Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve; Snakehead by Ann Halam; Double or Die by Charlie Higson - review by Philip Womack

Philip Womack

April 2007 Children’s Books Round-up

Here Lies Arthur

By

Scholastic 304pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Snakehead

By

Orion 224pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Double or Die

By

Puffin 400pp £6.99 order from our bookshop
 

There is a tendency for novelists to focus on the way that a hero is presented, rather than the hero himself; Achilles, they argue, wasn't really so much better than everyone else, he just had a good PR agent. And in a way, they are right to do so – a hero's 'kleos', or 'glorious reputation', was all he really had. It is fun to sling mud at heroes; but, if one has grown up enthralled by the mystique of Achilles, King Arthur et al, one can always return to that pristine image, however much it has been damaged.

So it is that I found myself thoroughly enjoying Philip Reeve's new novel, Here Lies Arthur, despite the fact that it shows King Arthur as a macho, muscle-bound boor with no thought in his blowsy head except for power. The resourceful heroine is twelve-year-old Gwyna, who, when her village is

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