________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015


The Lake in the Clouds. (The Shards of Excalibur, Book 3).

Edward Willett.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2015.
211 pp., trade pbk., pdf, epub & mobi, $14.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-55050-616-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55050-617-4 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-55050-823-9 (epub), ISBN 978-1-55050-824-6 (mobi).

Grades 6-11 / Ages 11-16.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4



She'd thought, when she first decided not to return to Aunt Phyllis, that she would simply rest for a few hours until her strength returned, then sense the location of the third shard and go to retrieve it. But though she'd done nothing but rest since then, she still sensed nothing. And she didn't even know enough about the magic to know what that absence of the third shard's song meant. Was the shard hidden away from the water? Was it on the other side of the planet? Had it been destroyed?

She didn't think the latter was likely. The sword wasn't an ordinary sword and she doubted it could be destroyed like an ordinary piece of steel: melted down and made into rivets or whatever. But the first two shards had both been hidden in water, or very close to it. If a shard had been moved away from water...would she still sense it? Her power—the power of the Lady of the Lake—was so intimately bound up with water she wasn't at all certain.

Or was something else going on?

Lake in the Clouds is the third volume in a series that will have at least four books. It consists of 211 pages divided into 17 chapters plus a page of acknowledgements, a page about the author, and a page listing the other books in the "Shards of Excalibur" series.

      The story is told from the point of view of two modern characters, Ariane, a young teenage girl anointed by The Lady of the Lake with the power to control and use water, and Wally, a young teenage boy who may be a descendent of King Arthur and also someone with certain powers. The villain in the tale is an industrialist, Rex Major, who is Merlin. Rex is hunting for the magic sword Excalibur which would allow him to control our world, and ultimately the land of Fairie. The Lady of the Lake wants to stop him from doing this. To recover the sword, someone must gather up all the broken shards and bring them together. The author has done a good job of making his characters complete with faults and shades of grey; the villain and the heroes all have uncertainties.

      After the last book, Twist of the Blade, Ariane and Wally are at odds, with Wally under Rex Major's control and seeming to oppose her. Rex kidnaps Ariane's Aunt Phyllis and uses her to force Ariane to help him. While this is going on, Wally discovers the truth about Rex, frees Phyllis and goes to warn Ariane. The chase takes them across the continent to the South Pacific, covering such exotic locales as Saskatoon and New Zealand. The tale ends after the confrontation at a remote lake high in the mountains, with Phyllis rescued and Ariane and Wally reconciled. Of course, readers are left with a new crisis. Wally's sister, who hates Ariane, has joined with Rex Major, and she may have powers equal to his.

      Well written, and fast moving, with touches of humour, The Lake in the Clouds will appeal to young readers who enjoy adventure as well as adults who might like a modern visit to the timeless story of King Arthur and his knights. Wally's last name is Knight.


Ronald Hore, involved with writers' groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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