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The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight

The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight

4.9 10
by Gerald Morris

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Ever since the murder of her mother and guardian, Sarah has been searching for the knight she holds responsible for their death. But vengeance may not be as satisfying as she thought it would be.


Ever since the murder of her mother and guardian, Sarah has been searching for the knight she holds responsible for their death. But vengeance may not be as satisfying as she thought it would be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gerald Morris weaves another humorous and suspenseful tale of knightly intrigue in The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight, the sixth in the Squire's Tales series. Sarah, a young princess, goes on a quest to rescue Queen Guinevere with familiar characters in the series, Terence and Sir Gawain. As the title suggests, the band is visited by a mysterious old woman and also joins a knight of dubious repute. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
During the time of King Arthur, 13-year-old Sarah is suddenly left to fend for herself. After an angry crowd murders her guardian and her mother because of a malicious rumor, the brave, determined girl sets out to seek vengeance against whoever instigated the hysteria. Shortly afterward, she is befriended by Sir Kai, who is accompanying Queen Guinevere back to Camelot. When a vicious knight attacks, then kidnaps her new friends, Sarah knows she must interrupt her own quest to go to Camelot for help. That turns out to be just the beginning of her perilous journey. As the title promises, this is no ordinary book. Not only is it a fast-paced adventure sprinkled with humor, it also poses deep and thoughtful questions that readers may, or may not, consider as they follow the action. An interesting author's note explains that the book is very loosely based on a story by Chrétien de Troyes, one of the earliest King Arthur storytellers. Mr. Morris concludes his thoughtful comments by saying "one of the most useful things to do with our imaginations, after having fun, is to imagine how we might deal with the bleak side of reality, which is never too far away." This is the sixth book in "The Squire's Tales" series and is a wonderful way for a reader to experience a segment of the Arthurian legends. Mr. Morris received an ALA Best Book for Young Adults award for The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf in the same series. 2004, Houghton Mifflin Books, Ages 10 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
In the sixth of Morris's Arthurian-based Squire's Tales, Sarah has known no father save kindly Mordecai. When he and Sarah's mother are burned alive for being Jews, Sarah vows revenge, but in trying to steal Sir Kai's sword for that purpose, she witnesses Kai and Queen Guinevere's abduction. Putting her revenge on hold to alert King Arthur, Sarah then follows an enigmatic crone's advice and joins Gawain and his squire Terence in their quest to rescue the abductees. During her journey, Sarah encounters a faery—a great shock to one taught that faeries are nonexistent abominations—and a humble knight who is far more than he seems. Together they seek out the vanished land of Logres, where Sarah learns not only about revenge but also about her true history and worth. Middle schoolers devour Morris's delightful adaptations, with their gloriously flawed characters, nail-biting adventures, and laugh-out-loud absurdities. This stand-alone installment will prove no exception, combining all the above with a charismatic heroine and an exploration of faith, courage, and choice. Although thoughtful issues and subtle pathos are not new for Morris, this tale's persistently sober mien sets it apart from earlier writings. For example, where few of the countless foes slain in the original Squire's Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1998/VOYA August 1998) merit much remorse, here the only two provoke much soul-searching. If readers find less laughter, however, they will find more emotional involvement and will applaud when Sarah learns to be "my own damned princess!" A brief afterword recounts source material. VOYA Codes 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; MiddleSchool, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Houghton Mifflin, 320p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Rebecca C. Moore
Here we are again, in Gerald Morris's wonderfully realized world of King Arthur. Sarah is lurking in a forest, trying to survive after the horrible death of her mother and the man, Mordecai, who had taken care of them since Sarah was a little child. Sarah wants revenge for their deaths, and seeks the knight who killed them. When another knight and a lady appear in the forest, Sarah tries to steal the knight's sword and is discovered. The knight (who turns out to be King Arthur's brother, Sir Kai) likes Sarah, teaches her the basics of sword fighting, and allows her to keep the sword (which certainly is useful later in the story). But Sir Kai and the lady he is with (Queen Guinevere!) are kidnapped and Sarah knows she must go for help so that they can be rescued. Then we have a romp, with Sir Gawain, Terence, and even a strange knight who they find riding in a dung-cart... my heavens, it is Sir Lancelot. The crone of the title helps Sarah, but has an agenda of her own. The plot is filled with action, with enchantments, battles, hidden identities, faeries, magic, and above all fun. This sixth book in the series by Gerald Morris can stand alone, but will be enjoyed more fully in the context of the others. (The Squire Tales). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, 310p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-In grand storytelling style, the author continues his series with Sarah, an orphaned teenager who is on a quest for revenge when she encounters Queen Guinevere and Sir Kai. After Kai catches Sarah trying to steal his sword, he gives her a special sword made for his son and teaches her how to use it. When the evil Sir Meliagant kidnaps Guinevere and wounds Kai, Sarah searches for a way to help them. A crone leads her to Camelot where she meets King Arthur, and she goes with Sir Gawain and his squire to rescue Kai and Guinevere. On the road, they encounter trickery, danger, and many characters and plot twists. Sarah gets her revenge, but it is not sweet, and this well-drawn character eventually finds strength and peace within herself. This imaginative novel doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet Morris manages to make some serious points. In the author's note, he is open about taking liberties with Chr tien de Troyes's original story The Knight of the Cart, but, after all, there is no one, true Arthurian legend. Readers looking for page-turning adventure, a strong heroine, and some fun will find it all here.-Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the sixth, and grimmest, of Morris's Arthurian retellings, while seeking a certain knight who encouraged villagers to burn her mother and Jewish foster-father, young Sarah ultimately discovers that vengeance is an empty motive. But before that, her own quest folds into another as, after witnessing the abduction of Queen Guinevere by brutal Sir Meliagant, she joins Sir Gawain, his eldritch squire Terence, and an unkempt loner-who turns out to be Sir Lancelot-in seeking Meliagant's ensorcelled castle. Amid a welter of lopped body parts, powerful spells, fabulously heroic feats, pointed observations of the differences between religion and morality, and startling revelations about her own ancestry, Sarah encounters a colorful cast of true friends, villains both implacable and reformed, and women with minds of their own. As usual, Morris uses a mix of droll humor, violence, and easily likable or hateable characters to hook readers, and leaves them with unusual insights into big issues. Still, this outing will appeal more to established fans already familiar with his Round Table crew. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Squire's Tales , #6
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
840L (what's this?)
File size:
189 KB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

