The princess, the crone, and the dung-cart knight

Gerald Morris, 1963-

Book - 2004

Determined to find the knight responsible for the terrible deaths of her mother and the Jewish peddler who had given them a home, thirteen-year-old Sarah is helped in her quest by a strange old woman, a magical sword, a young faery, and an unkempt knight with little armor and no horse.

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Review by Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. After witnessing the abduction of Queen Guinevere and Sir Kay, 13-year-old Sarah detours from her own quest and seeks out King Arthur at Camelot. Soon she and her new allies embark on an adventure based on an early Arthurian tale by Chretien de Troyes. As in the other novels in the rewarding Squire's Tales series, Morris reshapes traditional plot elements, infuses them with humor and fantasy, and creates a highly readable story. More than the other books, though, this one exposes the dark side of the Middle Ages, for Sarah recalls seeing her mother and their Jewish friend burned at the stake by a peasant mob while a nearby knight called them Christ-killers. In the appended author's note, Morris comments on the grim historical fact of prejudice, injustice, and violence against Jews in medieval Europe. The novel is driven by a keen sense of justice and lightened by droll wit. A terrific cast of characters energizes the story, which plays out against a colorful, well-developed historical background. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Gerald Morris weaves another humorous and suspenseful tale of knightly intrigue in The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight, the sixth in the Squire's Tales series. Sarah, a young princess, goes on a quest to rescue Queen Guinevere with familiar characters in the series, Terence and Sir Gawain. As the title suggests, the band is visited by a mysterious old woman and also joins a knight of dubious repute. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-In grand storytelling style, the author continues his series with Sarah, an orphaned teenager who is on a quest for revenge when she encounters Queen Guinevere and Sir Kai. After Kai catches Sarah trying to steal his sword, he gives her a special sword made for his son and teaches her how to use it. When the evil Sir Meliagant kidnaps Guinevere and wounds Kai, Sarah searches for a way to help them. A crone leads her to Camelot where she meets King Arthur, and she goes with Sir Gawain and his squire to rescue Kai and Guinevere. On the road, they encounter trickery, danger, and many characters and plot twists. Sarah gets her revenge, but it is not sweet, and this well-drawn character eventually finds strength and peace within herself. This imaginative novel doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet Morris manages to make some serious points. In the author's note, he is open about taking liberties with Chr?tien de Troyes's original story The Knight of the Cart, but, after all, there is no one, true Arthurian legend. Readers looking for page-turning adventure, a strong heroine, and some fun will find it all here.-Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

(Intermediate, Middle School) A homeless orphan, bent on avenging the deaths of her mother and guardian, witnesses the abduction of Queen Guinevere and Sir Kai, the wife and brother of King Arthur. Sarah travels to Camelot to inform the king, then embarks on a quest to rescue the pair. Though a bit more bloody (and busily plotted) than earlier volumes in the series, this story still features the usual appealing blend of magic, whimsical humor, and pathos. Familiar characters such as Sir Lancelot, Terence (The Squire's Tale, rev. 7/98), and Piers (Parsifal's Page, rev. 5/01) are on hand, but it's Sarah who shines here. Engaging in such daring feats as crossing a lethally constructed bridge and battling her nemesis in a brutal sword fight, Sarah also makes an inward journey from bitterness to forgiveness, reaching the empowering realization that ""I am my own damned princess."" (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

In the sixth, and grimmest, of Morris's Arthurian retellings, while seeking a certain knight who encouraged villagers to burn her mother and Jewish foster-father, young Sarah ultimately discovers that vengeance is an empty motive. But before that, her own quest folds into another as, after witnessing the abduction of Queen Guinevere by brutal Sir Meliagant, she joins Sir Gawain, his eldritch squire Terence, and an unkempt loner--who turns out to be Sir Lancelot--in seeking Meliagant's ensorcelled castle. Amid a welter of lopped body parts, powerful spells, fabulously heroic feats, pointed observations of the differences between religion and morality, and startling revelations about her own ancestry, Sarah encounters a colorful cast of true friends, villains both implacable and reformed, and women with minds of their own. As usual, Morris uses a mix of droll humor, violence, and easily likable or hateable characters to hook readers, and leaves them with unusual insights into big issues. Still, this outing will appeal more to established fans already familiar with his Round Table crew. (afterword) (Fiction. 11-13) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.