For the past 12 years, Gerald Morris’ series The Squire’s Tales has breathed articulate life into a retelling of Arthurian legends with a contemporary approachability that doesn’t compromise their authentic allure. Noble knights, captivating enchantresses, mystical beings and dexterous swordsmen have all dutifully played their parts from book one. And with The Legend of the King, the tales come to a close as noble Camelot faces certain destruction at the unforgiving hand of Arthur’s illegitimate son, the wretched and pointedly evil Mordred.
Young witch Tiffany Aching took on the Queen of the Fairies
with a cast-iron skillet, defeated the mind-controlling hiver
with sheer force of will and escaped the frozen embrace of the Wintersmith
, but can she handle the centuries-old Cunning Man, a sort of disembodied hatred that seeks to destroy all witches? Tiffany’s fans know there’s nothing easy about witchcraft. What may even be harder, though, is the knowledge that this is the last Tiffany Aching book
; she’s 16, after all, and putting away childish things. Tiffany’s creator, the brilliant Terry Pratchett, holds out a bit of hope for them. “Tiffany has grown up in this series and is now herself entering adulthood,” says the author. “It was quite an engrossing task to write the last book of a children’s series and meld it into an adult book. Have we seen the last of Tiffany? Possibly. On the other hand, if she does turn up, it will probably be an in adult Discworld book. On the whole, I doubt if this matters because I suspect that part of my success is that children read my ‘adult books’ and adults read my ‘children’s books.’ Fantasy, after all, is uni-age, and long may it survive.” Amen to that—or, as Tiffany’s friends the Feagles would say, “Crivens!”