THE SQUIRE, HIS KNIGHT, AND HIS LADY

This sequel to The Squire’s Tale (1998) finds Morris’s affable young hero, Terence, still serving the legendary Sir Gawain. The kingdom of Camelot, where they are living, is in despair over Queen Guinevere’s affair with Sir Lancelot; when Gawain is challenged to meet the Knight of the Green they set off on a new quest. Terence is still young, but he is no longer the novice of the previous novel; when Gawain is imprisoned by the treacherous Marquis of Alva and scheduled for execution, it’s up to Terence to save not only his knight, but the beautiful and spirited Lady Eileen. The three of them come upon an enchanted castle, where the lord of the realm turns out to be the Green Knight in disguise: Gawain is forced to pass two additional challenges in order to regain face. There is a well-crafted but tumultuous unfolding of events, and an author’s note in which Morris explains his abiding affection and respect for Gawain; this personal touch may send readers straight off to Chaucer. Even Arthur and Guinevere make up in this engaging adventure, an ideal follow-up to the first book and just as full of characters who are brave, loyal, and admirably human. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-91211-3

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

BEYOND PARADISE

During WWII in the Philippines, American citizens trapped in the war zone were imprisoned for years by the Japanese, events that provide the context for Hertenstein’s first novel, which focuses on one 14-year-old, Louise. Louise’s minister father is captured in Manila, leaving her and her weak-willed mother to face life alone with other Baptist missionaries on an outlying island. The colony escapes into the hills for a time, but is discovered and interned in a concentration camp. Eventually they are moved to Manila, and later to the notorious camp, Los Banos. One of Louise’s friends is discovered with a radio and executed; food is scarce; people are dying. Hertenstein writes with sensitivity, although the story is often disjointed, e.g., the news that the colony has been taken prisoner comes in a letter Louise writes to her sister, instead of through Louise’s natural-sounding first-person narration, which filled the first 60 pages. When the Japanese disappear from the camp, Louise, now almost 18, rejoices that finally there will be “No bowing, no bayonets,” yet bowing and bayonets, major features of Japanese concentration camps, have hardly been mentioned. A first work that is shakily compelling, often uplifting, and certainly promising. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16381-5

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SKULLDUGGERY

PLB 0-7868-2439-5 From Karr (Man of the Family, p. 1312, etc.), a historical novel that is remarkably cheerful, considering that among its key elements are grave-robbing and a hideous criminal on the prowl. In New York City in 1840, Matthew loses his whole family to cholera. Trying to keep body and soul together, he answers an advertisement for an assistant to a remarkable fellow, Dr. Asa B. Cornwall, phrenologist. Dr. ABC, as he is known, studies the cranial features of people, and deduces by the lobes and bumps on their heads their personalities and characteristics; he’s writing his magnum opus to prove his theories. Matthew takes to the larger-than-life doctor; they travel to Philadelphia, London, Paris, and the south of France, attempting’surreptitiously—to dig up famous skulls for the doctor’s research. All the while, in the smoothly suspenseful plotting, a vicious and mysterious stranger with a scar follows them, putting Matthew in danger and haunting his nightmares. The thrilling denouement takes place on St. Helena and involves the body of Napoleon himself; this novel is rich in period color and good old-fashioned derring-do. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7868-0506-4

Page Count: 230

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more