Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur

Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur

by Jane Yolen

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Overview


The newly crowned King Arthur has yet to win the support of the people. Merlin must do something before the king is betrayed, or murdered, or--worst of all--gets married. So Merlin creates a trick: a sword magically placed into a slab of rock that only Arthur can withdraw. Then he lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.

But then someone else pulls the sword out first. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152025335
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/01/2004
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 115,929
Product dimensions: 4.36(w) x 7.08(h) x 0.97(d)
Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author


JANE YOLEN has written more than two hundred books for children and adults, including the three volumes in the Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin. She has won several of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. Ms. Yolen lives in western Massachusetts and Scotland.

Read an Excerpt


Summons

PRINCE GAWAINE took the stone steps two at a time, trying to guess why his mother, the queen, had sent for him. She only did that when she was angry with him, or wanted something from him, which usually came to the same thing. Either that or she was going to recite his stupid bloodlines again.

"I've half a mind," he said, puffing a bit as the steps were steep and many and he hadn't climbed them in a while, "half a mind to tell her what I've decided." He stopped on the landing and took a deep breath. "That I don't want to be king of Orkney. Not now. Not when I turn eighteen. Not ever."

He smiled faintly, having spoken aloud what he had been thinking secretly for over a year. Though of course he hadn't said it aloud to his mother, just aloud to the stone walls.

Let Agravaine have the throne, he thought fiercely. Or the twins. He took a deep breath. Or that brat Medraut. He started up the stairs again, still taking them on the double and thinking crankily about his mother and the throne. He knew that even if they were given the throne in his place, none of his brothers would have a chance to rule, anyway. Morgause would keep the power close to her own breast, with her spiderweb intrigues, with her spiteful magicks, with her absolute conviction that he or one of his brothers should not only be king of the Orkneys but High King of all Britain. And she the ruling queen.

A blast of wind through one of the arrow slits scoured his corn-colored hair. It blew sense into him at the same time. He slowed down.

No sense running, he thought. She might think I'm eager to see her.

When he made the last turning, he came face-to-face with her chamber door. No matter how often he came to it, the door was always a surprise, a trick of space and time, another of her plots. Made of a single panel of oak carved into squares, the door looked like a game board and was painted black.

Gawaine smoothed down his grey linen tunic and knocked on the one blank square. The rest of the squares were warded with arcane signs, spells that only she could read. The blank square was well-worn. No one, not any of her servants or his brothers-or even his father, when he was alive-ever dared knock on any other section of the door.

There was no answer.

Grinding his teeth-something he seemed to do only when he was home, in Orkney-Gawaine knocked again.

Still no answer.

"Damn her!" he whispered.

How she loved to play these games. Her servant Hwyll had said, specifically, she wanted to see Gawaine at once. He'd emphasized the two words: at...once. Poor Hwyll, a nice enough man, always kind and thoughtful, but he had no backbone. She had chosen him exactly because he had none. He was a conciliator, a peacemaker, the perfect servant.

"A pus pot," Gawaine said aloud, not knowing if he meant Hwyll, his mother, or the situation he found himself in.

Once again.

He banged on the door with his fist, and cried out, "Mother!" His voice rose to a whine. Hardly fitting, he thought angrily, for a Companion of the High King.

MORGAUSE COULD hear her son's angry cry as she came down the stairs from the tower, clutching a handful of bitter vetch. She smiled.

It's good to let him stew, she thought. A stew long boiled makes easier eating.

She never tried to make things simple for her boys. Princes needed to be tested even more than peasants.

And my sons most of all.

Stopping on the stairs, she flung open one of the corbelled windows and glanced out.

The late-spring seas around the Orkneys were troubled. Ninety islands and islets, and all of them buffeted by extraordinary waves. "High wind and waves build character," she told herself. Her sons were in want of character.

Agravaine she was certain of, though he still needed a bit more tempering. And the twins-they dangled together, like rough-polished gems on a chain. Medraut was so like her, she knew his mind without working at it. But Gawaine...

