Young Knights of the Round Table

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Review

Rick is a 'changeling': taken by the Fey as a baby (when his human parents apparently abandoned him) he has since grown up in the magical world of Avalon. There he has spent much of his time being trained by the Fey to become an elite warrior, in the belief that humans represent the enemy.

Now, rumour has it that the humans are training up a new generation of young Knights of the Round Table to attack Avalon. Rick and two fellow changelings, Roxy and Tiago, must undertake a mission to seek out and destroy the apparent threat to their world. So begins Rick's new undercover life as an English schoolboy.

However the human world is far from what he expected. For starters, trying to fit in at school in modern-day Oxford isn't quite as easy as he'd hoped. Then there is Linette, the very likeable girl in his class who he can't help being drawn to. It is with Linette's help that Rick starts to realise that he hasn't been told the truth about his past and the threat against Avalon. If humankind is not the real enemy, it is up to Rick and his friends to find out who is.

The loose context for the book is of course the legend of Kind Arthur. However, this is fused with both Fey myth and a contemporary backdrop. Although there are many concepts for a young reader to grasp in the early stages on the novel, it is extremely readable and has much to say about the way we treat each other, pass judgment and form our beliefs.

Together with plenty of humour, mystery, twists and turns, the result is a fast-paced, time-travelling fantasy. It is also gratifyingly inclusive as Linette's character happens to be a wheelchair-user and this element is both convincing and unforced.

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