Here Lies Arthur

Here Lies Arthur

by Philip Reeve


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Welcome to the dark side of Camelot.

Gwynna is just a girl who is forced to run when her village is attacked and burns to the ground. To her horror, she is discovered in the wood. But it is Myrddin the bard who has found her, a traveler and spinner of tales. He agrees to protect Gwynna if she will agree to be bound in service to him. Gwynna is frightened but intrigued-and says yes-for this Myrddin serves the young, rough, and powerful Arthur. In the course of their travels, Myrddin transforms Gwynna into the mysterious Lady of the Lake, a boy warrior, and a spy. It is part of a plot to transform Arthur from the leader of (con't)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439955331
Publisher: Gardners Books
Publication date: 04/02/2007
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Philip Reeve is the bestselling author of the Predator Cities quartet and the award-winning Fever Crumb series. His other books include the highly acclaimed HERE LIES ARTHUR and NO SUCH THING AS DRAGONS. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son. Visit him online at

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Here Lies Arthur 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
rapago on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always been fascinated by the legend of King Arthur. Seemingly, Philip Reeve has also had this fascination for a long time. His take on the legend of King Arthur is interesting in that it tells the story from a different point-of-view. Gwyna, the narrator, gets drawn into the story when Arthur destroys her home. Rescued by Myrddin, she becomes part of the story as Myrddin uses her to help shape the growing legend around Arthur.The glimpses we get of life in ancient Britain are just setting to the the power of the story. For that is what Myrddin uses to build up the legend of Arthur. His words, stretching the truth, adding layer upon layer to the deeds committed by Arthur, all serve to create a King, who never really existed.The Arthur we see, through Gwyna's narration is no shiny, chivalrous, king. He is a petty, warlord, with a bad temper. Through this story we get a glimpse of a possiblity into the creation of the legend that has spanned centuries to still intrigue readers today.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everyone has stories that have had so much of an impact on them that attempts to revise them, to be "realistic", about them, are infuriating. I rejected the Star Trek Enterprise series in its first season, for example, because they made "my" Vulcans into a sneaking, deceptive race and I couldn't stand that. This version of the Arthurian romance has that same problem. Reeve's Myrddin (Merlin) has no power other than the power of a bard to shape a culture's tales. Arthur is a thug, warring only to gain wealth. Gwenhwyvar is selfish, grasping tightly a love she needs. Reeve does it well, and there is some power in the main character, Gwyna, a girl who is servant to Myrddin and does her best to help as many people as she can. Yet for me Reeves is fighting too many years of adoration of the Arthur story, particularly as told by T. H. White's The Once and Future king and Mary Stewart's Merlin series.Still, if you like having your heroes debunked, Reeves provides a quick good read.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book as an uncorrected proof through the Amazon Vine program. This was a really good book. It is a very unique take on the tale of Arthur and his "knights".This book focuses around the life of Gwyna. When her village is burned down by Arthur and his warband she is pulled aside by Myrddin and asked to aid him in a ruse as the Lady of the Lake after Myrddin sees Gwyna swimming down the river from her village. Myrddin decides to keep Gwyna around after the ruse is accomplished and from there on Gwyna undergoes many transformations first to a boy and then to a handmaiden under her apprenticeship with Myrddin.This was a very well-written book and a very unqiue retelling of the Arthur tale. I have to say that this is probably the most realistic and believable story of Arthur that I have ever read. I really could see Arthur's life and legend forming as it is described in this book; much more than I could actually believe the ancient tales themselves. Gwyna is a great character with a frankness, honesty, and intelligence that serves her well thoughout her tale.Overall this is a great book. The only complaint I have about it is that it is listed as a children's book. Realistically this is not the first book on Arthurian legend that I would like to expose a child to. I think this is an excellent read if you are framiliar with the legend and the awe behind it. But, to put it bluntly, this story rips out any of the fantasy or awe of the legend of Arthur. It takes everything magical away from those tales and exposes it as the harsh reality that it more likely was. I personally would not want this to be my son's first experience with the tale of Arthur. I want him to believe in wizards, knights, princesses, and noble heros while he can. When he is older, if he wants to hear another version of this tale, then this would be appropriate. But why steal away the magic of the tale of King Arthur? I mean truthfully, although I liked this story and I know it is fictional, reading it made something magical fade for me. It was just too likely that this was the true story and personally I like to pretend that King Arthur really was the figure pictured in legend.An excellent book! Definitely makes me want to check out more books by Reeve!
BookshelfMonstrosity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Countless retellings of the Arthurian legend abound in the literary world, and I know some of you are ready to leave this review behind before you finish it. Before you move on, let me tell you why this book is just a little different than all the rest and worth a second chance. First of all, thank you, Philip Reeve for not making this novel another over-romanticized, plotless tale of love. I've read quite enough of that sort, thank you very much.Secondly, and most important, is Reeve's characterization of Arthur. If you are looking for a valiant and gallant myth of a man, do not come searching here. Arthur is a brute who is vying for power and dominance the only way he knows how- by looting nearby villages and taking whatever he wants and needs in order to attain more power. Myrddin, more commonly known as the bard Merlin, meets Gwynna, a servant girl, and takes her under his wing. It is through Gwynna's eyes that we the readers witness the real story behind the legends of Arthur, from the Lady of the Lake to the sword in the stone to Guinevere.This book is a refreshing revision on the Arthurian legend and will be enjoyed by all fans of historical fantasy as well as those curious about King Arthur.
thelexingtonreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It had an interesting plot.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great take on the King Arthur story, Arthur here is a unpleasant bully, being guided by Merlin and his half brother into being a symbol of unity. Told though the eyes of Gwyna, a slave girl rescued by Myrrdin (Merlin), this is a story about the power of story, about spin, and about how heroes don't exist until their stories are told by a warm fire and with plenty of ale.I'd give this to fantasy fans, historical fiction fans, and also to anyone watching the new BBC series about teenaged Merlin.
yellowoasis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carnegie winner 2008, I read it when it was shortlisted and now want a copy for my collection. I really enjoyed this book, though it was a bit long and sprawling. Gwyna¿s home has just been pillaged and her master killed. She is a servant of very little worth and has no family. She is found by Myrddin, Arthur¿s soothsayer. He uses her swimming skills to play a trick and present Arthur with the sword Caliburn from the lake. He takes her on as his assistant, but says she must live as a boy called Gwyn so nobody suspects the lady of the lake trick. This suits the girl as a girl¿s life is not much to write home about in 600 AD. She realises how Myrddin works, telling tales to make Arthur sound more than just a man.The story drags a bit. Gwyn changes back into a girl when puberty approaches, as a maid to Guinevere. She becomes implicated in the lady¿s affair with Bedfer, but is unable to stop him being killed and her taking her own life. She finds another cross-dresser ¿ this time a boy who is being raised as a girl. She saves his life a couple of times and eventually they fall in love, an unconventional couple.An intriguing story because it shows the truth behind the Arthurian legends ¿ he is just a brute with a good spin doctor. It was interesting trying to remember the old stories and matching these more authentic names with those.
LibrarianAbi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a really enjoyable book. The author uses the myth of King Arthur as a basis to explore the character of Gwyna, an orphan girl who ends up as servant/surrogate daughter to Myrddin, who is the Merlin figure in the book. She has many adventures, helping out Myrddin in his tricks and she lives as both girl and boy, an interesting feat in ancient Britain. Arthur himself is presented as real king may have been at the time, greedy for power and not at all the noble Arthur of legend. This is a really good exploration of the nature of myth and storytelling as Gwyna and Myrddin create the story of Arthur around his 'real' exploits. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here Lies Arthur is absolutely mind-blowing. It throws away the old, magical tale and potrays a much more vivid and historically accurate version of events. To me this should be the definitive story of King Arthur. The only negative things I have heard anyone say is that it protrays Arthur and Merlin as less then desirable characters. Such criticism completely misses the point of Here Lies Arthur, which is to make you think. This is a modern day masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here Lies Arthur is an Arthurian-legend novel in which a girl named Gwyna who is servant to the bard Myrddin (Merlin) and helps him try to use storytelling and trickery to make Arthur braver and nobler.This book was okay. I'm a fan of the Arthurian legends--the medieval romance ones--so the gritty, post-Roman, half-barbaric British culture (although probably more historically correct) turned me off a bit. However, there are some very sweet, touching moments and characters (like Peredur) who make the book worth reading.
Giced More than 1 year ago
This was surprisingly a great book. What started off as just a book to waste time and keep me from being lonely, actually ended up in a great adventure, telling the story of the cruelty and greed of men, the power of stories and words, and the difference between men and women. It is interesting seeing Arthur portrayed in such a different light.
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I think that the book was very fun to read, and a delightful twist to what one usually reads about in King Arthur books. It twists character's personalities around and makes some seem like they are more bad than good, and make you question motives of the characters in question. I also found that it wasn't a difficult read but that it still made you think about what you know about the tales and made the characters seem more human with severe flaws. Some things just forced me to reread it and go "No Way!" -- in a good way of course. I do recommend this book to anyone that likes twists on old tales and stories we all know well, as well as King Arthur fans. Albeit a different way to show Arthur, it portrays human flaws very well.
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booky24 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book very much. The whole book was a good retelling of the well known tale of King Arther.
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Here Lies Arthur
Philip Reeve
Scholastic Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780545093347
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for, 2008
4 stars
Anew perspective of King Arthur¿
Philip Reeve offers a new perspective on King Arthur. Here Lies Arthur is a book for young adults. The story is told through the eyes of a young girl named Gwyna. Reeve¿s perspective of Arthur is not complimentary. This King is not easy to recognize; he is crude and barbaric. There is no magic in Reeve¿s Merlin.
Here Lies Arthur is a good read, but I found it hollow after growing up on The Midst of Avalon by Marion Bradley Zimmerman and Mary Stewart¿s, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. When I hear of Arthur, I want to think of him as noble and elegant. I want Merlin to be magical.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book completely destroys the story of King Arthur and make Merlin a lying, sneaky old man who spends his life spreading stories of Arthur and making him seem noble when he is really an evil, power-hungry warlord.