THE SAVAGE DAMSEL AND THE DWARF by Gerald Morris

THE SAVAGE DAMSEL AND THE DWARF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Morris's third (Squire's Tale, 1998; The Squire, the Knight and the Lady, 1999) wry, sometimes hilarious, take on an Arthurian legend, a sharp-tongued young damosel gets an education in sorcery, intrigue and what true knighthood is all about. To save her beautiful, if vapid, older sister Lyonesse from the clutches of a bloodthirsty suitor, Lynet sets out on her own to recruit a champion from Camelot. She returns with a savvy, but inept, dwarf, Roger, and a kitchen knave dubbed `Beaumains` who, from his adroit sword work and obsession with fighting every armored comer to the death, is obviously a knight in disguise. Though Lynet is deeply smitten, in time she loses both her infatuation and at least some of her romantic illusions, incidentally gaining along the way grounding in sorcery and herb lore. There's plenty of violence here, and not the cartoon sort either, but Morris doesn't glorify it; instead, he populates the woods (every clearing, it sometimes seems) with knights of every stripe, from murderous brutes and big talkers to mild mannered, sensible sorts—including among the latter the renowned Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain. Ultimately realizing that her true hero has been literally under her nose the whole time, Lynet douses Roger with a magic potion that not only heals a mortal wound, but, to her amazement turns him back into (tah-dah!) Sir Gaheris, Prince of Orkney. As Beaumains turns out to be Sir Gareth, his featherbrained brother and so a perfect match for Lyonesse, the tale ends with a grand double wedding. Fans of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (1997), Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles and similarly lighthearted fantasy will be delighted. (afterword) (Fiction. 1115)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-97126-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000




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