Max Pendragon is eleven, and he lives with his sister Olivia at Castle Perilous. His mother, Lady Griselda, is a witch, and his father, Sir Bertram, is a gruff, burly knight with a large moustache. Sir Bertram wants Max to train to be a knight, but Max hates riding, archery, swordplay, and he’s not very well co-ordinated, so he usually misses any target he’s trying to hit. He would much rather train to be a wizard than be a squire.
Olivia Pendragon is two years younger than Max, and although she looks very demure and ladylike, she’s twice as strong as Max and much better at fighting. She’s always much happier mucking about in the stables or practising swordplay. Her dearest ambition is to be a knight – but there’s no way girls can be knights in King Arthur’s kingdom. Or is there…?
Adolphus is Olivia’s pet dragon. He’s very young, and not particularly bright, but he makes up for that by being bouncy and enthusiastic. Once Max and Olivia have been turned into frogs, they find they can understand other animals, even after they’d been turned back. Adolphus is always getting into scrapes, but just occasionally he saves the day.
Ferocious is Max’s pet rat. He is very loyal to Max, but he’s also rather world-weary and sarcastic. If there’s a hole in one of Max’s plans, you can guarantee Ferocious will be the one to point it out. But he’s also quite clever, and good at coming up with suggestions – especially when there’s an emergency and not much time to think. And when he needs to, he’ll always risk life and limb (and tail) to rescue Max.
Snotty Hogsbottom (real name Adrian) is Max’s worst enemy. He is a squire and an apprentice wizard, like Max, and so far he’s always beaten Max at the annual novice’s competition – but has he done it by cheating? According to Max, Snotty is the kingdom’s slimiest toadwart – and when he and his father, Sir Richard Hogsbottom, join forces with Morgana le Fay, King Arthur is in trouble… Snotty wants power, and he’s willing to do anything to get it.
Lady Morgana le Fay is King Arthur’s half-sister. She is pale and beautiful, with long black hair and icy blue eyes, but she is a formidable sorceress. Her ambition is to replace King Arthur and be queen herself. Together with Sir Richard and Snotty, she always has some evil plot up her sleeve to defeat Arthur and claim the kingdom.
Merlin is the most powerful wizard in the kingdom. However, unlike most wizards, he doesn’t have a long white beard or carry around half a dozen potion bottles or spells attached to his robes. Merlin looks just like any other of King Arthur’s knights – tall and lean, and with a workmanlike sword attached to his belt. But his grey eyes are bright and fierce, like a bird’s, and he has more power in his fingertips than any other magic-user in Camelot – except, perhaps, Lady Morgana le Fay…
King Arthur is tall and handsome with black hair and blue eyes. He is the most accomplished knight in his kingdom, and with his sword, Excalibur, no one can stand against him. But he has a fatal weakness – he will not believe ill of his half-sister, Morgana, and continues to insist she is on his side, even in the face of very strong evidence that she’s plotting against him.
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