The Dragon's Son

The Dragon's Son

5.0 1
by Sarah L. Thomson, Thomson
     
 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Influenced by names and events from the Welsh legends and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomson writes this story as historical fiction rather than as the fantasy readers may associate with King Arthur. Even though she has created these tales herself, the historical nature of this story seems to give credence to the more familiar fantasies, and because unfamiliar characters are doing the talking, the legends have new life and clarity. Nimue is a ferryman's daughter who falls in love with the bard Myrddin. They serve in Uther Pendragon's court, and their baby is mistakenly killed instead of Arthur. Myrddin then takes baby Arthur into hiding. The next story is that of Morgan, Arthur's half sister whom he marries. However, she leaves him, not telling him she's pregnant with twins. Years later, Arthur comes to her and claims one of the boys who will be raised as his nephew and heir. At a convent, Elen, Arthur's other half sister, and Luned; her handmaiden, raise the son Arthur took from Morgan. Finally, Medraud, the son left with Morgan, is raised by his mother to destroy Arthur. His appearance at court sets in motion a chain of events that means the end of Camelot. Fantasy and historical-fiction readers alike will enjoy the new perspective offered by this gritty, substantial novel; it's almost an "Aha! So that's why that happened."
---School Library Journal, July 2001
VOYA
The saga of King Arthur has been retold many times, but Thompson's approach to the legend is intriguing as the author relates the story through the eyes of lesser characters such as Gwenhwyfach, Gwenhwyfar's younger sister, who gets involved here with Medraud, the son/nephew of Arthur. The story begins with sixteen-year-old Nimbue marrying the wandering bard, Myrddin, who because of his visions puts faith in the new ruler, Uther, and helps change the future of the kingdom. This retelling also includes a few twists, such as Morgan giving birth to twins and the queen Gwenhwyfar being in love with Owan, her sister Elen's husband. This tale ends with Medraud returning to Camelot with Irish mercenaries in an attempt to defeat Arthur, but his plan is ruined when Saxons attack. Medraud joins forces with Arthur, but Arthur is dealt a deadly blow while trying to protect his son. Arthur's last command is to declare Medraud and Gwenhwyfach's unborn child as his heir. Thus the life of the legendary King Arthur comes to an end. Thompson gives this treasured tale new life by using little-known Welsh characters. She also uses the Welsh spelling for the names but includes a pronunciation guide. Although told from four perspectives, short chapters, along with court intrigue and battle scenes, will keep even those readers unfamiliar with the legend involved in this telling. A children's book editor, the author has taken her skill beyond editing in this debut novel to spin a tale as rich in texture as a tapestry hung in King Arthur's hall. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades10 to 12). 2001, Orchard, 181p, . Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Ruth Cox SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Children's Literature
In this retelling of the legend of King Arthur, Ms. Thomson draws on some of the earliest surviving stories about him. Thus, even readers familiar with the legend will be interested to hear from various lesser-known or forgotten characters. We meet Nimue, Lady of the Lake, who falls in love with a mystical bard, with tragic results; Luned, a lady in waiting to Elen, sister of the ethereal Morgan; and Medraud, secret son of Arthur and Morgan, who is torn between his mother's thirst for vengeance and a longing to be loved by the father he never knew. It is Medraud's lust for power that precipitates the fall of Camelot. Even those acquainted with the legend will relish in the fiery climactic battle scene, where father and son reunite in a courageous but deadly confrontation. In her first novel, Ms. Thomson boldly goes where so many have gone before, yet she still manages to achieve an exciting and satisfying read. Her fascination with medieval history is evident in each finely crafted page. 2001, Orchard Books, $17.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
KLIATT
This is the first book Thomson has written, but she is a children's book editor and obviously fascinated by the Arthurian legends. She turns to the old Welsh tales ("the oldest written sources for the King Arthur legends") as the basis of this fiction, telling about Arthur's life through the narratives of four characters: Nimue, the wife of a bard whose political fanaticism brings about the death of their own child; Morgan, Arthur's half-sister and wife, the mother of his sons; Luned, a servant who tends Elen, Morgan's sister, foster mother of Arthur's heir; and Medraud (Mordred), Morgan and Arthur's son, who is torn between yearning for his father's love and his mother's need for vengeance. Anyone familiar with the more common Arthurian tales will be fascinated by the variations in these. In fact, I think this is not the place to start reading about Arthur because Thomson's stories are most interesting in the ways they differ: Morgan is Arthur's first wife? Merlin is actually Myrddin, a bard who can see into the future? Queen Guinevere has a sister who is intensely resentful and joins forces with Mordred? The spelling variations are a challenge, although Thomson does provide a guide to the pronunciation of the Welsh names. In many ways these are quite sophisticated versions of the legend, filled with passions that rival the great Greek tragedies as families are torn apart by power, lust, treachery, and vengeance. The narrators Thomson provides are fascinating, but I think the better-known characters Morgan and Mordred tell the most riveting stories here—outshining the two other narrators who play more secondary roles in the legend itself. For more serious readers of theCamelot stories. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Scholastic/Orchard, 181p, 00-61177, $17.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Influenced by names and events from the Welsh legends and Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Thomson writes this story as historical fiction rather than as the fantasy readers may associate with King Arthur. Even though she has created these tales herself, the historical nature of this story seems to give credence to the more familiar fantasies, and because unfamiliar characters are doing the talking, the legends have new life and clarity. Nimue is a ferryman's daughter who falls in love with the bard Myrddin. They serve in Uther Pendragon's court, and their baby is mistakenly killed instead of Arthur. Myrddin then takes baby Arthur into hiding. The next story is that of Morgan, Arthur's half sister whom he marries. However, she leaves him, not telling him she's pregnant with twins. Years later, Arthur comes to her and claims one of the boys who will be raised as his nephew and heir. At a convent, Elen, Arthur's other half sister, and Luned, her handmaiden, raise the son Arthur took from Morgan. Finally, Medraud, the son left with Morgan, is raised by his mother to destroy Arthur. His appearance at court sets in motion a chain of events that means the end of Camelot. Fantasy and historical-fiction readers alike will enjoy the new perspective offered by this gritty, substantial novel; it's almost an "Aha! So that's why that happened."-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531303337
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/1901
Pages:
148
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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