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Publisher's Summary

After being set adrift at sea, baby Mordred is found by fisherfolk who raise him as their own. One day, a beautiful, magical lady appears to carry him back to his birth-mother's cold castle. There, alone but for his faithful dog, he comes of age and learns the horrible truth about his identity. Everyone knows Mordred as the dark, evil son who kills the noble King Arthur. But what would it be like to be born as Mordred, an unwanted child with a dreadful destiny? This imaginative and beautifully told fantasy tale, rich with Arthurian lore, lets you finally hear Mordred's side of the age-old story. Nancy Springer is an award-winning author who has published over 30 critically-acclaimed books. This Booklist Top 10 Fantasy Novel showcases her talent for creating convincing characters and conveying their intense emotions. Narrator Steven Crossley will hold you spellbound as he brings young Mordred and his tragic predicament fully to life.
©1998 Nancy Springer (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Katherine on 04-25-13

A short sad novel

Originally posted at FanLit.

Almost all the modern stories derived from Arthurian legends focus on King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, and Merlin. Why does Mordred, the man who eventually brings down the whole shebang, get such short shrift? There’s plenty of source material, most notably Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Maybe it’s that Mordred isn’t very romantic. Or maybe we just don’t like reading about people who are hard to root for.

In her novel I Am Mordred, Nancy Springer flips the legend, brings the traitorous Mordred to tragic life, and makes him easy to sympathize with. When we meet Mordred he’s a happy child being raised in a loving home by hard-working fisherfolk. His life changes when he’s discovered and taken away. Now he lives with a cold mother, a heavy burden (Merlin has publicly prophesied that Mordred will kill King Arthur) and a huge helping of guilt (King Arthur killed all the babies in the realm when he found out about Mordred’s birth).

But Mordred doesn’t want to kill anybody. He’s a sensitive child who just wants to be loved and accepted by his scheming mother and the kind father who refuses to acknowledge him as son. Can Mordred find love? Can he defy his fate, or is he destined to fulfill it?

I Am Mordred is a short sad novel with a sympathetic anti-hero. Nancy Springer’s prose is pretty and she brings a little piece of Arthurian Legend to life as Mordred gives his candid impressions of Arthur, Morgause, Morgan Le Fay, and others. In addition Springer explores such subjects as the nature of family, love, loneliness, original sin, self-determinism, fate and free will, honor, shame and guilt, and the function of the soul.

I Am Mordred is marketed to children aged 10 and up. As far as children’s literature goes, the tale is rather somber and dark, dealing with incest, adultery, murder, and death, but it’s tastefully done and none of it is graphic or glorifying. Nancy Springer succeeds in illustrating the lesson that we should always try to look at events from other people’s perspectives. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend I Am Mordred to children, but keep in mind that it’s dark and sad. Springer doesn’t change the legendary ending.

I listened to Steven Crossley narrate Recorded Book’s version of I Am Mordred. I enjoyed this production.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Carol on 08-27-12

Despair and Failure at Every Turn

Although it's usually enhanced by nobility and romance, the essence of the Camelot legend is pretty bleak. Despite that I've always been a fan, and was unprepared for just what a downer this rendition is.

Told (obviously) from Mordred's point of view, there is no gallantry or romance here. From beginning to end this narrative just gets more and more depressing. Determined to foil the prophecy that he will kill his father, King Arthur, Mordred's every action only brings the prophecy's fulfillment closer. In a nightmare spiral, whatever he tries to do, Mordred winds up in a worse place than where he started. Despair and failure meet him at every turn.

We never glimpse Camelot's "one brief shining moment." Instead of honorable knights, we get renegades who lop each others' heads off for no discernible reason. I kept going, thinking that there *must* be an epiphany around the corner, the ray of hope that underlies most renditions of this legend. I suppose some would consider the book's brief Epilogue hopeful, but I didn't.

Definitely not recommended unless you like feeling suicidal.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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