Morgana le Fay is up to her evil tricks again, and this time she’s plotting to use a mysterious ‘swordspell’ against King Arthur. The trouble is, Max and Olivia don’t have a clue what the spell is, or how to stop it.
When disaster strikes at the Festival of Chivalry, they find themselves in a race against time to save the king and Camelot from Morgana’s wicked clutches. Can Max use his magical skill to fight the swordspell and save the day once more?
The final book in the SPELL series sees King Arthur in worse danger than he’s ever been, but Arthur still refuses to think Morgana might be at the bottom of it. When she succeeds in her plan to use the powerful swordspell against him, only Max, Olivia and their friends stand between her and the throne. Together with Sir Bertram and Lancelot they have two days to find Arthur and take the kingdom back from Morgana’s control – but Snotty and his allies, including Mordred, are doing their best to get there first. Max needs to be ready to make a final stand with Merlin against the wicked sorceress. Can they defeat Morgana together, once and for all?
Swordspell was published in January 2013 by Templar. It was shortlisted for the Portsmouth Book Awards 2014. Like Frogspell, it is perfect for independent readers of 7-10, and appeals to both girls and boys.
This story puts Arthurian legend through the wringer, yet the classic tale somehow holds its shape. Yes, it’s a wildly re-imagined version, with a boy wizard, his girl-power younger sister, and not one but three comical animal sidekicks (fierce rat, valiant duck and stupid dragon), but this is still recognisably Camelot. The familiar names – Gawain, Merlin, Mordred – stride across the page, even if the faces may not be quite as you remember them. Nor do the characters themselves seem quite to know the story they’re in (`What was the name? Lancelot, did you say?’). This unfamiliarity gives a whole new freshness to the classic setting – Arthur, for instance, never once suspects that his beloved sister Morgana Le Faye is out to get him.
But the story itself belongs to Max, a gifted young wizard who is Merlin’s apprentice. And magic here is both fun and fascinating. You really get a sense of what it’s like to cast (and undo) spells, and all without being bogged down in gobbledegook. This magic is elegantly simple and totally convincing. For boys especially, Max is a terrific role model of brains over brawn, just as his hard-as-nails sister Olivia (a knight in training) is a great antidote to the pink princess brigade.
The action gallops along, managing to cram in magic lessons, tournaments, a noble quest to save the realm, and a sizzling final showdown with the forces of darkness. The baddies range from the spiteful to the slimy to the pure evil, but there’s nothing too scary or upsetting. You’re never in any doubt that Morgana is BAAAAAD, and her pale witchy presence gives off shivers on the page – yet you always know that Max (with the help of Merlin, Olivia, Lancelot and the beasts) will save the day.
Oh, and it’s funny too!
Nick Green (author of The Cat Kin and The Storm Bottle)
My 7 year old daughter particularly liked Olivia as she is depicted as a strong character and a great fighter, who can beat most boys. A great read with strong characters and a must for anyone that likes Arthur and Camelot. I must say I enjoyed reading it as much as the children did!
Review on Bookbabblers (click here for the rest of the review)
Click on the picture of Ferocious to find out more about the characters, click on the Frogspell logo to go to the official website, or click on the sword to read an extract.