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The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, Book 4) Paperback – 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911853
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,249,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
A difficult book to read after the wonderful Merlin trilogy and quite different in style (written in the third person), this is the story of Mordred, the fateful result of the young King Arthur's union with his half-sister Morgause while he was still ignorant of his true birth. Lady Stewart explained that all that is known of Mordred from historical record is that he was Arthur's illegitimate son and that he fell in the same battle. Many centuries later, in mediaeval legend, he was painted as a villain and a traitor but, given that these accounts are entirely imaginary, Stewart felt free to invent her own story, cleverly incorporating many of the contradictory snippets of information that have reached us. She does this with great elegance but, for all her craft, she cannot entirely reconcile the ridiculous elements of Arthur's death with his character as developed in the three preceding books, so I found the last chapter slightly disappointing but the sad ending did nothing to detract from the sheer joy of reading the rest of the book.

An engrossing story, substantial characters, the sense of being plunged into a historic time capsule and an unforgettable anti-hero. I really liked Mordred, he is tough and self-reliant but also highly intelligent, wise beyond his years, gifted with icy self-control and yet fully capable of loyalty and love. The tragic showdown which ends the narrative is truly monumental. As with all of Lady Stewart's books, I enjoy it more with each re-reading.
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Format: Paperback
I've read the Trilogy as well as the Book of Mordred and I think that "The Wicked Day" does not provide as much detail as the Trilogy, that's why it makes it seem a bit vague here and there. It's great how sometimes it leaves the reader wondering and wanting to know more but either the facts are revealed at the end of the chapter or it's not revealed at all (or maybe I'm not getting it =P). For instance, is Merlin still narrating the story? I know Merlin's disappearance or "death" if you'd like to call it, is mysterious so I wonder how he ends in Stewart's series... Mordred's search for Merlin and found him absent (especially at his hometown) can't really account for his end...oh well, just something to leave you thinking =). However, one thing that it seems to consist more of, than the Trilogy is that it's filled with more intesity and the unexpected... I mean, when you read certain chapters and then finish it, I guarantee you'd be thinking to yourself 'wow, he/she actually done it!' or 'it was him/her all the time!?!' That's what I like in a story, it "strikes" the reader and gives you that surprised feeling! I'd also like to add to this review that the Trilogy was an impressive piece of work which gives an excellent description of Merlin's youth to adulthood as well as Arthur's. It's good how Stewart doesn't neglect to mention the Legends at the end to avoid confusion. Overall, brilliant stuff... just brilliant!! I highly recommend them all!
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By A Customer on Oct. 25 2000
Format: Paperback
After having read Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, I was rather reluctant to read this book. Having pre-conceived ideas of Mordred's evil character, I didn't want to destroy the 'feel-good' warmth that I had at the end of the trilogy. But, having started Stewart's journey, I just felt I had to finish it, even though I knew it would not be a happy ending.
How wrong I was!!!! This book threw all my expectations of doom and gloom out the window, and impossible as it may seem ... I actually ended up feeling good even if the end was rather tragic.
It is extremely refreshing to see Mordred put in an entirely different light - a courageous, strong-willed and honest man, instead of the evil, greedy and conniving son in other more common versions. Unfortunately, in this book, it was circumstances and misunderstandings that went against him. The best part was - it was totally believable!!!
If you only want to know 1 version of Mordred's story, then this should be it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume, which ends the story of Arthur and Merlin, is as beautifuly written as the Merlin trilogy. Again Stewart has written a believable human story mixed with the legends that surround Arthur. This is the first time I have read an account of Arthur and Mordred which gives a view of Mordred as something other than a treacherous monster. Even Stewart can't make this anything other than a tragedy, but that is the nature of the legend. The Winter King must die. The saddest thing is that he and Mordred are drawn to this end by their own natures. Neither of them could really have done otherwise and Stewart does not flinch from the telling. If you are interested in the Arthurian legend this book satisfies the need for resolution even as we wish it could have ended otherwise.
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Format: Paperback
I've always been attracted to the character of Mordred in Arthurian legend and who he was (or wasn't). Stewart tells a grim tale, densely,--and the ending is by far the finest I've encountered in any other Arthurian novel: Mordred and Arthur fighting against one another. Even Stewart admits in her notes that tracing back to the first mention of Mordred, there was no mention of him fighting *against* his father (or possibly his uncle), but simply dying in the same battle. Presented in "The Wicked Day" the way it is, the Mordred-Arthur "conflict" is much more heartrending and dark. I loved this book.
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