The Winter Prince

The Winter Prince

5.0 2
by Elizabeth E. Wein
     
 

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Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain and, but for an accident of birth, would be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, fragile and inexperienced, is chosen. Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped both his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, he

Overview

Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain and, but for an accident of birth, would be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, fragile and inexperienced, is chosen. Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped both his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, he joins Morgause, the high king's treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu's life. But this plot soon proves to be much more-a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wein's debut effort is the latest in the current spate of books and tales that mine Arthurian legends. Told by Medraut, the illegitimate son of Artos and his sister Morgause, this novel chronicles the narrator's love-hate relationship with his father's legitimate son, Lleu, the heir to the British throne. The intensity of Medraut's obsessions, like those of most people, is difficult for an outsider to sympathize with; his long internal musings tend to hamper the narrative's flow. Still, the writing is graceful and steeped in atmosphere, and the story line includes enough sibling rivalry and action to keep the reader going to the end. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature
Medraut (Mordred) is surely one of the slimiest villains in legend. Yet Ms. Wein has found another view of King Arthur's illegitimate son. She describes him as a conflicted man, a man capable of being a role model, a hero, and even a king if he hadn't been born of an incestuous relationship. Arthur loves this bright and talented son and entrusts Medraut to be mentor to his legitimate son and heir, Lleu, who is a rather sickly boy. More than once Medraut, a skilled healer, brings Lleu back to health. Although Medraut is sorely tempted by the power that could be his if he let his half-brother die, he resists the evil urges. In this engrossing story of Arthurian England, told as if it were history rather than legend, Lleu has a twin sister, Goewin, who also would make a fine ruler, if only she were a man. This story is told in Medraut's voice as an explanation, an apology, to his mother, Morgause, who has ordered him bring Lleu into her power. He attempts that mission, but will he succeed in carrying it through? Ms. Wein has a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband now live in Scotland. This exceptional book is her first novel. An excerpt from its sequel, A Coalition of Lions, is included at the end of this edition. That story is told in Goewin's voice. 2003 (orig. 1993), Firebird/Penguin Group,
— Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Absorbing reading for those who enjoy Arthurian legends. As the story opens, Medraut, the High King's eldest son, is returning to Artos's court, Camlan, after a six-year absence. There he finds Lleu, his frail, sickly half-brother, dying of an illness, and devotes himself to healing him. Born of incest between Artos and his sister Morgause, Medraut can never be High King, although he is outwardly more capable than Lleu. His intense love for his brother is mixed with extreme envy. When the evil Morgause comes to Camlan with her four younger sons, she brings with her a desire to control Lleu. Exploiting Medraut's envy, insecurity, and shame, and using her enchantress's power, she enlists his help. A journey of betrayal, masked as a hunting trip, becomes a time of cruelty, fear, and passion for the half brothers, ending in an intense battle of wills between them. Medraut admits his love for Lleu, who has found the inner strength he needs, and realizes that he can choose not to be bound to his mother's will. The tension of this last section is strongly involving and convincing. The characterizations are complex and finely drawn, as are the familial relationships. Written as if Medraut is telling the story to Morgause, his love-hate feelings for her are powerfully conveyed. A strong debut for a new novelist, and a story well worth reading.-Jane Gardner Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
Chris Sherman
Fantasy lovers and devotees of Arthurian legends will enjoy Wein's challenging but engrossing novel, which probes the soul of Mordred (or Medraut as Wein names him), the illegitimate son of Artos (presumably Arthur) and Artos' half-sister Morgause. In Wein's sympathetic hands, Medraut is a skillful, well-traveled healer who loves his half-brother Lleu, the legitimate heir to Artos' kingdom. She also portrays Medraut as conflicted enough to succumb to the wiles of Morgause (knowing full well of her cruelty) and as capable of sacrificing Lleu for revenge. Medraut is jealous of Lleu's blameless birthright and the power Lleu wields so thoughtlessly, and he yearns not only for Artos' approval, but also for recognition that he is not responsible for the shame of his parentage. In a gripping climax, both Lleu and Medraut face the demons that haunt them and emerge knowing they will never fear each other again.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689317477
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication date:
09/01/1993
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.73(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Winter Prince 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved this book ever since I first read it in 1997. I had been unable to find a copy of it anywhere other than my public library, and have had it checked out constantly. This is an intriguing twist on the perhaps overused Arthurian legend, and I can't wait to read Wein's next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the story and the people in this book! I thought that it was all great! I have read the book many of times and every time i reas it, it was like a new book I had never readed before. I think this book is great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in about two days, would have been one if I hadn't made my mother take the book away so I didn't finish it so fast. Very entertainging and enjoyful. I would recommend it to any reader.