The Book of Mordred

The Book of Mordred, by Vivian Van Velde, was first published in 2007.  But the author had written the book more than a decade earlier, but found the publication climate at the time was not favorable toward Arthurian literature.

The book presents a different take on the character of Mordred.  Unlike earlier works, which painted Mordred as evil, Van Velde’s Mordred is mysterious but honorable.  The battle with his father was the result of a series of miscommunications and a battlefield error, in which a soldier was frightened by a grass snake and appeared to be charging, which led the soldiers on both sides to charge without a command.

The book is divivded into three parts, with each narrated by a different female character.  In book 1, the narrator is Alayna, a noblewoman whose daughter is kidnapped by an evil lesser king with a mastery of magic.  Mordred helps her rescue her daughter, and risks his life in the process.  Book 2 is narrated by Ninue, who trained alongside Merlyn.  She and Mordred investigate the disappearance of young men from villages in Arthur’s kingdom, and discover that the fault lies with the king who kidnapped Alayna’s daughter.  Book 3 is narrated by Kiera, Alayna’s daughter.  She tells of the events leading to the battle between Arthur and Mordred, and depicts that battle that follows.  She presents Mordred as honorable.  The ending leaves Mordred’s fate open as well, because he was wounded, but not critically, and planned to live the rest of his life in hiding with Alayna.


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