The violence and romance of Arthurian legend practically pop off of the pages of Anderson (Symphony for the City of the Dead, 2015, etc.) and Offermann’s (Well of Witches, 2016, etc.) striking graphic-novel adaptation of Chretien de Troyes’ epic poem.
After hearing tales of a magical spring in a far-off kingdom, Yvain—a young knight of the Round Table—leaves Camelot to defeat the spring’s guardian and thereby claim glory. After killing the kingdom’s lord in combat, Yvain later falls in love with his widow, the beautiful Lady Laudine, whom he marries. Yvain’s subsequent, selfish decision to abandon his new wife and adult responsibilities for the glory of questing drives this story of hubris and redemption. The author and illustrator weave the richness of human complexity into their interpretation of the medieval poem, crafting three-dimensional knights and ladies who feel heartbreakingly real. Offermann’s illustrations are glorious medieval tapestries come to life, and her finely etched pencil lines highlight the white characters’ angular features and draw attention to their eyes, which are mirrors for their turbulent emotions. Anderson uses the format’s sparseness of text to maximum effect, fashioning a thought-provoking narrative that reflects the grandiosity of Arthurian England while never relinquishing the human element at the core of this story. His perceptive rendering of gender politics within the court is one of the tale’s most intriguing features.
A compulsively readable and eminently enjoyable retelling that breathes new life into an old classic. (author’s, illustrator’s notes) (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up)