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GRAIL QUEST #1 by Laura Anne Gilman

GRAIL QUEST #1

The Camelot Spell

By Laura Anne Gilman

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-077279-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

When all of the grownups in Camelot suddenly fall into enchanted sleep, three contentious teenagers set out to track down the elusive Merlin for help. Gilman crafts a competent series opener, sending humorless squire Gerard, sly, stable boy Newt and Ailis, an orphaned maidservant with a nascent magical gift, through a series of magical trials. When Merlin is temporarily imprisoned by his nemesis Nimue, it’s up to the three young questers to recover the parts of a certain sundered talisman, get it back to Camelot (which takes but 12 or so hours—neat trick, since the outward journey takes over four days), and battle Morgan le Fay herself for one final piece. It’s all accomplished amid earnest conversations about Believing, and Learning to Work Together. Future episodes will doubtless contain more of the same as the search for the (de-Christianized) Grail begins—but the characters are familiar without being utterly typecast, the author borrows from T.H. White as well as Thomas Malory and there is a consistent sense of “what’s going to happen next?” that will keep readers turning the pages. (Fantasy. 11-13)