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Children's LiteratureMore usually found writing tongue-in-cheek tales of horror, Vivian Vande Velde has made the leap to fantasy. Not only that, but she has dared to take on the sacred myths of Arthur. For the most part, her quest is successful. Set over a ten-year period, these three, loosely interwoven stories follow three women as they fall under the spell of bad-boy Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur. The young widowed mother Lady Alayna receives his grudging aid and gives her love in return for the rescue of her young daughter, Kiera. Later, the fifteen-year-old Kiera will turn to Mordred again. But the middle story of Nimue is the one which shines. One of the last of the dying breed of sorceresses, Nimue is a young woman torn between her talents and her everlasting attachment to Merlin, stashed away for eternity in Avalon. To live, or not to live? If to live, how? As she sets about dealing with the magical conundrums Merlin has abandoned her with, Nimue's voice is bright, lively, alive. She becomes the true "knight" who sets wrongs right in the fading world of Camelot. It is a pity her character is wiped out. Nimue deserves her own book. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 10 to 14.