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Mordred, Bastard Son (The Chronicles of Mordred Book 1) Kindle Edition
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And the romance with Lancelot--which in theory sounds like hot, secret, forbidden knight of the round table/enemy of the kingdom love-- is this weird mills and boon business completely lacking tension. The book almost gives itself a get-out clause for why their romance is so naff (it would give away a bit of the plot to explain) but i'm not sure I even buy that.
The book also swings uncomfortably between hearts and flowers fairyland and brutal violence. Which I found a bit unjustified. You can do horrific nightmare-inducing necromancy stuff that makes the books more enjoyable (for e.g. Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series), but here, I just felt a bit used; like it was just there to shock you in comparison with the rosy marshmallow bits. Though having said that, the book would be made far better by losing the saccharineness than the violence. And the eventual, eventual, could have accidentally been cut completley from the book if the printer had been aligned wrongly, bit of action at the end feels really tacked on and rushed and is infuriatingly over before it's started.
However, I've given it three stars in acknowledgment of the fact that I still want to read the sequel (I must've liked something about it)--though really I think that it's the rest of this book rather than a second one (you owe me some plot, Clegg).
*Another thing, I'm not sure it's worth mentioning but I will anyway, the edition I bought is littered with typos. So I would recommend waiting for the sequel to be released then getting them both from the library--not worth buying.
Mordred, born b*stard and heathen of an incestuous coupling of the bloodline pun-Dragon and the bloodline of the Fay, conceived from the brutal rape of Arthur's half sister Morgan LeFay, will be the instrument of the King's great unmaking, perhaps even the greatest unraveling of all. Fearing for their lives, the pregnant Morgan escapes Tintagel with Merlin, finding sanctity on the Isle of Glass where Mordred is safely born.
From birth, Mordred is sheltered by his aunt Morgause and great aunt Viviane, as they gather around this great son of a King, steadily casting their prayers to "the will of life," offering up to him the blessings from the Great Lady of the Lake. As Mordred grows older, he learns the secrets of the earth and lakes, and trains with Merlin in the Eastern Arts of necromancy and war.
He learns of the elements, the energies of the forest, and the "magick" of the faerie realm that invade the mind through scent and the invisible boundaries existing in the world "unseen by men." It's a bucolic and tempered existence, but Mordred knows he is different: When he becomes physically attracted to his best friend Lukat, Viviane tells him he is like the "soldier-mages," those who love other men, "as some fear in this world who know not of such love."
Mordred is consumed with adolescent sexual urges when one day, at the edge the desolate territory, he spies a wild hermit swimming naked in the Lake of Glass. Little does he know this man is the greatest betrayer; Viviane warns him to say away from this knight, swordsman, and best friend of Arthur. But Mordred ignores them and soon he's caught up in the alchemy of love, a mingling of confusion with flesh and soul.
This hermit, this enigmatic man, once told Arthur of the sacred place beneath the lake, where the sword of Excalibur lay buried in rock. And as Mordred learns more, he falls in love but is deceived into thinking he can live a life unaffected by the machinations of the outside world. For Morgan, dreams of vengeance, and remembers how she was once hunted like a dog by her half brother, who stole the sword and the thrones of the kingdoms from her.
Betrayal also comes in the form of the seemingly loyal the Morgause, who has swallowed a life of servitude to King Lot and to her sons. Now full of vengeful fury she has captured the half soul of her sister, and is intent to battle a King who has been given the sacred tools of the greatest of kings. As Mordred becomes a man, who must deal with his guilt at his crimes of passion, and his longing for the world that had begun to remake itself around him.
Author Douglass Clegg beautifully skewers the Arthurian legends; weaving a compelling story, single handedly reinventing Mordred's sexuality. He is no longer the betrayer, of Arthur, the knight Lancelot, and Guinevere Queen of the Britons; he is now the seductive and passionate hero, given the almost insurmountable task of finding the cauldron of rebirth - the Grail. Arthur is the greatest of all emperors, and Mordred longs to see him, despite the monstrous things he had done to his mother before his birth.
This is a lawless, violent and random world, caught up in ancient superstitions, where the Kings and Druid priests, remember terrors of roman captivity, and call out for Merlin, hoping that the ancient mage might save them from devastation. Those who worshipped the heathen gods have largely gone underground, and those of Christendom have sought sanctuary in the ruins of abbeys, monasteries, nunneries and the Roman villas.
Mordred and his ilk remain tied to the rituals of the sacred midsummer rites, of the men of the tribes and the old ways of his people. But eventually, Mordred must leave the safety of Isle of Glass, for his destiny is predetermined and he is set on a irrevocable path that will become his life.
In this first part of this adventure, our young and heroic prince achieves a type of erotic understanding, arriving from his breaking of the bonds of innocence. Yet as he saves a damsel in distress and witnesses his enemies gathering - in the form of a newly rejuvenated and vengeful Morgause - Mordred realizes that the debts of his life are only just beginning. Mike Leonard May 06.
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