HAVELOK THE DANE by Kevin Crossley-Holland


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The story is based on a legend that started in Lincolnshire and was first written down in the 13th century. Havelok, the child ruler of Denmark, was imprisoned and almost murdered by his steward; but escaped to England where he lived for 19 years and married Goldborough, who, similarly, had been removed from the English Throne by her Regent. She accompanied Havelok to Denmark, where he regained his kingship in a bloodless battle, and the two then returned to England where Goldborough also won her due. The retelling has been told with great attention to detail about medieval mores, and offers a varied collection of the minor characters and customs that must have typified the period. This approach has its weaknesses though, especially since there has been no attempt to inject humor into the story: the speech sometimes seems too casual; mystic events may appear to be illogical and out of the place; battle descriptions in this familiar casing become grim and repulsive instead of heroic. It is, however, a scholarly recreation and offers both adventure and romance.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1965
Publisher: Dutton