Taliesin's Telling

by Fay Sampson

Reviewed by Coral

Our fourth narrator in this series is Taliesin who, for once, isn't really an original character, but one that does figure in the Arthurian legends. In Fay Sampson's world he is a young bard, who has just been given the position of Chief Bard of Urien's kingdom. He's not there more than a night before he's found a way into Morgan's bed, because it's a dictate passed on from above that everyone has to love Morgan in these books.

And, because it's time to strain credibility in new and interesting ways, Morgan's is not the only bed he finds his way into. Plus, not one of the wronged husbands or their hot-blooded grown sons take offense to this, leaving Taliesin not dead and able to learn the secret behind Mordred's identity, because we're supposed to believe someone in the know just willingly tells him for no good reason.

Mordred is grown now, ready for Morgan and her sisters to use him as weapon against Arthur. But he isn't the only weapon they have in their arsenal; there's another, much closer to Arthur, who he'll never suspect, because he's an IDIOT!

I mean, what the hell is going on in this book? Why is Urien still married to Morgan? She nearly killed Gwenhyvar, tried to poison Arthur, stole his magical scabbard, and everyone acts like she's done nothing wrong. Arthur rides into Urien's kingdom without a care in the world it seems. And, even after he lays the blame for his son's death at Morgan's feet, he still allows her daughter to serve Gwenhyvar and Mordred to join his warband. He should just wear a big sign around him that says: "Hello Morgan, please come and take my kingdom from me as I'm too stupid to keep it."

Worse, this is another narrator I hated so much. The problem with having the narration taken care of this way, is that the new characters have to be caught up with all of Morgan's schemes from the last book but, like here, it's ridiculously handled. Why would Morgan ever allow Mordred's secret to come out before she's ready? Added to that, Taliesin is another narrator who's ridiculously pompous and arrogant, demanding to be allowed to be at all the major events even though he's just a young man barely become a bard. I don't want to read about his stupid feelings for Morgan, ignoring her faults and her crimes because she's beautiful and a good lover. So much time is wasted here that the plot feels so rushed at the end.

Man, is this series over yet?


Grade: F