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Here Lies Arthur

Written by Philip Reeve

Key Stage 3 General Fiction

LoveReading View on Here Lies Arthur

A spectacularly different retelling of the Arthurian legend with the Merlin character as a tale teller and image consultant - absorbing, intelligent writing

Prize-winning author Philip Reeve gives a brilliant new take on the legend of King Arthur. Myrddin rides with Arthur spinning tales for and about him but what is the truth and can Gwyna discover it? Bridging the past and present Here Lies Arthur is the story of how heroes and the legends about them are made. Winner of the prestigious 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal.  

On winning the CILIP Carnegie Medal he said “I didn’t believe it at first, but as I got over the shock and it began to sink in, I felt totally honoured. It is very special to win the CILIP Carnegie Medal. It has such a history and I admire so many past winners’ work it is quite humbling to be ranked alongside them.”

‘Here Lies Arthur is an outstanding book, and deserving winner,’ said Tricia Adams, Chair of the 12 strong librarian judging panel. ‘Reeve’s is a consistent story-telling voice that brings us a subtle and credible retelling of the King Arthur myth. It is both a page turning adventure story and a clever historical novel. It also has clear political resonance for our times, demonstrating humanity’s need to sustain hope and optimism, and our tendency to favour myth over reality to achieve that end.’


Here Lies Arthur Synopsis

Gwyna is just a small girl, a mouse, when she is bound in service to Myrddin the bard - a traveller and spinner of tales. Without Gwyna, Myrddin will not be able to work the most glorious transformation of all - and turn the leader of a raggle-taggle war-band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.

Reeve’s fascination with the legends of Arthur began with John Boorman’s film Excalibur. As a teenager he found out all he could about the myth through the various retellings and portrayals that punctuate our culture and history. It became the novel he was determined to write, however, it took over 20 years before he decided how to tackle it.

Reeve gives the story Welsh Celtic roots and his choice of the young orphan girl Gwyna as narrator gives a fresh perspective on Arthur’s world and time. It’s AD 500, the Romans have left, and the Celts live in fear of the Saxon invasion. The character of Myrddin (Merlin) is no magician but instead relies on trickery to spin myths around Arthur, creating the credible leader the Celts so badly need. However, in reality, Reeve’s Arthur is no more than a self-interested thug. However, he is clear that what he set out to do was to write an adventure story for young people, although he is pleased to hear that children get the ‘pun’ of the title.

Here Lies Arthur Press Reviews

'A brilliant verison of the Camelot story' Guardian

'Ripping and intelligent' Sunday Times

'Brilliant ... an absorbing and emotionally enagaging work' The Times

'Historical writing at its best' Independent

'A masterpiece' Daily Telegraph

Book Information

ISBN: 9781407172651
Publication date: 2nd April 2017
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Year Groups: Key Stage 3
Topics: General Fiction

About Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve was our Guest Editor for June 2012. Click here to see his books and some that inspired him. Philip Reeve was born and raised in Brighton, where he worked in a bookshop for years while also producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects. Philip then began illustrating and has since provided cartoons and jokes for around forty books, including the best-selling Scholastic series Horrible Histories, as well as Murderous Maths and Dead Famous. He's been writing stories since he was five, but Mortal Engines was the first to be published. Mortal Engines defies easy categorisation. It is ...

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