Gawaine had gotten away from her. It had been three years or more since she'd understood him. It was all she could do to keep control. Of him. Of herself when she was with him. He made her angry when anger did not serve. He made her furious to the point of becoming speechless. Still, she needed him more than he needed her, and so she had to bring him close again. To heel. Like a hound.

Speaking a word of binding, she flung three leaves of the vetch through the window. The wind brought them back to her and she closed her hand around them, stuffing them into her leather pocket. She smiled again, willing herself to calm. Gawaine would be hers as he once was, the adoring and adorable towheaded first child. All of Lot's sons were susceptible to spells of binding, as had been their father. It was just a matter of patience and time. She had plenty of both.

Continuing down the stairs, she discovered Gawaine red-faced and furious, standing with his back to her door.

"I'm glad to see you, too, dear," she told him.

Copyright © 2003 by Jane Yolen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address:
Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.





Table of Contents


Contents

I. Queen's Anger/Mage's Dream 1
1. Summons 2
2. Bloodlines 7
3. Queen's Entrance 15
4. Travel from Orkney 22
5. Message Delivered 36
6. Castle Mage 46
7. Dream 55
8. May Queen 65
9. Talking to Trees 72

II. Mage's Dream/King's Hope 79
10. Under the Oaks 80
11. Visitor to Cadbury 88
12. Fledgling 96
13. Dungeon 106
14. Hard Work 116

III. King's Hope/Prince's Danger 123
15. Riding South 124
16. Hard Hands 131
17. Brothers 138
18. Prince's Choler 148
19. Off on the Hunt 160
20. Aftermath 169
21. The Price of Honor 176

IV. Prince's Danger/King's Hand 189
22. The Marvel 190
23. Sword in the Stone 196
24. Courtyard 202
25. Helping a Mage 207
26. Round Table 217
27. Doves 229
28. Hand to the Sword 236

V. King's Hand/Queen's Magic 245
29. May Queens All 246
30. At the Gate 252
31. Queen/King/Mage 258
32. The Great Dinner 268
33. Curses 276
34. Confessions 283
35. Changes 297

VI. Queen's Magic/King's Sword 307
36. Reading the Air 308
37. Out to the Stone 316
38. Trying the Sword 324
39. Sword of the Rightful King 334
40. Weddings 344

