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As you open this first book in the series known, appropriately, as The Squire’s Tales, you immediately meet a woodsy lad named Terence. Raised by a blind hermit who remembers the future but forgets the past, Terence does not know who his parents are or what he is destined for. But then, in one day, he is visited by a mischievous sprite, witnesses a fatal duel, and becomes the squire to a certain Gawain who aspires to be a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. And that’s only the beginning of the great happenings in which Terence plays a humble, but important, part.
Wisconsin-based author Gerald Morris set out to rehabilitate the memory of Sir Gawain, who used to be considered the greatest of King Arthur’s knights, until that nickel-plated scrub Sir Lancelot stole the limelight from him. It’s rather mysterious, how the focus of the legends suddenly shifted, round-about Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Mort d’Arthur. Go ahead and read Morris’ “author’s note” at the end of this book if you want to know more about what parts of this tale are original and what parts are only a slight re-imagining of very old tales.
Whether that information interests you or not, I think you will like Terence. You will be intrigued by his skills, the hint of fairy magic about him, and the good stuff he is made of. You will be thrilled, amused, and moved by his journey and the adventures of the knights he travels with. And you will understand why the word “romance” is so often linked with the tales of King Arthur and his knights. It isn’t just because there are love stories woven in among the feats of derring-do. These are romances of an (all but) ideal age in which (nearly) ideal men accomplished great things that have resonated through history to this day. These are romances that reflect our dreams of what we want to be – ourselves and our world – and if reality never seems in step with fantasy, perhaps it is the fault of reality.
It is such a familiar tale, told in such a straightforward, appealing way, that I feel sure you will devour it and come back hungry for more. That’s all right, for there are at least five more books in this series, and the next helping is titled This Squire, His Knight, and His Lady.