Wednesday, 21 August 2019

A Sword of Ice and Fire

We're all more or less aware of the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table - whether through books, or film - but what of his childhood?
In The Sword of ice and Fire, the first of a four-book series entitled Red Dragon Rising, John Matthews visits those early formative years, weaving a story of magic and dark forces that will grip readers. 

As a baby Arthur is brought by the wizard Merlin to the castle of Avalon, to be looked after by Sir Hector and his wife. The castle is a mysterious place, with passageways and rooms that move around, and ruled over by 'The Nine' - sisters with power equal to, if not greater than, Merlin's. As he grows older, Arthur begins to query who he is, and why he must live in the castle. He's no longer content to remain within its walls, but, although he makes new friends in the surrounding forest, outside the sisters cannot shield him from the forces who wish him harm.

Matthews is drawing heavily on Arthurian myths, so obviously a lot of the story may feel familiar to adults. It's aimed though at older children/young teens - roughly the age group who'd read Harry Potter, and it's a story they'd love. There's the same mix of magic and action; a young boy brought up in ignorance of his heritage starting to take on the role he'll be required to fill, dangerous otherworldly enemies to defeat, and quests to fulfill - the Sword being the first one. 

Maryom's review - 4 stars 
Publisher - The Greystones Press 
Genre - children's/teen fantasy

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