In this incident-packed but mindless retelling of an Arthurian romance, Sir Yvain sets out in search of adventure and glory, achieving true manhood only after a series of trials. Easily overcoming the formidable Black Knight and marrying the defeated man's widow, Yvain then neglects his lady while indulging in revelry with the other knights; he cannot return to her until--unraveling a riddle--he saves in turn a lion from a dragon, a damsel from a tower, and 30 maidens from an ogre. Obviously these deeds are more worthy than Yvain's earlier feat--he spills the water of life and renders the land dry and lifeless, simply for the glory of beating his fellows to battle with the Black Knight who protects the fountain. But the uniformly hollow tone of Yvain's first-person telling suggests no growth in sensitivity, and in summarizing the action McDermott shows no evidence of a point of view himself. (Arthur comes on like Tom Sawyer, roaring "This is a marvelous adventure which we will all undertake" as he leads his men to pointless battle.) Probably McDermott's approach is best reflected in his grainy black-and-white illustrations, which are flamboyantly melodramatic (one lightning-lit pose is pure Superman)--but even at that level the writing falls short.