When Gerald Morris was in fifth grade he loved Greek and Norse mythology and before long was retelling the stories to his younger sister and then to neighborhood kids. He began carrying a notebook in which he kept some of the details related to the different stories. The joy he found in retelling those myths continued when he discovered other stories. According to Gerald Morris, “I never lost my love of retelling the old stories. When I found Arthurian literature, years later, I knew at once that I wanted to retell those grand tales. So I pulled out my notebook . . . I retell the tales, peopling them with characters that I at least find easier to recognize, and let the magic of the Arthurian tradition go where it will.” Gerald Morris lives in Wausau, Wisconsin, with his wife and their three children. In addition to writing he serves as a minister in a church.

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Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight (The Squire's Tales Series #6) 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book not knowing it was in a series. It works out that you dont have to read them in order because Gerald makes it work out and anything that would be in the book before that is helpful is telling you in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Along with others, I agree that The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight is by far the best book of the Squire's Tale series. It is a compelling story that keeps you turning the pages the entire time that only Gerald Morris can create. He gives a new look to the characters we knew and loved: or didn't love, while adding new loveable characters to the mix. It also shows moral lessons to life in a nice, easy-read book. I recommend this book to everyone, especially medieval fans like myself. Three thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gerald Morris continues his series on Arthurian legend with this tale of a girl who lives for her revenge. Morris has produced a book that is far and away the best in his series -- quite a feat for someone who was already one of my favorite living authors. The characters are complex and intriguing, the moral issues explored lead into some serious gray areas, and there are plenty of moments -- as in all of Morris's books -- where you just have to put the book down and laugh for a while. In a shocking twist, Morris's Lancelot proves himself not only handsome and strong, but likeable and honorable -- a great improvement over most Lancelots, including Morris's Lancelot from Book #2. I've never actually found a Lancelot I liked before. Morris's first books were nearly straight-up humor; his more recent were more serious growing-up titles and explorations of morality. In this, for the first time, he truly combines the two and creates a masterpiece. Oh, and bringing back all of our old favorite characters (except for Gaheris and Lynet...) was much appreciated. Gerald Morris deserves a great deal more popularity than he's getting. Frankly, I can't understand why J.K. Rowling has the publicity that Gerald Morris does not. She's no better a writer than he is -- and if Morris's next book comes out the same day Rowling's does, I know which one I'm reading first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It really gave you a new outlook on Guinavere and the mysterious Jean... I think this was the best book in the entire series. I loved that Terence and Gawain were in this one quite a bit too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of the series of The Squires Tales and so far I think that this is the best one. It's the best one 'cause it has all of the best characters in it and 'cause what happens in it. If you haven't read this then you should read it because its the best book!
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