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DAMOSEL by Stephanie Spinner


In Which the Lady of the Lake Renders a Frank and Often Startling Account of Her Wondrous Life and Times

by Stephanie Spinner

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-83634-3
Publisher: Knopf

Damosel is the Lady of the Lake, who knows the Rules chapter and verse (The Rule of Unwavering Politesse, A Lady Always Keeps her Promises, etc.) and follows them. Her gift is metalwork, so it is she Merlin asks to forge the sword Excalibur for Arthur. She does so, but cannot save Merlin from her flirtatious, power-hungry cousin Nimue, here drawn as the original manipulative Mean Girl—no wait, that’s Morgan. While Damosel promises Merlin to protect Arthur always, she fails, breaking both Rules and promise when she falls in love with Sir Pelleas, who then dies. Damosel’s first-person narrative alternates with that of Twixt, a dwarf, who provides his own wry commentary as he moves from squire to jester at Camelot to companion to Guinevere in her cloistered years. Both plot structure and character development seem arbitrary, in place to retell the tales but not offering readers any substantially new insight into the traditional legends. Readers in search of Arthurian retellings will be better served by those of Gerald Morris or Nancy Springer. (Fantasy. 10-14)