mother, or the situation he found himself in.

Once again.

He banged on the door with his fist, and cried out, "Mother!" His voice rose to a whine. Hardly fitting, he thought angrily, for a Companion of the High King.

MORGAUSE COULD hear her son's angry cry as she came down the stairs from the tower, clutching a handful of bitter vetch. She smiled.

It's good to let him stew, she thought. A stew long boiled makes easier eating.

She never tried to make things simple for her boys. Princes needed to be tested even more than peasants.

And my sons most of all.

Stopping on the stairs, she flung open one of the corbelled windows and glanced out.

The late-spring seas around the Orkneys were troubled. Ninety islands and islets, and all of them buffeted by extraordinary waves. "High wind and waves build character," she told herself. Her sons were in want of character.

Agravaine she was certain of, though he still needed a bit more tempering. And the twins-they dangled together, like rough-polished gems on a chain. Medraut was so like her, she knew his mind without working at it. But Gawaine...

Gawaine had gotten away from her. It had been three years or more since she'd understood him. It was all she could do to keep control. Of him. Of herself when she was with him. He made her angry when anger did not serve. He made her furious to the point of becoming speechless. Still, she needed him more than he needed her, and so she had to bring him close again. To heel. Like a hound.

Speaking a word of binding, she flung three leaves of the vetch through the window. The wind brought them back to her and she closed her hand around them, stuffing them into her leather pocket. She smiled again, willing herself to calm. Gawaine would be hers as he once was, the adoring and adorable towheaded first child. All of Lot's sons were susceptible to spells of binding, as had been their father. It was just a matter of patience and time. She had plenty of both.

Continuing down the stairs, she discovered Gawaine red-faced and furious, standing with his back to her door.

"I'm glad to see you, too, dear," she told him.

Copyright and#169; 2003 by Jane Yolen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,

or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the

work should be mailed to the following address:

Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,

6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Crystal_Dark, August 6, 2013 (view all comments by Crystal_Dark)
I really enjoyed this book and felt that it had a lot of interesting twists and a really enjoyable plot.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Austin Vanderwal, April 5, 2013 (view all comments by Austin Vanderwal)
Sword of the Rightful King is a good book. It has magic, action, and romance. Sword of the Rightful King's genre is historical fiction. I liked the book because of all the action. Some people wouldn't understand the book, I understood the book perfectly fine. The book has a slow beginning, somewhat fast middle, and fast end
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Will P, March 7, 2013 (view all comments by Will P)
In my opinion overall the book was okay. Throughout the beginning and most of the middle it was pretty boring and hard to understand. But later on in the book near the end, I think it got better. Because it all cleared up and made since during the ending, and there were a lot of twists like Gawen (Gwen) was the actual person who pulled the sword from the stone, and that Gawen was actually a girl named Gwen sent to avenge her sister. But overall it was probably a 3 star book to me.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780152025335
Author:
Yolen, Jane
Publisher:
Harcourt Brace and Company
Subject:
Royalty (kings queens princes princesses knights etc.)
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Literature - Classics
Subject:
Legends, Myths, & Fables - Arthurian
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
History
Subject:
Knights and knighthood
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Arthur
Subject:
Great Britain History To 1066.
Subject:
Children s-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
August 1, 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 7 to 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Cover illustration by Cliff Nielsen
Pages:
376
Dimensions:
7 x 4.5 in 0.58 lb
Age Level:
12-17

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » Medieval
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Young Adult » General

Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur Used Mass Market
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 376 pages Magic Carpet Books - English 9780152025335 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This old legend retold by a master storyteller is woven with great respect, giving the well-known characters added depth and new life. Yolen captures the reader from the very beginning, luring one in without letting go until the spellbinding conclusion. It is a welcome addition to the Arthurian legend — a true standout!

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Yolen's spellbinding twist on the Round Table legend, Morgause feels that her 17-year-old son Gawaine belongs on the throne of England. As she attempts to install him there, she tangles with both the court wizard and Gawaine himself. The author makes Gawaine the emotional lynchpin of the story; he mistrusts his mother and is wholly devoted to the only slightly older King Arthur. Portrayed here as the North Witch, Morgause detests Arthur (her half-brother, according to Arthurian lore), who she feels has usurped the throne. Morgause sends three of Gawaine's brothers back with him to Arthur's court under a diplomatic pretext, and Merlinnus, learning that one of Morgause's sons intends to assassinate Arthur, manufactures the tale of a sword lodged in a block of stone (which, of course, will prove Arthur's fated place upon the throne to a kingdom that has yet to fully embrace him). Yolen constructs a fascinating history linking Morgause to Merlinnus, and breathes fresh life into well-established characters; their encounters crackle with the vitality of overheard conversations. The dynamic between Merlinnus and Arthur is especially well realized: the former a shrewd, resourceful, fatherly man battling the discomforts of age, the latter a restless young king who merely tolerates the mundane responsibilities of monarchy ('Arthur had never met a chair he liked. Or a sport he disliked'). Yolen has explored Arthurian legend before, but her latest foray is a standout in this enormous canon. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Yolen works her reliable magic on the old tale of the sword in the stone, not by re-telling it but by borrowing its themes and characters and shaping it into a whole new story, shot through with equal parts humor, intrigue and poetry."
"Review" by , "Although the prolific Yolen usually supplies more action, those who can't get enough of Arthur and his court will likely enjoy the different slant on his rise to power."
"Review" by , "[A] page-turning tale of magic and adventure, betrayal, loyalty, and love. Through smooth, accessible prose, she draws her characters with broad strokes."
"Review" by , "[I]n [Yolen's] hands, this old tale of King Arthur is fresh and alive....Yolen's words and phrases evoke this ancient time yet will appeal to today's reader. Put this at the top of your read-aloud list."
"Review" by , "Yolen is a gifted writer of fantasy and has returned to this legend of Arthur and Merlin time and time again. She makes the action flow, blending the magic with reality."
"Review" by , "Yolen employs simple vocabulary and straightforward storytelling to weave a subtle, many-layered tale. Her characters have depth and personality....It is, as the book's ending tells readers, 'an old story but a good one,' and Yolen does it honor."
"Synopsis" by ,
A boldly imagined tale of the early days of King Arthur's court.

"Synopsis" by ,
The newly crowned King Arthur has yet to win the support of the people. Merlin must do something before the king is betrayed, or murdered, or--worst of all--gets married. So Merlin creates a trick: a sword magically placed into a slab of rock that only Arthur can withdraw. Then he lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.

But then someone else pulls the sword out first. . . .

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