Monday, April 16, 2012

Librarian's Pick of the Week: The Seeing Stone

Title: The Seeing Stone
Author: Kevin Crossley-Holland
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Published: 2001
Age: 13+

Synopsis:Arthurian legend comes to life in the first novel in this remarkable, award-winning saga Thirteen-year-old Arthur de Caldicot lives on a manor, desperately waiting for the moment he can become a knight. One day his father's friend Merlin gives him a shining black stone - a seeing stone - that shows him visions of his namesake, King Arthur. The legendary dragons, battles, and swordplay that young Arthur witnesses seem a world away from his own life. And yet there is something definitely joining the Arthurs together. It will be Arthur de Caldicot's destiny to discover how his path is intertwined with a king's . . . for the past is not the only thing the seeing stone can see. The sequels to this book are At the Crossing Places and King of the Middlemarch.

Review: Thirteen-year-old Arthur fervently hopes that his father wants him to become a squire, not a "schoolman," though his prowess with sword and lance is eclipsed by his skill with quill and ink. His friend Merlin gives the boy a strange secret stone; Arthur finds that he can look into the polished obsidian and see visions of another Arthur, whose life rather parallels his own. Narrated by Arthur, the novel unfolds in short, lucid chapters, vividly describing events, personalities, and life on a medieval manor. Crossley-Holland achieves a great deal here, from the fresh, engaging voice of Arthur to the ongoing mystery of how his life relates to the story in the stone that emerges in a series of vignettes. Knowledge of Arthurian legend heightens the sense of layered meanings; however, untutored readers will not be lost, but rather richer for discovering the tale here. Few historical novels achieve such a convincing sense of the medieval ages, and few first-person novels can boast such a convincing and sympathetic young narrator. The ending will leave readers eager for the next in this trilogy. As the book closes, Arthur is to become a squire and accompany his father on a Crusade to Jerusalem. Merlin says, "You'll take your stone with you." Carolyn Phelan- Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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