Picks and Pans Review: The Wicked Day

updated 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Mary Stewart

Mordred, that shadowy, villainous bastard son of King Arthur and his half-sister Morgause, would seem to be too inaccessible for the historical novelist. That is challenge enough for Stewart, who casts Mordred as a misunderstood hero in the fourth of her winningly romantic Arthurian stories (the other three: The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment). In this tale, Mordred is saved from slaughter as an infant and placed in the care of a poor fisherman and his wife. The boy is ignorant of his royal parentage, but when he is 10 his natural mother, a wicked witch, begins training him to be a knight so that he can help her rebel against Arthur. Sex and violence abound; the sex is discreet (British, you know), the violence exceedingly bloody. (Morrow, $15.95)

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