Pendragon Legacy: Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts

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Pendragon Legacy: Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: King Arthur is dead, his body has disappeared and Excalibur has been given to the Lady of the Lake. The Saxons have almost vanquished the down-hearted knights of Camelot, and their leader Mordred, despite his terrible wounds, intends to claim the throne of Pendragon. But then Rhianna, daughter of Arthur and his true heir, emerges from the mists of Avalon
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Templar
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781848773905

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Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013

From the very first pages of this book we are left in no doubt about the character of Rhianna Pendragon, daughter of King Arthur. As we watch her in a horse race through the woods with her elfin companions we see that she is brave to the point of foolhardiness, stoic in pain and an excellent rider. Furthermore, as the only human on Avalon she has had to endure teasing and even pity her whole life long for her inability to perform magic, not to mention her large size and clumsiness when compared with the slight, delicate Avalonians. The experience has not made her bitter or resentful, however, but rather a determined young woman who can stand up for herself and make her own decisions.

And then, suddenly, the druid Merlin arrives with the body of Arthur, killed in battle by her cousin Mordred, and she learns for the first time that she is the daughter of Queen Guinevere and the King, born in secret on the misty island. She understands that in order to fulfil the prophecy and bring her father back to life the wondrous sword Excalibur must be found and brought back to Avalon where Arthur sleeps in the crystal caves, and she is determined to be a member of the party which goes to find it.

And so Rhianna and her friend Elphin, Prince of Avalon, ride with the humans on their quest to find the sword. Times are dangerous, however, and at one point the Saxons who are besieging Camelot capture her. Further adventures follow, including a dragon attack. But even when she redeems the sword and makes her way to the relative safety of Camelot her troubles are not yet over. She sees herself as Arthur's heir, and tries to take up the reins of kingship until his return, but she is only a female, and so once again she is the outsider, belittled and pushed aside. A princess she may be, but this does not stop the squires from being rude to her, and in the eyes of the grizzled and battle-worn knights of the Round Table her value lies only in the allies her marriage might bring to Arthur's realm.

But we the readers have got to know Rhianna as she journeyed from Avalon to Camelot, and so her reaction to this situation is perfectly believable. Her warmth, courage and compassion mean she is quickly surrounded by a small group of loyal friends, and despite the temptations of the bloodthirsty Excalibur she is able to prove herself a wise and worthy leader. Comparisons are drawn right through the book to the sly, petulant and greedy Mordred, who plots her downfall as he lies in a dank and gloomy cave recovering from the terrible injuries he sustained when he killed Arthur. Rhianna is generous, adventurous and ready to risk her own life for that of a friend: he, by contrast, is sour, ill-tempered and ungrateful.

The world of Arthur, Merlin and Camelot is very popular at the moment, and this book will be warmly welcomed. It is well written, fast-paced and exciting, with just enough detail of the time, place and beliefs to provide a convincing background to the adventures. Having a girl as the main character is an intriguing angle for an era of knightly chivalry, battles and quests, and it is excellent news that Rhianna will continue her exploits in a further three books as she seeks the Lance, the Crown and the Grail.

Everybody ought to read The Sword in the Stone by T H White, the classic King Arthur story, and Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve is also well recommended. You might also appreciaTE Frogspell by C J Busby which is suitable for children just beginning to read books all by themselves.

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Buy Pendragon Legacy: Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pendragon Legacy: Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts at


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