THE SHADOW OF THE HAWK and Other Stories by Marie de France by James--Adapt. Reeves

THE SHADOW OF THE HAWK and Other Stories by Marie de France

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Based on the 12th century lays of Marie de France (some of them, in turn, derived from Arthurian sources), six smoothly polished, highly romantic stories of true love both thwarted and triumphant and false love justly punished. Readers put off by the extravagant praise of the maiden Marec as the title story begins will soon be caught up in her woe at being imprisoned by a hard-hearted, aged husband--and then her ""great pleasure"" in meeting with the goodly lover who flies to her tower in the shape of a hawk. Equally sympathetic is the ill-treated knight Launfal who inadvertently betrays his fair but mysterious lady when goaded by the advances of Queen Guenevere. In these tales and the others--of the lady who bars her werewolf husband's return to his human form, and the ""somewhat malicious"" wife who abandons one of her own twin daughters--Reeves' retelling manages to remain true to the courtly conventions and assumptions without disorienting contemporary readers. And while fluently reworking the tales for dramatic effect, he preserves much of their medieval flavor--and some delightful medieval details, such as Marec's requiring that her hawk prince take holy communion (an act accomplished by tricking the chaplain) before he can become her lover. The stories were originally told to entertain adults, and for the romantic youngster reluctantly outgrowing the fairy tale genre this will be both a gratifying find and an enticing sample of more roundly rewarding fare.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Seabury