Customer Reviews

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Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!!! Even better than Harry Potter- I mean, this book has it all! It has betrayal, mystery, raomance, medieval history, and it ends up with a totally unexpected ending! I hope all of you resolve to read this book book its an experience you'll never forget!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first when I saw this book, I expected for King Arthur to go on an adventure or something. but instead, he barely even left the castle and there was absolutely no action. To me, this was more like a Nancy Drew book. I hated the end because arranged marriages are a big turnoff to me.
t1bnotown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To start- Gawen's secret was obvious early on. Okay- retellings of King Arthur are definitely interesting to me, and this one has a unique perspective. I didn't like the story, however, I was annoyed with the characters (Arthur was the only one I liked), I was more than a little irritated with the whole "o noes the witch quene!" bit. The curse towards the end worked, and she succeeded in creating a happy ending that hinted at the unhappy overall ending. The main saving point for this one was general readability, but there were too many irritants for me to be happy with it.
sagrundman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sword of the Rightful King is an Arthurian tale. The characters' names should be very familiar to people who have read other tales. The story mostly follows Gawaine, Morgause, Merlinnus, and Gawen instead of Arthur as many retellings of the Sword in the Stone do. But this isn't a normal retelling of the story. Instead of the sword choosing the King, the King is reaffirmed by pulling to sword. Arthur is already in power, with Morgause trying her best to knock him out of power so she can put a son in power and then rule. Gawaine, one of her sons, is loyal to Arthur and tries his hardest to foil the plots. The sword in the stone is Merlin's idea. There is lots of magic throughout the book, used by both Merlin and Morgause who are at odds. The theme is the normal fantasy good vs. evil with good seemingly winning at the end, even though evil gets its final dig in. I took a 1/2 star off the book because the first 3/4 of the book seem to be a bit slow, with all the action happening at the end. I feel it would've kept my attention better if it had been more balanced. This is a good, different retelling of the Sword and the Stone. The small chapters make it perfect for a 6th grader or above who is interested in Arthurian tales.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like Jane Yolen and I love the Arthur stories, so this one seemed like a safe bet. However, I wasn't crazy about her Young Merlin trilogy. This one, happily, wasn't really connected with the Merlin stories. It revolved around Arthur, Merlin, Gawain and Morgause and a newcomer to court, the confusingly named Gawin.Morgause is her normal rotten self, Gawain was a hero as always (he's my favorite, really), and there was much intrigue. I wound up only giving it 3.5 stars though, because the plot was just too complex to be believable. Arthur here was very easy to like. If you enjoy the Arthur stories, I think this one would be a fun one.
sbigger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sword of the Rightful King is an Arthurian tale. The characters' names should be very familiar to people who have read other tales. The story mostly follows Gawaine, Morgause, Merlinnus, and Gawen instead of Arthur as many retellings of the Sword in the Stone do. But this isn't a normal retelling of the story. Instead of the sword choosing the King, the King is reaffirmed by pulling to sword. Arthur is already in power, with Morgause trying her best to knock him out of power so she can put a son in power and then rule. Gawaine, one of her sons, is loyal to Arthur and tries his hardest to foil the plots. The sword in the stone is Merlin's idea. There is lots of magic throughout the book, used by both Merlin and Morgause who are at odds. The theme is the normal fantasy good vs. evil with good seemingly winning at the end, even though evil gets its final dig in. I took a 1/2 star off the book because the first 3/4 of the book seem to be a bit slow, with all the action happening at the end. I feel it would've kept my attention better if it had been more balanced. This is a good, different retelling of the Sword and the Stone. The small chapters make it perfect for a 6th grader or above who is interested in Arthurian tales.
OtwellS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It was a nice twist on the traditional telling of the King Arthur legend. Arthur is king already and Merlin is trying to "rally the troops" behind their king. Merlin and Morgause have their usual little spats with her trying to put one of her children on the throne and being the basic baddie of the novel. I found it a nice read and the narrators' perspectives were different because you weren't in King Arthur's shoes all that much. Mostly, you were following the other characters (I would have liked to have followed Merlin a bit more) but I liked Gawen's method of dealing with the Sword.
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
have always loved the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. When I was a kid I read everything I could get my hands on about this topic. In this retelling, Queen Morgause is deliciously evil and is constantly plotting to overthrow young King Arthur and put one of her sons on the throne. Arthur is already king when the story begins, but Britain is not united. The whole sword in the stone thing turns out to be a trick that Merlinnus uses to convince the people of Britain that Arthur is the "once and future king" and to stop the assassination attempts. Arthur's knights are barely mentioned; the only one who gets any real face time is Gawaine, who also happens to be Morgause's eldest son. Merlinnus also takes in a young boy, Gawen, who has a secret and holds a grudge against Gawaine. This book will appeal most to middle and high school readers who enjoy myths and legends. Another book by this author that is one of my favorites books OF ALL TIME is called Briar Rose and retells "Sleeping Beauty" as a Holocaust story. Sounds bizarre, but it is wonderful. Briar Rose is a tale that teen and adult readers will love. If you can't get enough of King Arthur, another of my favorite books OF ALL TIME is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The King Arthur legend is reimagined and told from the women's perspectives. This is a huge book (about 1000 pages). The book is complex and there are many different characters and stories, all intertwined. Beautiful, with a decidedly feminist slant. I first read this when I was in college. I would most strongly recommend it to readers in high school and beyond. Younger readers will probably be intimidated by the book unless they are already passionate about the topic.
