The first of an intended trilogy inspired by Arthurian legend, this ambitious, imaginative debut novel intertwines fallen angels, dark magic, modern-day threats and teenage angst.
After the suspicious death of a classmate, teenage loner Morgan Pendragon is sent away in disgrace from the Swiss Catholic boarding school where she has spent most of her life. She’s sent to the home in Wisconsin she has never seen, to parents—a mother and stepfather—who never visited. The only friendly face belongs to the family’s elegant, mute lawyer, who’s drawn with enigmatic finesse. The unhappy teen learns that she’s to attend school with Arthur, the half brother she recently met for the first time. The school, it turns out, is located in a secret land directly beneath Lake Winnebago. It houses a training ground for modern-day Knights of the Round Table, aka KORT, young warriors-to-be who battle against Earth-dwelling fallen angels—the Fey—who have long been at war with humankind. The KORT students learn weaponry, combat and the ability to call upon elemental magic, while a Catholic priest oversees their spiritual needs. (Religious faith is an intriguing if sketchy element here; how it develops over the next two novels in the trilogy remains to be seen.) Bullied by students suspicious of her ignorance of the world they’ve known since birth, Morgan begins to question their zealous desire for all-out destruction of the Fey, even as she puzzles out the possibility that the world might be weakening against the worst of the magical evils. While Morgan struggles to find a place in her new world and wonders about the mystery of the father she never knew, she begins to realize that not everyone is what they seem—herself included. Ellefson keeps readers guessing and juggles imaginative twists, placing her heroine under an increasing threat that escalates to a suspenseful ending guaranteed to leave readers hungry for the next installment.
A creative, well-crafted narrative filled with colorful characters, a conflicted heroine and a multifaceted plot.