THE ROAD TO CAMELOT

TALES OF THE YOUNG MERLIN, ARTHUR, LANCELOT AND MORE

Fourteen writers from Down Under envision watershed incidents in the youths of as many Arthurian figures in this themed import, published overseas in 2002. In eras that range from post-Roman to medieval to contemporary, Garth Nix lays a heavy personal price on Nimue for gaining Merlin’s power, Isobelle Carmody combines the story of Guinevere with “Sleeping Beauty” and Ursula Dubosarsky recasts Percival’s life-changing first encounter with a knight as a boy’s first view of a race car. In other tales, “Morgan of the Fay” (Kate Forsyth) explains her bitter love/hate for Arthur, Mordred travels into the past to pluck the sword from the stone first (“The Plot” by Allan Baillie) and Gawain, Gareth, Lancelot, Galahad and others set out from home to find their destinies. Each author adds a postscript, and Masson sandwiches the collection between a quick history of the Arthurian legend and a select list of old and recent iterations of it. Maggie Hamilton’s tendentious opener (“Merlin”) aside, the stories are all chock-full of unusual, fan-pleasing takes and angles. (Short stories. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-86471-948-2

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Random Australia/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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