MartyAllen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Merlin plants a sword in a stone for Arthur to remove in order to prove himself a worthy king.This book is not a retelling of the legend of King Arthur, which could work for or against it. For those familiar with the legend, looking forward to a familiar tale retold, it is a disappointment. Rather than starting out as an ordinary peasant boy, Arthur is already king, and a reluctant one at that, when the story begins. Rather than assisting a boy discover his true power through magic and the removal of a magic sword in a stone, Merlin conspires with the king and his apprentice to place a sword in a stone, telling all that only the true king of Britain (which shall, through his magics, be Arthur) can remove it. This stone, though central to the original story and introduced at the beginning there, in this book doesn¿t even show up until midway through. A twist at the end would be a partial redemption¿if it wasn¿t half given away in the book flap. Though fast-paced, it does drag on. Though Merlin¿s (here called Merlinnus) view of magic¿a ¿believing is seeing¿ point of view¿and the history behind the story may be refreshing, in the end, they are not enough to redeem the book. While not a total disappointment, it isn¿t a must-read, either.
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fantasy-fiction_chick More than 1 year ago
I have read this book twice and both times i still loved it!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Arthur is a noble and kind man and perhaps someday will be a great king. But he is still barely of age, twenty-two years old, and the disgruntled people of England wonder at his ability to be High King. Arthur himself, though proud, doubts his own claim to throne and is always reminded that he is king because Merlinnus wanted him to be not for his bloodright. Merlinnus is the great wizard famed for his incredible powers. As an assasin creeps into the mist of Cadbury, Merlinnus is forced to consider the enemy that he himself helped create, and find a way to strengthen people's hearts towards Arthur. Sir Gawaine is a sworn knight of the Round Table, and a loyal companion to Arthur. But his mother, powerful sorceress Morgause, despises Arthur and wishes to destroy him-and put one of her sons on the throne. When Gawaine and three of his brothers journey to Cadbury suspicions from all sides are thrown on them. Arthur must doubt his own friends. And finally, Gawen, a youngster that journeys to Cadbury seeking revenge on Gawaine for untold reasons(that is, until the end). When Arthur refuses to take him on as one of his knights, Gawen become Merlinnus's assistant and much of the story unfolds through his eye-and indeed, Gawen influences the plot very drastically. Merlinnus has an ingenious plan. It started simply, putting the sword in the stone and letting it be found in the hills, inscripted with the promise that whoever pulls it will be High King. After a little bit of show, Arthur should pull it effortlessly and no one would be able to doubt Arthur's rule. But he must bargain with his old student Morgause, and her bitter, dark magic that is bent on revenge. And he didn't count on someone pulling the sword before Arthur got it. I really enjoyed this book. I gave it four stars for being a good retelling, insightful, and well written. The plot dragged slightly in the middle and you had to be familiar with Arthurian myths to catch some of the context. This is a good story to read and satisfying. While captivating and intriging, you will really enjoy reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is without a doubt, a reader...and a keeper. It shines new light on King Arthur and his court. I absolutely loved it. And I would have loved it even more if it hadn't been for the rushed ending...it was just too obvious. Yolen did an outstanding job at capturing me in the beginning and the middle. But unfortunatly, she lost me in the end. It was fast, not descriptive enough, and was a poor way to end one of the greatest books that I have ever read. Still, it is a novel that I will definitely read over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Jane Yolen, and I love the time period of King Arthur. This book was great. The ending was especially good and somewhat unexpected. I loved Guineviere's role in this book. She's such a well developed character, and it was nice to see her given a more detailed and descriptive role.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was ok. it kept me wanting to read page after page. but some parts are kind of boring. if you want to read something that tells you a lot about king arthur and camelot then read a different book. this one is good but it won't give you a lot of information. but it will keep you intertained for a while
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a really good book. I think it was a little too pretictable.But it was really entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the facts are messed up and its poorly written
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definetly a good book and is recommended, but don't expect to buy one of the greatest books. Why? Cause you buy it because it claims someone else pulls the sword, but nothing like this ever happens. (unless I missed something) I recommend this book for those Medieval book lovers, looking for the same thing they all offer. It is not very unique or different, but it is a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so incredibly well written that I stayed up late into the night to finish it. I reccomend this story strongly. Bring yourself into the past!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a lot of good writing. It has an awesome plot. I think it takes the person back in time to the Dark Ages. It is a great story of loyalty to the family and loyalty to the king. It is a great story of good and evil. Of kings taking on the world. And how one boy saves the king from a disater. It is a story of love betryel and all the thingss you would want a book to consist of.