THE WINTER PRINCE by Elizabeth E. Wein

THE WINTER PRINCE

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A first novel that compares honorably with Sutcliff's books in its lyrical evocation of Arthur's Britain and is also akin to Napoli's The Magic Circle (p. 789) in its contemporary reworking of legendary figures--particularly women. Omitting Merlin and Lancelot, Wein incorporates Welsh lore and names in her story: at Artos's Camlann are his queen, Ginevra, and his three children: twins Goewin and sickly Lleu, Artos's legitimate heir, and their older half-brother Medraut (Mordred), whose narrative is addressed to beautiful, dangerous Morgause--Artos's sister and Medraut's mother--a cruel, fascinating woman whose gentle hands more often harm than heal. Conniving to make Medraut Artos's heir, she torments Lleu with poisons, while Medraut--a gifted, richly complex young man whose deep ambivalence about Lleu governs the story--heals and taunts him, teaches, admires, and envies him and finally takes the lad hostage at Morgause's behest. Lleu, coming into his real strengths, turns tables on his captor; their journey home is one of self-realization and reconciliation--themes emblemized, earlier, in a solstice celebration when the ``Winter Prince''--the Old Year's son-- enables the New Year's birth. The metamorphosis of the relationships is both dynamic and subtle, and Wein's chosen voice is intriguing, since there's no setting for the telling--is Medraut still compelled, even when his loyalties have shifted, to explain himself to Morgause? Goewin, who's as able as her brothers and empathizes with her aunt's thwarted ambition, may have a tale of her own. A mesmerizing, splendidly imagined debut. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-689-31747-6
Page count: 202pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




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